Setipa lands top UN post


Bereng Mpaki

FORMER trade minister Joshua Setipa has been appointed as the managing director for the United Nations’ (UN) Technology Bank for Least Developed Countries.

The Technology Bank is the UN’s newest institution and is supporting science, technology and innovation in the world’s poorest countries.

The Technology Bank was officially established by the UN General Assembly in December 2016 to strengthen the knowledge capacity of the world’s 47 least developed countries, foster development of their national and regional innovation ecosystems to attract outside technology and generate homegrown research and innovation.

Mr Setipa has over 20 years work experience at senior level in government and international organisations including The World Bank, USAID and the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Mr Setipa expressed excitement at the opportunity.

“The Technology Bank and its partners have already begun to chart a path with real potential to transform technology in the world’s poorest countries and I am excited and proud to lead this institution as it turns these ambitions into a life changing reality for the least developed countries,” Mr Setipa said.

In the next two weeks, Mr Setipa is expected to meet with key stakeholders including development partners and the UN system to explore future opportunities for collaboration and support of the activities of the Technology Bank.

The UN Office of the High Representative for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States has supported efforts to establish the Technology Bank since it was initially called for in 2011.

Mr Setipa succeeds Heidi Schroderus-Fox, the director of UNOHRLLS who served as the acting managing director of the Technology Bank during its start-up phase.

“I warmly welcome Mr Setipa to this exciting new position. It has been an honor for me to lead the UN team during the initial set-up and launch of the LDC technology bank. I am confident that under Mr Setipa’s leadership, the Technology Bank will reach its full potential in support of the least developed countries,” Ms Schroderus Fox said.

Prior to his appointment, Mr Setipa worked with the World Bank where he has been leading strategic engagements with West Africa.

From 2015 to 2017, Mr Setipa was minister of Trade and Industry, spearheading the adoption of national industrial policy. Prior to that, he worked as the chief executive officer for the Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC).

He holds a Masters of Business Administration and International Finance from the University of Bradford UK, a Graduate Diploma in International Relations and Trade from The Australian National University Canberra and a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration and Political Science from the National University of Lesotho.

The establishment and full operationalisation of the Technology Bank for Least Developed Countries in 2018, is the first Sustainable Development Goal target, (17.8), to be achieved, speaking directly to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’s principle of leaving no one behind. The new UN institution is seen as a significant achievement for the promotion of science, technology and innovation in the world’s poorest countries.

Work has already been initiated on the preparation of Science, Technology and Innovation reviews and Technology Needs Assessments in five least developed countries, in collaboration with relevant UN agencies.

The Technology Bank also started activities to improve access for scientists and researchers to data, publications and knowledge in 12 least developed countries.


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