Alhaji Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella (born July 5, 1959) is a Sierra Leonean Agricultural economist, politician, and the former United Nations Under-Secretary-General and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All. He was also the chief executive officer of the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative. Yumkella is a former Chairman of UN-Energy and a two-term former Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
Born in Kambia District of Northern Sierra Leone, Yumkella has a B.Sc. from Njala University; a M.Sc. from the Cornell University; and a Ph.D. in Agricultural economics from the University of Illinois.
In December 2005, Dr. Kandeh K. Yumkella was appointed Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), having previously worked in various high-level policy positions in UNIDO. He was re-appointed for a second four-year term in office in December 2009.
Prior to working for UNIDO, Yumkella was the Minister for Trade and Industry of Sierra Leone from 1994-1995. From 1987-1996, he held various academic positions at Michigan State University and the University of Illinois in the United States. In recognition of his leadership and his passion for energy and environment-related causes, Yumkella was appointed as Chair of UN-Energy in 2008 by the UN Secretary-General.
Yumkella is a prominent public speaker, who addresses global issues, including poverty reduction, climate change, the Millennium Development Goals, and green industry and renewable energy. Dr. Yumkella’s opinion pieces have appeared in major international newspapers, including The New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, and The Guardian. He has also appeared on several international broadcast networks, including CNN’s Amanpour programme, BBC, Sky News, Aljazeera and CNBC.
Yumkella is a devout Muslim and a member of the Susu ethnic group. He is married to Philomena Yumkella.