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ILO gets first African Dir-Gen Gilbert F. Houngbo

ILO gets first African Dir-Gen Gilbert F. Houngbo

ILO gets first African Dir-Gen Gilbert F. Houngbo

International Labour Organization (ILO) has elected Mr. Gilbert F. Houngbo, as its new Director-General, the first African to hold the post.

He takes over from United Kingdom’s Guy Ryder, who has been the Director-General of the Organization since 2012.

Mr. Houngbo, a Togolese national, is currently the President of UN specialized agency, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), a post he has held since 2017.

He was also a former Prime Minister to Togolese President, Faure Gnassingbé between 2008 and 2012 and also a former Deputy Director-General of the ILO.

As 11th Director-General of the Organization, Mr. Houngbo will take office in October 2022 for a five-year term.

He was elected by the Governing Body of ILO during its meeting in Geneva.

The ILO’s Governing Body is composed of representatives of governments, workers, and employers.

“Although my origins are African my perspective is global. In an age, unfortunately of dividedness, my commitment to be a unifying Director-General stands firm. I will be the Director-General of nobody and the Director-General of everybody. Governments, Employers, and Workers alike, from all regions across the world, can rely and should rely on my total readiness to represent and advocate the views of all tripartite constituents of the organization,” Mr. Houngbo said after his election.

“I commit to represent the voices of those who rely on us in ILO. I’m thinking about the four billion people around the world who do not have access to social protection. I’m thinking about the 200-plus million of women and men who face unemployment. The 160 million children in child labour. The 1.6 billion people in the informal sector. The enterprises, particularly the small and medium sized enterprises that are facing supply chain disruption or closure due to crises’ including the pandemic, climate change and armed conflict. I’m thinking about the women and men who face discrimination, violence, and harassment in the workplace and elsewhere. These are all expressions of unacceptable social injustice that we are morally if not legally bound to address.”

There were four other candidates from the Republic of Korea, South Africa, France, and Australia for the post of Director-General of ILO. These were:

Kang Kyung-wha (Republic of Korea), formerly Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea, Deputy Director-General for International Organizations for Korea and UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Mthunzi Mdwaba (South Africa), formerly Employers’ Vice-Chairperson of the ILO Governing Body and Vice-President to the ILO, International Organization of Employers.
Muriel Pénicaud (France), currently the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of France to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and former Minister of Labour of France.
Greg Vines (Australia), currently Deputy Director-General of the ILO with responsibility for Management and Reform, and formerly Minister (Labour), Australian Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva and Chair of the ILO Governing Body.
The International Labour Organization is the oldest specialized agency of the UN. It was founded in 1919 and has a mandate to promote decent work for all. It is composed of 187 Member States.

The former PM of Togo as Mr. Gilbert F. Houngbo, a Togolese national, takes over from United Kingdom’s Guy Ryder, who has held the position since 2012.

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ILO gets first African Dir-Gen Gilbert F. Houngbo

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