World Leaders Summit - Dialogue III: Building a more prosperous development path - Matching the scale of the moment

05 October 2021
16:00 - 17:30 hrs. (CEST) / 10:00-11:30 hrs. (AST)
Virtual Conference Centre, Frangipani Auditorium

Building a more prosperous development path: Matching the scale of the moment

Building a more prosperous development path requires broad and bold actions. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is the only current global call for solidarity, yet has faced scrutiny.  Many, including among younger generations, have questioned the deliverables of international institutions and their ability to reshape current systems and to address current and future challenges.

The international community largely agrees on the need for more and better cooperation and solidarity, to build a more resilient, inclusive and sustainable future. This has been emphasized in many areas, such as producing and distributing vaccines; cooperating on and regulating science, technology and innovation; reforming the international financial system; granting debt suspension and relief; addressing illicit financial flows; rebuilding trust in the multilateral trading system and enhancing it with safety-net measures for vulnerable countries; and aiming to decouple growth from carbon dioxide emissions. Agreement on the need for cooperation is essential and the actual implementation and deepening of cooperation is fundamental.

This dialogue is targeted at key players in international cooperation, especially at the multilateral level. The discussion will focus on how cooperation and multilateralism should look and be transformed in order to rebuild trust and be at the service of development in motion and reflective of new power balances and actors.

Key issues

  1. International cooperation. What has hindered further cooperation in the area of trade and development? How can the international community ensure that it lives up to the promise to deepen international cooperation and promote cooperation, to “build back better” on the ground?
  2. Multilateralism. How should multilateralism at the service of development look and how can it be realized? What is needed in the short term to reinvigorate multilateralism as an effective tool?
  3. A new development path. What role should networks and coalitions play and which new forms of dialogue and tools are required to support a more holistic development path? Is the international community willing and able to change development paths?


Introductory remarks:

  • Ms. Rebeca Grynspan, Secretary-General, UNCTAD


  • Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta, President, Republic of Kenya
  • Mr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, President, Guyana
  • Mr. Imran Khan, Prime Minister, Pakistan
  • Ms. Raquel Peña, Vice-President, Dominican Republic
  • Ms. Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa
  • Ms. Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS
  • Mr. Mauricio Claver-Carone, President, Inter-American Development Bank


  • Mr. Peter Okwoche, Senior Broadcast Journalist, BBC
  • Ms. Sharon Marshall, Senior Broadcast Journalist and Communications Specialist


Watch recording of Dialogue III


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Rebeca Grynspan
UN Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

Rebeca Grynspan, of Costa Rica, became UNCTAD's eighth Secretary-General on 13 September 2021 and is the first woman to lead the organization.

Prior to her UNCTAD appointment, she was the Ibero-American secretary-general from 2014 to 2021, also the first woman to head the organization. During her mandate, she has coordinated the 22-member Iberoamerican Conference and led four key summits of Heads of State and Government. 

In 2010 she was appointed Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Associate Administrator of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and prior to that was UNDP Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean.  

Prior to joining the United Nations, Ms. Grynspan served as Vice-President of Costa Rica from 1994 to 1998. She was also Minister of Housing, Minister Coordinator of Economic and Social Affairs, and Deputy Minister of Finance. In 2021 she was named Special International Advisor to the newly created Economic and Social Council of Argentina and invited to join as member of the G20 High-Level Independent Panel on Financing the Global Commons for Pandemic Preparedness and Response.

In addition to her experience as a lecturer and advisor to several international organizations, she has been actively involved in key United Nations initiatives, such as the Millennium Project's Task Force on Poverty and Economic Development and the High-level Panel on Financing for Development.  

In 2014 and 2015, she was recognized as one of the 50 leading intellectuals of Latin America.  And she was recognized as one of the 100 most powerful women in Central America by Forbes magazine.

Ms Grynspan holds a degree in Economics by the University of Costa Rica and a MSc in Economics by the University of Sussex. She has been awarded a Doctorate Honoris Causa by the University of Salamanca, the University of Extremadura and the European University of Madrid in recognition of her outstanding professional achievements. 

