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Costa Rican ex-VP Rebeca Grynspan replaces Mukhisa Kituyi as UNCTAD chief

Costa Rican economist Rebeca Grynspan has become the first woman to head of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) after taking office on September 13.

The former vice president of her country will serve as the UN trade agency’s secretary-general for a four-year term.

She succeeds Dr Mukhisa Kituyi, the first Kenyan to head a global UN agency from 2013 to 2021.

Dr Kituyi was appointed the seventh UNCTAD secretary-general on September 1, 2013, and reappointed for another four-year term in July 2017, which began on September 1 that year.

In February this year, he stepped down to return to Kenya to prepare to vie for the presidency in the 2022 General Elections.

Ms Isabelle Durant from Belgium replaced Dr Kituyi in an acting capacity following his departure on February 15.

Ms Grynspan was nominated by the UN Secretary-General António Guterres and approved by the General Assembly in June.

“I am grateful and honoured for the trust UN Secretary-General António Guterres has placed in me with this appointment as secretary-general of UNCTAD,” Ms. Grynspan said. “I look forward to bringing my experience and commitment to development to this unique organization, whose history, mandate, and recognized world-class expertise make it a key partner for all countries facing the challenges of post-pandemic recovery.”

She added: “I believe that, at this critical time, UNCTAD can make an essential contribution for a more just, sustainable, and inclusive recovery for all.”

Ms Grynspan has had a career spanning many years and has held several high-level positions including, among others, former under-secretary-general of the UN and associate administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

She has also served as UNDP’s regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean, a member of the High-level Panel on Financing for Development, and vice president of Costa Rica (1994 to 1998).

Source: https://unctad.org

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