Fairtrade appoints Sandra Uwera as new global CEO

Fairtrade International has appointed Sandra Uwera as its new global CEO to lead its ongoing social justice and sustainability mission, including improving conditions for communities serving cocoa supply chains, writes Neill Barston.

As previously reported, the movement is set to play a notable role among keynote speakers for our World Confectionery Conference in Brussels this September, which will place a broad spectrum of major topics facing the industry under the microscope.

Ms Uwera, a Rwandan national, takes on the top role at Fairtrade following the departure of Dr. Nyagoy Nyong’o, who served as Interim Global CEO until the end of last month.

The movement’s new leader joins its ranks having gained significant in management at major industry organisations. She most recently served as CEO of Comesa Business Council (CBC), the leading Business Member Organisation in Africa and a private sector institution of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), which represents 34 business sectors across 21 countries.

“I am delighted and honoured to lead Fairtrade as it builds on its leading role in confronting the greatest challenges of our time, from climate change and poverty to gender equality,” Ms. Uwera said.

“For many people around the world, Fairtrade means a fairer future for farmers, a more sustainable future for our planet, and a better future for consumers committed to making a difference,” she continued. “This is the  vision I look forward to growing alongside the millions of Fairtraders who support our mission.”

As the movement noted, part of her work with CBC and COMESA, she has led projects and programmes on sustainable solutions for small and medium enterprises, advocacy, technical capacity-building, industry competitiveness and market access, digital financial inclusion, and programs focused on women and youth empowerment.

“We are thrilled to have Sandra at the helm of Fairtrade at such an important juncture in our organisation’s history,” said Lynette Thorstensen, chair of its board.

“With her exceptional talent and vision, we expect Sandra’s leadership to build on our ambitious Global Strategy, hone our strategic direction, and deepen our impact around the world. We are especially pleased to have hired a citizen from a vital Fairtrade farming region who will be based there, working from Fairtrade Africa’s offices in Nairobi, Kenya.”

Ms. Uwera grew up in both Kenya and Rwanda, speaks French and is fluent in English. She holds a Master of Science (MSc) in Strategic Planning, a Bachelor of Arts in Corporate Communications, and has undertaken advanced professional training in international trade policy and law, digital inclusion, and leadership for business sustainability. She is an Eisenhower fellow and sits on various Boards in Africa and internationally.

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