Uhuru Kenyatta
Republic of Kenya

His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta is the Fourth President of the Republic of Kenya and the party leader of the ruling Jubilee Party.

He has previously served as a nominated Member of Parliament, Leader of the Opposition, Minister for Local Government and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.

President Kenyatta was re-elected for a second and final term in August 2017.  His presidency has been underpinned by a commitment to economic and social transformation, national unity, good governance, regional integration, and intra-Africa trade.

Under President Kenyatta’s leadership, Kenya has become one of the fastest-growing economies in sub-Saharan Africa and ranks among the top three African countries on the ease of doing business.  Kenya has consolidated its position as a leader on issues such as Climate Change, the Blue Economy and digital technologies and Nairobi has emerged as a regional hub for major international organisations and corporations. Kenya. In January 2021,  Kenya started its two-year term as a non- permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.

Following the promulgation of a new Constitution in 2010, President Kenyatta presided over the rolling out of an ambitious program to restructure the Kenyan state involving large-scale political, fiscal, and administrative decentralization.

At the regional level, President Kenyatta has championed regional integration, intra-Africa trade and a stronger role of the African continent on the global stage.  He has been at the forefront in promoting peace and security efforts in the region and has brokered peace agreements in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

President Kenyatta is currently the Chair of the African Union Peace and Security Council, and Chair of the Summit of East Africa Community Heads of State.  He is also Chair of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) a coalition of African Union Heads of State and Government to drive accountability and action for results against Malaria, Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal, Child, and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH) and nutrition. 

President Kenyatta is the current President-in-Office of the Organization of the African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) which comprises 79 African, Caribbean, and Pacific states. He is also a member of the High-Level Panel for Sustainable Ocean Economy, a unique initiative of 14 serving world leaders to build momentum towards a sustainable ocean economy. 

President Kenyatta serves as a Global Leader for the Young People’s Agenda under the UN-led Generation Unlimited Initiative (GenU) which seeks to ensure that by 2030 all young persons aged 10-24 are in school, in training or employment. 

Mohamed Irfaan Ali
Co-operative Republic of Guyana

His Excellency Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali is the 9th Executive President of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana and Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, having been sworn-in to office on August 2nd, 2020.

Elected as a member of Guyana's National Assembly in 2006, Dr. Ali previously served as his country's Minister of Housing and Water and Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce. Prior to entering politics, he was employed as a Project Manager and Senior Planner in Guyana's Ministry of Finance.

Dr. Ali is eminently qualified. He is the holder of a doctorate in Urban and Regional Planning, a Masters of Arts Degree in Manpower Planning, a Post Graduate Diploma in International Business, a Post Graduate Certificate in Finance from Anglia Ruskin University, a Bachelor of Arts Degree (Hons.) in Business Management from the University of Sunderland and an LLM Degree in International Commercial Law from the University of Salford.

Dr. Ali is married and is a father.

Imran Khan
Prime Minister

Imran Khan is the 22nd and current Prime Minister of Pakistan and the chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). Before entering politics, he was an international cricketer and captain of the Pakistan national cricket team, which he led to victory in the 1992 Cricket World Cup. He retired from cricket in 1992, as one of Pakistan's most successful players.In 2010, he was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame.

He was born in 1952; educated at Aitchison College in Lahore, then the Royal Grammar School Worcester in Worcester, and later at Keble College, Oxford.

In 1991, he launched a fundraising campaign to set up a cancer hospital in memory of his mother. He raised $25 million to set up a hospital in Lahore in 1994, and set up a second hospital in Peshawar in 2015. He remains a prominent philanthropist, having expanded the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital to also include a research centre, and founded Namal College in 2008.

He also served as the chancellor of the University of Bradford between 2005 and 2014, and was the recipient of an honorary fellowship by the Royal College of Physicians in 2012.

