Li Yong of China succeeds Kandeh Yumkella at UNIDO

Anthony Abdul Karim Kamara, Jnr.

The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 29 June 2013

DG Handover 1After two four-year terms at the helm of the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) as Director-General, Kandeh Yumkella of Sierra Leone has handed over the baton of office to China’s Li Yong.

The ceremony took place during the organization’s General Conference.

Speaking to member states for the last time, Mr. Yumkella noted; “I am very proud of my accomplishments over seven and half years and where UNIDO stands today. None of this would have been possible without my staff. The success of any organization depends on its staff and over my two terms, I have lead by example AND have inspired my staff to do their best – each and every day, and they delivered exceptional results never seen in the history of this organization. The results are there for all to see.”

Wishing his successor well, Yumkella noted that he was very happy to be leaving the organization in good hands.

DG Handover 2“If our goal ultimately is to create opportunities for others around the world, UNIDO couldn’t find a better person than Li Yong – in terms of qualifications to steer the ship” – says Kandeh.

And as UNIDO begins its march into the third industrial revolution – one that will be based on clean, low carbon technologies and the promotion of green economy, Mr. Yumkella underscored that his successor’s credentials will make UNIDO a key player in the third industrial revolution.

DG Handover3In his first speech to member states as Director-General, Mr. Yong noted that he was happy to be following the footsteps of his friend, Mr. Yumkella, “a man who has done great things for this organization and has given UNIDO high visibility around the world. It is my honour to be elected. The Chinese Government has recommended me and that shows its strong support for industrial development.”

“We are going to provide more effective services to support the different needs of different regions and countries. The most disadvantaged areas need to boost their industrial sectors, while middle-income countries need to improve their level of industrial development,” said Li.

Mr. Yong is the current Vice Finance Minister of his country and has experience in economic and financial policy issues and is a strong advocate for inclusive growth. From his personal profile it is evident that Mr. Yong is a champion of innovation and green development as well as an earnest facilitator for regional and South-South cooperation.

As a representative of the Chinese government, he has played a constructive and balanced role in coordinating global economic policies.

Born in Zhejang Province, Mr. Yong is married and has a son. He holds a Master of Arts degree in Accounting and has attended senior management training programs at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Obama speaks in GhanaAs Mr. Yumkella begins his new role as Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and CEO of Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL), President Obama has confirmed that the United States fully supports the SE4ALL and together they ‘will target these and other resources towards greater penetration of renewables in the global energy mix on both a small and large scale, including participation in the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative’.

The US Secretary of State – Senator John Kerry, has accepted to serve on the advisory board of SE4All. In his letter to the UN Secretary General this week, Mr. Kerry said he looks forward to joining the advisory board of the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative.

He commented that he is “a firm believer in the power of partnership between governments, the private sector, and civil society in tackling some of the most significant challenges we face in the world today.”