Anthony Abdul Karim Kamara (Jnr)
The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 26 June 2013
The outgoing Director- General of UNIDO – Dr. Kandeh K. Yumkella has been awarded the Commander of the National Order of Cote d’Ivoire, by the Ivorian President – Alassane Ouattara on Tuesday, 25 June 2013.
The honour was conferred on Yumkella in appreciation of his contributions to the development of Africa in general, the government and people of Ivory Coast in particular, and for his outstanding stewardship at the UN Industrial Development organization (UNIDO) and his leadership on the global arena.
According to embassy officials, this is the second time such an honour has been bestowed on a non-Ivorian.
The officials also noted that since Mr. Yumkella could not travel to the Presidential Palace in Cote d’Ivoire due to his tight schedule this week, President Ouattara was more than pleased to send the award under lock and key with his Minister of Industry to be presented at Ivorian soil – their embassy in Vienna.
Speaking on behalf of the Ivorian President at an impressive event, Minister of Industry – Jean-Claude Brou, noted that Mr. Yumkella’s contributions to Africa are numerous to mention.
He stated that this was evidenced at the UNIDO’s Industrial Development Board, when member states showered him with profound admiration and gratitude, for the enviable work he has done for UNIDO and developing nations and the strong position he is leaving the organization.
For Ivory Coast, however, “there is much more,” Minister Brou said. “The government and people of our nation appreciate your effort towards Africa’s quest for Industrialization.”
Minister Brou further noted that President Ouattara and the people of Ivory Coast are immensely grateful for Yumkella’s help and guidance in their efforts as a government to lift their people out of poverty, and in making himself and the resources of UNIDO available to Cote D’Ivoire.
“It is in this spirit that we applaud and celebrate you with this national honour, because you are our son, friend and brother. Sierra Leone cannot claim you alone,” said Minister Brou.
For his part, Mr. Yumkella underscored his appreciation for the kind gesture by the Government and people of Cote d’Ivoire for recognizing his efforts around the world, but especially to the continent.
“I have truly enjoyed my personal relationship and UNIDO’s partnership with the people of Cote d‘Ivoire. I am grateful to God almighty that he gave me the opportunity to be of service to my people and the continent. The truth is if we don’t develop our continent, no one can do it for us and to do that the right policies are needed and industrialization is key” – said Yumkella.
Yumkella is the recipient of many national and global awards. Most recently, he was awarded the 2013 Energy Efficiency Visionary Award for his steadfast commitment to the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative.
In 2012, he was awarded the prestigious Global leadership award in recognition of his work on advancing sustainable energy for all, poverty reduction, the Millennium Development Goals and efforts to reduce the impact of climate change.
In 2011, he also received one of Algeria’s highest awards, the Wissam, for “his services as a son of Africa”, his continued support for human values and his promotion of industrial development of Africa.
In September 2013, the African-American Institute (AAI) will honour Yumkella at their 60th Anniversary Awards Gala Dinner with the 2013 AAI Alumnus Award for his stellar career leading up to and including being the first Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization;
That award will also be received in honour of Yumkella’s inspiration to so many from around the world who gave so much to Africa and vice versa, and his fundamental vision of Africa’s progress which aptly resonates with AAI’s theme of “Unlocking Africa’s Greatest Asset for 60 Years.”
With this award, he will join the likes of the late Nobel Laureate, environmentalist, and women’s rights activist – Dr. Wangari Maathai, and President Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire who are former recipients.