In April 1996, Khan founded the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf , and became the party's national leader. He contested for a seat in the National Assembly in October 2002 and served as an opposition member from Mianwali until 2007. He was again elected to the parliament in the 2013 elections, when his party emerged as the second largest in the country by popular vote. He served as the parliamentary leader of the party and led the third-largest bloc of parliamentarians in the National Assembly from 2013 to 2018. His party also led a coalition government in the north-western province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In the 2018 general elections, his party won the largest number of seats, bringing him to premiership on 18th August 2018.

Raquel Peña
Dominican Republic

Her Excellency Ms. Raquel Peña Rodríguez is the Vice-President of the Dominican Republic since the 16 of August 2020. The President of the country, His Excellency Mr. Luis Abinader, entrusted her with the coordination and oversight of the Healthcare Cabinet. This office is responsible for the Government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the country's vaccination plan.

Under her leadership, the Dominican Republic's National Vaccination Programme has been named as reference for the region. The coronavirus positivity rate is near 7 percent, the lethality rate is one of the lowest in the world and close to 63 percent of the target population has both doses of the vaccine. The correct handling of the Pandemic has allowed the country to reopen economically, and jobs and tourism indicators are better than pre-pandemic figures.

Ms. Peña began her professional career at an early age. She worked in her family's commercial and tobacco businesses, undertaking rotations in all operations of the companies, escalating up to holding the position of General Manager.

Without abandoning her business position, Ms. Peña joined her alma mater, Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra, as an undergraduate professor. She was a sought-out instructor for management and entrepreneurship classes. As University staff, she led the International Centre for Innovation in Technology and Administration (CITAM, in Spanish) and founded the business idea incubator PUCMM-Emprende. From 2015 to 2020 she served as Vice-chancellor for Administration and Finance.

Vice-President Peña holds a master's degree in Business Administration from the University of Quebec in Montreal. She has also pursued studies in the fields of education, business incubators, finance, entrepreneurship, and innovation. Throughout her career Ms. Peña has served on multiple Boards of Directors for non-profit organizations, chambers of commerce, free zones, community development, financial and academic institutions. She has been for many years an advocate for public policy, institutionalism, and a supporter of the democratic process long before she formally entered public service.

Ms. Peña has three beloved children, and two grandchildren.

Vera Songwe
Executive Secretary
United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)

Vera Songwe is the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). Upon her appointment, she became the first woman to lead the institution in its 60-year history. 

As Executive Secretary, Songwe’s reforms have focused on “ideas for a prosperous Africa”, and have brought to the fore critical issues of macroeconomic stability, development finance, private sector growth, poverty and inequality, the digital transformation, trade and competitiveness.

She was recently listed as one of Africa’s 50 most powerful women by Forbes and named as one of the ‘100 Most Influential Africans’ by Jeune Afrique in 2019. In 2017, New African Magazine listed her as one of the ‘100 Most Influential Africans’ and the FT named her one of the ’25 African to watch’ in 2015. Songwe is acknowledged for her long-standing track record of providing policy advice and her wealth of experience in delivering development results for Africa. She has written extensively on development and economic issues including on debt, infrastructure development, fiscal and governance issues. She is well published and contributes to the development debate across a broad spectrum of platforms including in the Financial Times.

Prior to ECA, she held a number of senior leadership roles with the International Finance Corporation and World Bank.

Winnie Byanyima
Executive Director

Winnie Byanyima is the Executive Director of UNAIDS and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations. A passionate and longstanding champion of social justice and gender equality, Ms. Byanyima leads the United Nations efforts to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030. Ms. Byanyima believes that health care is a human right and has been an early champion of a People’s Vaccine against the coronavirus that is available and free of charge to everyone, everywhere.

Before joining UNAIDS, Ms. Byanyima served as the Executive Director of Oxfam International, a confederation of 20 civil society organisations working in more than 90 countries worldwide, empowering people to create a future that is secure, just, and free from poverty.

Ms. Byanyima was elected for three terms and served eleven years in the Parliament of her country, Uganda. She led Uganda's first parliamentary women’s caucus, championing ground-breaking gender equality provisions in the county's 1995 post-conflict constitution.

