Seasoned development economist Carlos Lopes will be joining the University of Cape Town as a visiting professor.

Lopes was joining the commerce faculty after a four-year stint as executive secretary of the Ethiopia-based UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the university said on Wednesday.


UCT was looking to Lopes to help its Graduate School of Development and Policy Practice (GSDPP) "become Africa’s magnet for training public sector leadership".

Lopes has had a long UN career. Before joining the ECA he was UN representative in Zimbabwe and Brazil, director for development policy at the UN Development Programme, director of the UN System Staff College and former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan’s political director.

He was also assistant secretary-general and executive director of the UN Institute for Training and Research.

UCT commerce dean Prof Ingrid Woolard said: "Dr Lopes is a champion of Africa’s structural transformation. He will be instrumental in helping the faculty contribute towards UCT’s research vision of being the best in Africa and for Africa. We are very proud that he has accepted this invitation to work with us."

GSDPP director Prof Alan Hirsch said Lopes, who holds PhD in history from the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, was one of Africa’s leading intellectuals.

Hirsh said Lopes’s leadership at the ECA had a major impact on thinking about the economic development of the African continent.

"He has helped to turn around the negative perceptions of African prospects which have prevailed since the sixteenth century, while retaining a deep understanding of the challenges which face us," said Hirsch.

Lopes also holds a research master’s degree from the Geneva Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies on economic development.

He has written or edited 22 books and taught at academic institutions in Lisbon, Coimbra, Zurich, Uppsala, Mexico, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

Lopes serves on governing boards or advisory and editorial committees of several institutions, including the Geneva Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies and the Lisbon University Institute, which he chairs.

In addition to his UCT commitment, he will be a visiting fellow at Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford, and serve the Global Commission on Economy and Climate and the steering group to help African Union reform under the leadership of President Paul Kagame.

Please sign in or register to comment.