Chido Onumah, Geneva
Gilbert F. Houngbo was sworn in Friday, becoming the eleventh and first African Director-General of the 103-year ago International Labour Organisation (ILO).
The out-going director general, Guy Ryder, handed over at the end of his two five-year terms as ILO Director-General to Gilbert F. Houngbo, who takes over officially as Director-General on Saturday, October 1.
The short ceremony for the transfer of office took place at the ILO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
The ceremony featured the symbolic transfer of the three ILO keys, representing the tripartite structure of the Organisation that brings together governments, employers and workers.
Founded in October 1919 under the League of Nations, it is the first and oldest specialised agency of the UN. It has 187 member states: 186 out of 193 UN member states plus the Cook Islands. It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, with about 40 field offices around the world, and employs some 3,381 staff across 107 nations, of whom 1,698 work in technical cooperation programmes and projects.
Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo was elected Director-General on March 25, 2022. He succeeds Guy Ryder, who was elected by the ILO Governing Body in October 2012, and re-elected for a second five-year-term in November 2016.
Born February 4, 1961, Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo is a Togolese politician and diplomat who was Prime Minister of Togo from September 2008 to July 2012. He has held various positions within the United Nations System, including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the International Labour Office and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).