The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has appointed the Ethiopian entrepreneur Eleni Gebremedhin (PhD) as Chief Innovation Officer at its Regional Bureau for Africa.Eleni’s appointment was stated Wednesday on the website of UNDP which said “Fostering digitalization and empowering youth in developing Africa’s future are amongst UNDP’s priorities and Dr. Eleni Gebremedihin’s leadership for this new initiative will have a major impact and greatly support our efforts in harnessing and catalyzing the tremendous innovative and entrepreneurial talent of Africa’s youth.”
UNDP’s Regional Director for Africa, Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa added: “I am very pleased that we will have the opportunity to benefit from the breadth and depth of her professional experience at this significant point in time, when African youth initiatives, innovation and the private sector will play a critical role in recovering from the COVID-19 crisis.”
The website wrote that Eleni, a member of UNDP Africa’s eminent group of African Influencers for Development, comes with over 25 years of experience in designing and implementing innovative solutions and is a highly recognized thought-leader and respected voice on African development, agricultural markets, entrepreneurship, and youth innovation.
Eleni is also known to have founded and managed the highly acclaimed Ethiopia Commodity Exchange, which achieved $1.2 billion in annual trading value in three years.
Before joining UNDP, she held prior senior positions with the World Bank, UNCTAD, and the International Food Policy Research Institute, and served on the boards of a number of international corporate and non-profit organizations.
She holds a PhD from Stanford University in Applied Economics, and is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions, including Top 50 Disruptors 2020 by The Africa Report and Devex’ Top 5 Global Women of Impact in 2016.
Eleni was named among the 125 Global Women of Impact by Newsweek in April 2013, among 100 Most Influential Africans by New African Magazine in 2012, and received the prestigious Yara Prize for Agricultural Transformation in Africa and the African Banker Icon Award in 2012, among others.