Mr. Gilbert F. Houngbo

Mr. Gilbert F. Houngbo

Board Member
Director-General, International Labour Organization (ILO), Togo

Mr. Gilbert F. Houngbo was born in Togo in 1961 and has spent much of his life working to improve the prospects of the world’s most vulnerable people, using his extensive experience in policy issues, economic development, diplomacy and financial accountability.

Following an advanced degree in business management from the University of Lomé, Togo, he obtained a degree in accounting and finance from the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Canada. He is a member of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Professional Accountants.

Mr. Gilbert F. Houngbo joined Price Waterhouse in Canada in 1986 and worked with them until 1993.

Between 1994 and 1996 he served as Director of Finance at the International Bank of Mali, before moving to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) where he held several posts, including as Head of Financial Reporting and Trust Fund Management, Comptroller and Director of Finance and Administration, Chief of Staff, and Assistant Secretary-General and Regional Director for Africa.

In 2008, Mr. Gilbert F. Houngbo was asked to serve as Prime Minister of Togo, a position he held until 2012.

He returned to the United Nations system in 2013 as Deputy Director-General for Field Operations and Partnerships at the International Labour Office.

In 2017 he was elected as the sixth President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and in 2021 he was re-elected to the post. Since 2017 he has served as Chair of UN-Water, the coordination mechanism of the United Nations for water and sanitation.​

Mr. Gilbert F. Houngbo chairs the Board of the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) and is a board member of the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA).

In March 2022 he was elected by the ILO’s Governing Body as the Organization’s 11th Director-General, becoming the first African to hold the position, and took up the role on 1 October 2022. He is focusing his mandate on promoting greater social justice, fighting inequalities and discrimination in the world of work and achieving better working conditions both through national action and by building more effective multilateral coordination and leadership. To bring this about, he is placing special emphasis on universal social protection, decent work in global supply chains and in the platform economy, the fight against child and forced labour, protecting the rights of migrant workers, promoting social dialogue and freedom of association, ensuring just transitions and attaining gender equality.

He is married and has three children.