Kenyan Sanda Ojiambo speaks after UN Secretary-General Guterres’ appointment

Sanda Ojiambo who has worked at Safaricom since 2008 was appointed as the Executive Director UN Global Compact. [Photo by Capital FM]

When UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres last week on Friday announced the appointment of a Kenyan to head the UN Global Compact (UNGC), it was all good news for Sanda Ojiambo.

Until her appointment which came after a string of interviews by top UN personnel, Ojiambo has been working as Safaricom’s the head of sustainable business and social impact.

However, what many do not know is that she is the daughter to a veteran politician from Western Kenya, Prof Julia Ojiambo – the first female leader to be appointed a minister.

Just like her mother’s streak of luck, Ojiambo becomes the first Kenyan and African to hold the position of Executive Director at the UN Global Compact.

Speaking to a local daily on Sunday, she said that appointment is a great honour to her family.

 “My family as a whole is very honoured and proud of the appointment,” she said.

Ojiambo says she is ready to channel energy to her new job which she says she got mentorship from the late Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore who served in UNGC board for two terms before his death in July 2019.

“Bob was a mentor and an incredible inspiration to me in this area of work,” she notes.

The Kenyan telco giant has been a member of UNGC and this has given her the much-needed exposure to understand the agency’s scope of work.

Once she officially takes the mantle on June 17 from outgoing Executive Director Lise Kingo from Denmark, she plans to increase the membership of companies signed up to UNGC.

“I would like to take on the challenge of expanding membership in Africa and within the Asian continent, and also encouraging further contributions from governments that are not at present making contributions to the UNGC.”

Ojiambo holds a Master of Arts in Public Policy from the University of Minnesota, USA, and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and International Development from McGill University, Canada.