Gilbert Houngbo

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Gilbert Houngbo
Gilbert Houngbo.jpg
Prime Minister of Togo
In office
8 September 2008 – 23 July 2012
PresidentFaure Gnassingbé
Preceded byKomlan Mally
Succeeded byKwesi Ahoomey-Zunu
President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development
Assumed office
1 April 2017
Personal details
Born (1961-02-04) 4 February 1961 (age 58)
Political partyIndependent
Alma materUniversity of Lomé
University of Quebec, Trois-Rivières

Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo (born 4 February 1961[1]) is a Togolese politician who was Prime Minister of Togo from September 2008[2] to July 2012. Previously he worked at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

After leaving office as Prime Minister, Houngbo became Deputy Director-General for Field Operations and Partnership at the International Labour Office in 2013. He has been President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development since 2017.[3]

Education and career at the UN[edit]

Houngbo holds an advanced degree in business management from the University of Lomé in Togo, as well as a degree in accounting and finance from the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières in Canada. He is a member of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants.[4]

Houngbo was a member of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Strategic Management Team and was its Director of Finance and Administration before being appointed as the UNDP Chief of Staff in 2003. He was subsequently appointed as United Nations Assistant Secretary General, Assistant Administrator of the UNDP, and Director of the UNDP's Regional Bureau for Africa[5] by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan[5][6] on 29 December 2005.[6][7]

Prime minister[edit]

On 7 September 2008, President Faure Gnassingbé appointed Houngbo as Prime Minister of Togo; he replaced Komlan Mally, who resigned two days earlier.[6] His appointment as Prime Minister was read out in a decree by Kouessan Yovodevi, the Director of National Television, who stated, "Mr Houngbo is Prime Minister".[8] Houngbo took office as Prime Minister on 8 September.[2] Houngbo was a relatively obscure figure in Togo prior to his appointment as Prime Minister, and his appointment was regarded as surprising.[4] The government said that he was a "man of consensus" who would facilitate national reconciliation. Some observers attributed his appointment to a desire to improve the image of the government; there were suggestions that Mally had appeared ineffectual.[9]

Houngbo travelled to the UN Headquarters in New York on 11 September for a visit to mark his departure from the UN. He met with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 11 September, and Ban congratulated him on his achievements at the UNDP.[10] In Togo, Houngbo's government was named on 15 September 2008. It included 27 ministers, aside from Houngbo himself: three ministers of state (one of whom was Houngbo's predecessor, Komlan Mally), 20 ministers, two minister-delegates, and two secretaries of state.[11] Houngbo presented his general policy programme to the National Assembly on 16 September. Of the 80 deputies who participated in the vote on Houngbo's programme, 50 (representing the ruling Rally of the Togolese People) voted in favor of it; the opposition Union of Forces for Change voted against it, while the opposition Action Committee for Renewal abstained.[12]

Gnassingbé was re-elected in the March 2010 presidential election and sworn in on 3 May 2010. Houngbo accordingly resigned as Prime Minister on 5 May,[13] and Gnassingbé re-appointed him as Prime Minister on 7 May.[14] His new coalition government was announced on 28 May,[15] which included seven members from the UFC, Togo's main opposition party.[16]

Houngbo resigned on 11 July 2012,[17] and Kwesi Ahoomey-Zunu was appointed to replace him on 19 July 2012.[18] He was succeeded in office by Ahoomey-Zunu on 23 July.[19]

Houngbo was appointed as Deputy Director-General for Field Operations and Partnership at the International Labour Office in February 2013, taking office on 1 March 2013.[20]

On 14 February 2017, Houngbo was appointed as President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development; he took office on 1 April 2017.[3]


  1. ^ "Démission du Premier ministre", République Togolaise website, 5 May 2010 (in French).
  2. ^ a b "Reprise de la coopération et gestion de crise"[permanent dead link], République Togolaise website, 8 September 2008 (in French).
  3. ^ a b "Former Prime Minister of Togo to head United Nations rural poverty agency". Retrieved 2017-02-14.
  4. ^ a b "Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo, "l'oiseau rare"". République Togolaise website (in French). 2008-09-09. Retrieved 2011-09-01.
  5. ^ a b "Secretary-General appoints Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo of Togo as Director of UN Development Programme's Bureau for Africa", United Nations press release, Secretary-General SG/A/967 BIO/3727 DEV/2559, 30 December 2005.
  6. ^ a b c "Le patron du Pnud Afrique nommé Premier ministre"[permanent dead link], République Togolaise website, 7 September 2008 (in French).
  7. ^ "UN Development Programme names new officials to head 3 regional bureaus", UN News Centre, 29 December 2005.
  8. ^ "Togo appoints new prime minister" Archived 2008-09-12 at the Wayback Machine, AFP, 8 September 2008.
  9. ^ John Zodzi, "Togo names new premier", Reuters, 8 September 2008.
  10. ^ "Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo fait ses adieux au Pnud"[permanent dead link], République Togolaise website, 12 September 2008 (in French).
  11. ^ "L'équipe autour de Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo" Archived 2008-09-18 at the Wayback Machine, République Togolaise website, 15 September 2008 (in French).
  12. ^ "Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo préconise une nouvelle politique de l'emploi"[permanent dead link], République Togolaise website, 16 September 2008 (in French).
  13. ^ "Togolese government resigns", République Togolaise website, 6 May 2010.
  14. ^ "Houngbo II", République Togolaise website, 7 May 2010 (in French).
  15. ^ "31 ministres dans la nouvelle équipe", République Togolaise website, 28 May 2010 (in French).
  16. ^ "Historic agreement between the RPT and the UFC", République Togolaise website, 27 May 2010 (in French).
  17. ^ Jean-Claude Abalo, "Togo : démission du Premier ministre Gilbert Houngbo et de son gouvernement", Jeune Afrique, 12 July 2012 (in French).
  18. ^ "Zunu à la Primature", République Togolaise website, 19 July 2012 (in French).
  19. ^ "Pas d’autre solution que le dialogue et la concertation", République Togolaise website, 23 July 2012 (in French).
  20. ^ "Report of the Director-General; Sixth Supplementary Report: Appointment of a Deputy Director-General", International Labour Office, 25 February 2015 (in French).
Political offices
Preceded by
Komlan Mally
Prime Minister of Togo
Succeeded by
Kwesi Ahoomey-Zunu