Elsie Gyekyewaa Attafuah - Resident Representative
Ms. Elsie G. Attafuah, is a senior level United Nations executive and results-oriented development practitioner with over 25 years of global experience in evidence-based strategy and policy making, programme development, management and implementation, organizational and strategic management, high-level partnerships brokering, external relations and diplomacy; and development of financing mechanisms, instruments and investment platforms.
Elsie has led multi-cultural and multi-disciplinary teams in Africa, Europe and America; and has engaged many Governments, bi-lateral and multilateral organizations, civil society, private sector and research institutions at the highest levels across countries, particularly in Africa.
On February 02, 2024, Elsie assumed her position as the Resident Representative of the United Development Programme (UNDP) in the Federal Republic of Nigeria to lead a dynamic team of over 200 people.
Prior to this, she led and managed a large portfolio as UNDP Resident Representative in Uganda where she led some of the transformational and ground-breaking work in the history of UNDP in Uganda. Her work has been recognized by the H.E the President of the Republic of Uganda, Senior Government Officials and development partners.
Under her leadership, UNDP Uganda led from the forefront in navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, Ebola outbreak, the negative impact of the climate crisis and the global challenges by employing innovative development solutions. She authored the book "Leading in Times of Crisis, Uncertainties and Change: A Bold, Ambitious and Unstoppable Journey of Hope and Transformation (2019-2023) with UNDP Uganda. Beyond her leadership in Uganda, and as part of the implementation of the UNDP Regional Offer, she chaired the UNDP Great Lakes Forum of Resident Representatives. On several occasions, she acted as the United Nations Resident Coordinator and the Designated Official for Security in Uganda, including during humanitarian and complex situations.
During her tenure, to mention a few, UNDP Uganda achieved the following:
• In partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, facilitated the Strategic, High-level and World Class organization of the G77+China and NAM Summits (organized back-to-back which is the first of its kind in the history of the world) hosted by Uganda.
• Revived Uganda’s tourism sector which has almost doubled its revenues, where UNDP spearheaded the development of innovative new tourism products that included the successful launch of the first-ever UNDP Elgon Half Marathon with world acclaimed marathoner Joshua Cheptegei, premiered the Rwenzori Marathon, launched Ekyooto Ha Mpango, produced the world award winning documentary Rwenzori: The Source of Life which won the 35th World Tourism Awards in Valencia, Spain, the 2023 CIFFT Circuit award and the 2023 Gold Award at the New York Film Festival.
• Launched the Trade4SMEs initiative as part of the AfCFTA intervention of bolstering intra-African trade through trade facilitation, commercial diplomacy, private sector engagement, and building Uganda’s national capacity. UNDP Uganda facilitated trade missions to Ghana, Rwanda, DRC, South Sudan, Japan, UK and USA to create business-to-business linkages. She partnered with Uganda Airlines on inaugural flights to India and Nigeria including supporting 40 Ugandan businesswomen on the maiden flight of the Airline to Lagos to deepen their market opportunities. Her work on AfCFTA has been recognized by the AfCFTA Secretariat.
• UNDP has empowered the youth through impactful initiatives such as the Youth4Business Innovation and Entrepreneurship Facility launched by H.E President Yoweri Museveni, and several other significant initiatives in youth skilling and job creation. Catalyzed the growth of Uganda’s startup ecosystem, marked by the establishment of the University Innovation Pod at Makerere University, refurbishment of the National Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) Hub, the Kabale Business Incubation Hub, the Kampala Capital City Authority Employment Services Bureau, the Kasanga One Stop Skilling Centre.
• Launched the Digital Transformation Roadmap to help build a Digital Uganda – through digitalization of courts and prisons, e-health centres, toll-free centres, information systems for monitoring natural resources, development of the Jumia E-Commerce Platform for informal market vendors, establishment of the Makerere University Innovation Pod (UniPod) through UNDP’s timbuktoo initiative.
• Acceleration of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the SDG Roadmap and providing crucial assistance to the SDGs Secretariat, undertaking Voluntary National Review of the SDGs, organizing annual SDG conference, SDG localization, among others. UNDP has supported the building of strategic partnership for development by providing technical and financial support for revitalization of the National Partnership Forum.
• Development of national strategies and policies such as the National Industrialization Policy 2020, Public Investment Financing Strategy, Nationally Determined Contribution Action Plan, National Disaster Risk Management Plan, National Digital Transformation Roadmap, National Implementation Strategy for the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA), and National Tourism Masterplan, amongst others.
• Formulation and execution of our National Development Plan 3 (NDP3) through supporting programme-based planning and budgeting, development of the Programme Implementation Action Plans (PIAPs), enhanced alignment between 176 Local Government Development Plans (2020-2025) and NDPIII, and the Mid-term Review of the NDP-III.
• UNDP also supported national efforts to strengthen structures and systems to enhance national resilience to multi-hazard induced disaster risks, focusing on building the capacity of Uganda’s National Emergency Operation and Coordination Centre to effectively respond and manage multiple disasters, including epidemics and pandemics. This has involved building early warning systems and disaster assessment tools; as well as supporting technical coordination of the District Emergency Coordination and Operation Centres.
• UNDP has supported the government on the evidence-based policy making process by providing technical and financial support to the MoFPED for publication of Multi-Dimensional Poverty Index Report, Poverty Status Report and the office of the President Apex Platform for a study on the Commercialization of Agriculture.
Before her appointment to Uganda, Elsie managed UNDP’s Climate and Forests office in Africa, providing policy and technical guidance to 28 countries. Her professional experience spans years of working with UNDP, the Global Mechanism of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), Government Ministries, private sector, and civil society.
Ms. Attafuah holds a Masters’ Degree in International Affairs from the University of Ghana, a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Diploma in Education from the University of Cape-Coast. She is a certified partnership broker and has attended a number of leadership and management courses during her career.
Blessed Chirimuta - Deputy Resident Representative - Operations
Blessed Chirimuta has more than 20 years of leadership and management experience with the UN and the World Bank in several duty stations. Prior to joining UNDP Nigeria as Deputy Resident Representative – Operations, he held the same position in UNDP South Sudan since September 2020.
Before that, Blessed was the Chairperson of UNDP’s Regional Advisory Committee on Procurement (RACP) for RBA, based in Ethiopia (2009-2020). In this role, Blessed advised the RBA Deputy Director in her role as Regional Chief Procurement Officer and strengthened procurement systems in many country offices in Africa.
He started his career as a Civil Engineer in 1993 and worked in the construction, mining and manufacturing sectors in Zimbabwe up to 2003 when he joined the UN system through the World Food Programme in South Africa. He has since held various procurement and contract management positions for UNDP/IAPSO in South Africa and Denmark (2004-2006), UNDP Pakistan (2007-2008) and the World Bank in Washington DC, USA (2008-2009) before rejoining UNDP in 2009.
Blessed holds a Bachelor of Civil Engineering Honours degree (University of Zimbabwe), an MBA (University of Zimbabwe), Certified Diploma in Accounting and Finance, ACCA (UK), a Graduate Diploma – Purchasing and Supply Chain Management CIPS (UK) and an MSP Foundation Certificate in Programme Management.