Carlos Lopes Photo

Dr. Carlos Lopes

Former Executive Secretary, UNECA, and Professor, University of Cape Town


Dr Carlos Lopes is former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

He has a wealth of academic research and teaching experience in the fields of development and strategic planning, has authored or edited more than 20 books and taught at academic institutions in Lisbon, Coimbra, Zurich, Uppsala, Mexico, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

Dr Lopes has had a distinguished career with the United Nations, having occupied various prominent positions such as Representative in Zimbabwe and Brazil, Director for Development Policy at the UN Development Program, Director of the UN System Staff College, Political Director for Secretary General Kofi Annan, Assistant Secretary General and Executive Director of the UN Institute for Training and Research, before leading the ECA for the last four years.

He is affiliated with a number of academic networks, and has helped establish various non-governmental organizations and centres for social research, in particular in Africa. In 2008 he was elected to the Lisbon Academy of Sciences, Portugal. Dr Lopes currently serves as Member of Governing Boards or advisory and editorial committees to several institutions including the Geneva Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies, and the Lisbon University Institute, which he chairs.

Dr Lopes holds a PhD in history from the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and a research masters from the Geneva Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies on economic development. He has also received honorary doctorates from the University of Cândido Mendes, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Hawassa University, Ethiopia.

He will be sharing his time with a Visiting Professorship at the Faculty of Commerce, Graduate School of Development and Policy Practice at the University of Cape Town, and serving the Global Commission on Economy and Climate and the Steering Group helping the African Union reform, under the leadership of President Paul Kagame.