Ms. Byanyima led the establishment of the African Union Commission’s Directorate of Gender and Development and also served as Director of Gender and Development at UNDP. She founded the Forum for Women in Democracy (FOWODE), an influential Ugandan NGO, and has been deeply involved in building global and African coalitions on social justice issues. A global leader on inequality, Ms. Byanyima has co-chaired the World Economic Forum and served on the World Bank’s Advisory Council on Gender and Development, ILO’s Global Commission on the Future of Work and the Global Commission on Adaptation.

Mauricio Claver-Carone
Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)

Mauricio Claver-Carone was elected President of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) on September 12, 2020. He also chairs the Board of Executive Directors of IDB Invest, the private-sector arm of the IDB Group, and the Donors Committee of IDB Lab, the Bank’s incubator for innovative development projects. Under his leadership, the Bank has developed a blueprint for post-pandemic recovery and prioritized efforts to avert another “lost decade” in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Since his inauguration on October 1, 2020, Mr. Claver-Carone has led an unprecedented response to the immediate impact of COVID-19, including $1 billion to support countries’ vaccine purchases and distribution plans, and a first-of-its-kind guarantee to help countries better compete to obtain the lifesaving shots.

He spearheaded the creation and implementation of Vision 2025 – Reinvest in the Americas: A Decade of Opportunity , a strategy to jumpstart recovery in the region and accelerate sustainable, inclusive growth. Approved by the Board of Governors in March 2021, it identifies five key areas for development that will guide the Bank’s efforts: integration and nearshoring; digitalization; support for small businesses; gender equality; and climate change. To better leverage private financing opportunities in these areas, Mr. Claver-Carone launched the largest private-sector coalition in the history of the IDB, which has grown to include more than 120 global corporate executives.

Internally, he has led an ambitious reform and modernization effort, including initiatives to improve operational efficiency, productivity and transparency to enable better results, impact and monitoring. He has prioritized a digital transformation of the Bank’s work and the development a new human capital strategy that are under way.

Prior to joining the IDB, Mr. Claver-Carone served as Deputy Assistant to the President of the United States and Senior Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the National Security Council. In this capacity, he was the U.S. President’s principal advisor on issues related to Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean. During this period, he conceptualized a whole-of-government economic growth initiative, América Crece (“Growth in the Americas”), which led to the creation of energy and infrastructure finance frameworks with nearly half of the nations in Latin America and the Caribbean. He also spearheaded the first White House-led Western Hemisphere Strategic Framework for U.S. inter-agency policy guidance and development since 2004.

Mr. Claver-Carone previously served as the United States Executive Director at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), where he represented the United States, as the largest shareholder on the IMF’s Executive Board. In this capacity, he worked with the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the Federal Reserve Board and the U.S. inter-agency to effectively present policies regarding foreign exchange practices, debt transparency and trade to the Executive Board and to IMF management. He also played an important role in lending arrangements for Argentina, Barbados and Ecuador, and revolving credit lines for Colombia and Mexico.

From 2017 to 2018, Mr. Claver-Carone served as Senior Advisor for International Affairs at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, where he was a principal policy advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury and

to the Under Secretary for International Affairs on geo-political, national security and economic issues. He was a key figure in developing the bipartisan Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development Act of 2018, which created the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation.

Prior to his government service, Mr. Claver-Carone was Executive Director of Cuba Democracy Advocates in Washington, D.C., a non-partisan organization dedicated to the promotion of human rights, free markets and the rule of law. He was also host of the bilingual foreign policy show “From Washington al Mundo” on Sirius-XM Radio and the co-founder of a data-software start-up company.

Mr. Claver-Carone began his career as an Attorney-Advisor for the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, where he provided counsel on banking laws, capital requirements and securitizations. He was also a Clinical Assistant Professor at The Catholic University of America’s School of Law, an Adjunct Professor at The George Washington University’s National Law Center and a Research Fellow at Georgetown University’s Law Center for the Americas.

Mr. Claver-Carone earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Rollins College, Juris Doctor from The Catholic University of America, and Master of Laws in International and Comparative Law from Georgetown University Law Center.

He is a native speaker of English and Spanish.

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