Press Release

Head of the UN in South Africa appointed the new Chief Executive Officer of the African Union Development Agency-NEPAD

08 February 2022

Over the last three decades, Ms. Bekele-Thomas has also lived and served in various capacities in Ethiopia, New York, India, Bhutan, Comoros Islands, Benin and Uganda, promoting human development anchored on the principles of economic, social and political rights for all.

Caption: Ms. Nardos Bekele-Thomas, United Nations Resident Coordinator in South Africa
Photo: © UN South Africa

Pretoria: The head and Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in South Africa, Nardos Bekele-Thomas, has been appointed the new Chief Executive Officer of the African Union Development Agency-NEPAD. A national of Ethiopia, Ms. Bekele-Thomas’s appointment was endorsed over the weekend by the African Union Heads of State and Government at their annual summit in Addis Ababa. She will replace Dr. Ibrahim Mayaki, becoming the first woman to lead the AU’s development agency.

Ms. Bekele-Thomas assumed her current position as UN Resident Coordinator in South Africa in May 2019. Prior to this, she served as the Senior Director of the Office of the Secretary-General, in charge of the overall management of the Office of the Secretary-General, the Office of the Chef de Cabinet, and that of the Deputy Secretary-General. 

Before her appointment in the Office of the Secretary-General, she was the UN Resident Coordinator and UN Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative in Kenya, where previously had also served as the Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP with responsibility for the formulation and implementation of UNDP programme of assistance to the country.  Ms. Bekele-Thomas also served as UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Benin. Before her assignment to Kenya, she served in New York as Country Programme Adviser for East and Central Africa in the Regional Bureau for Africa of UNDP.  

As Private Sector Policy Adviser, Ms. Bekele-Thomas conducted extensive research on private sector development, supported the strengthening of African business associations, provided advisory services and played advocacy role in the development and management of micro, small and medium-scale enterprises.  Based on her strong belief in promoting women and youth empowerment, she has carried out policy studies and developed programmes on the promotion of entrepreneurship and business skills training for employment and job creation. 

Ms. Bekele-Thomas has worked in collaboration with regional and international organizations, including the African Business Roundtable and the Corporate Council on Africa to promote trade and investment in African countries through private/public sector partnerships in the United States such as in the states of Connecticut, New Jersey and Arizona. 

Over the last three decades, Ms. Bekele-Thomas has also lived and served in various capacities in Ethiopia, New York, India, Bhutan, Comoros Islands, Benin and Uganda, promoting human development anchored on the principles of economic, social and political rights for all.

Ms. Bekele-Thomas holds a Master’s Degree and she is the author of several papers and monographs. She is also fully bilingual in French and English.

Media enquiries:
For further information, please contact UNIC National Information Officer, Zeenat Abdool at 082 77 88 080 or abdool@un.org

Head of the UN in South Africa appointed the new Chief Executive Officer of the African Union Development Agency-NEPAD

Zeenat Abdool

Zeenat Abdool

UNIC
Communications Officer

UN entities involved in this initiative

FAO
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
IFAD
International Fund for Agricultural Development
ILO
International Labour Organization
IOM
International Organization for Migration
OHCHR
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
RCO
United Nations Resident Coordinator Office
UN Women
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
UNDP
United Nations Development Programme
UNEP
United Nations Environment Programme
UNFPA
United Nations Population Fund
UNHCR
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
UNICEF
United Nations Children’s Fund
UNIDO
United Nations Industrial Development Organization
UNODC
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
WFP
World Food Programme
WHO
World Health Organization