Secretary-General of UNCTAD
from 1 September 2013 to 15 February 2021
Mukhisa Kituyi, of Kenya, became UNCTAD's seventh Secretary-General on 1 September 2013. After serving an initial four-year term, he was reappointed by the General Assembly in July 2017 for an additional term that began on 1 September that year.
Dr. Kituyi has an extensive background as an elected official, an academic, and a holder of high government office. He also has wide-ranging experience in trade negotiations, and in African and broader international economics and diplomacy.
He was born in Bungoma District, western Kenya, in 1956. He studied political science and international relations at the University of Nairobi and at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, receiving a BA in 1982. He went on to earn an MPhil in 1986 and a doctorate in 1989 from the University of Bergen, Norway.
Dr. Kituyi served as a researcher at Norway's Christian Michelsen Institute from 1989 to 1991, and as Programme Director of the African Centre for Technology Studies in Nairobi from 1991 to 1992.
He was elected to the Kenyan Parliament in 1992, and was twice re-elected.
He was Kenya's Minister of Trade and Industry from 2002 to 2007.
During this period, Dr. Kituyi chaired for two years the Council of Ministers of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the African Trade Ministers' Council.
He also served as chairman of the Council of Ministers of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States, and was lead negotiator for Eastern and Southern African ministers during the European Union-ACP Economic Partnership Agreement negotiations. He was convenor of the agriculture negotiations carried out at the World Trade Organization's Sixth Ministerial Conference held in Hong Kong, China in 2005.
From 2008 to 2012, Dr. Kituyi was a member of a team of experts advising the presidents of the nations of the East African Community on how to establish more effective regional economic links.
From 2011 to 2012, he was a consultant for the African Union Commission, where he helped to develop the structure for a pan-African free trade area.
Immediately prior to becoming Secretary-General, Dr. Kituyi was Chief Executive of the Kenya Institute of Governance, based in Nairobi. The Institute is a think tank and advocacy organization that focuses on linking academic research and the development of public policy.
During 2012, Dr. Kituyi also served as a non-resident fellow of the Africa Growth Initiative of the Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C. He was a resident scholar there in 2011.
Dr. Kituyi is married and has four children.
Commentary and Analysis
Developing countries and trade negotiations on e-commerce
Countries hail leadership of outgoing UNCTAD chief
Member states from across the world fete Mukhisa Kituyi for his stellar service and staunch support for the aspirations of the global south.
‘Going digital’: How to build an inclusive digital economy in the wake of COVID-19
UNCTAD chief wins award for promoting intra-African trade
Transforming trade, backing productive capacities is key to fixing global economy
UNCTAD Secretary-General sets down roadmap for health, productivity, prosperity and fixing a fractured global economy scarred by the coronavirus pandemic ahead of its October 2021 quadrennial conference in Barbados.
Precautionary principle: UNCTAD’s quadrennial conference postponed amid COVID-19 rebound
UNCTAD Secretary-General and Barbados Prime Minister committed to an in-person meeting of nations in October 2021 in Bridgetown for UNCTAD15.
Coronavirus: An opportunity ahead of green shipping
African Regional Review Meeting for LDC5: Session 5 - Enhancing External Trade, Building and Maintaining Resilient Infrastructure and Promoting Regional Integration in African LDCs