Skip to content

Vera Songwe

IAC member
Vera is a member of the international advisory council at Afrobarometer.


Vera Songwe is founder and chair of the Liquidity and Sustainability Facility, a visiting senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and co-chair, with Lord Nicholas Stern, of the Independent High-Level Expert Panel on Climate Finance. Under the COP27 and COP28 presidencies, she co-wrote the Songwe-Stern report on climate finance as well as the report on accelerating implementation of climate finance. She also co-authored the report “Financing Nature: A Transformative Agenda,” launched at COP28.

Songwe is a co-chair of the Food System Economics Commission, an independent interdisciplinary academic commission that equips political and economic decision makers with tools and evidence to shift food and land use systems. She is a former United Nations under-secretary general and executive secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

Songwe has led numerous efforts to bring greater prosperity to Africa. She has worked with African heads of government, ministers of finance and central bank governors, international organisations, and the private sector on macroeconomic stability, monetary policy, financial innovation and inclusion growth, economic integration and trade, and private-sector development. 

Previously, Songwe served as the regional director of the International Finance Corporation, covering West and Central Africa. She oversaw a multi-billion-dollar portfolio of investments in energy, transportation, manufacturing, and technology.

Prior to this, she held a number of positions at the World Bank, including country director and adviser to the managing director for Africa, Europe, and Central and South Asia. She spent 10 years working and living in Asia. Prior to joining the World Bank as a Young Professional, she was a visiting researcher at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minnesota and at the University of Southern California. Songwe was named African Icon of the Year in 2022 by the African Bankers Association for her work on SDRs, inflation, debt management, and domestic resource mobilisation. She was named one of the “100 Most Influential Africans” by Jeune Afrique in 2021, one of the “50 Most Influential African Women” by Forbes Magazine in 2019, and one of the “25 Africans to Watch by the Financial Times in 2015.

She holds a PhD in mathematical economics from the Center for Operations Research and Econometrics at the Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium, where she also earned a master of arts in law and economics and a diplôme d’études approfondies in economic science and politics. She was presented with an honorary doctor of laws degree in 2022 by the University of Michigan, where she earned a bachelor of arts in economics and political science.

Areas of interest