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In March 2022 Gilbert F. Houngbo was elected by the Governing Body of the International Labour Organization (ILO) as its 11th Director-General, becoming the first African to hold the position. He took up the role on 1 October 2022.

Prior to that post, Mr Houngbo was the President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development, based in Rome, Italy. First elected in 2017, he was re-elected in 2021.  He previously was Deputy Director-General for Field Operations and Partnerships at the ILO.

In 2008, Mr Houngbo was asked to serve as Prime Minister of Togo, a position he held until 2012.  Prior to that he held several posts at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), including Chief of Staff and Assistant Secretary-General and Regional Director for Africa, following several years in the private sector and three years serving as Director of Finance at the International Bank of Mali.

Mr Houngbo is also Chair of UN-Water, the coordination mechanism of the United Nations for water and sanitation, and Chair of the Board of the Natural Resource Governance Institute.