South African politician Phumzile Mlambo-Nguka will replace Chilean presidential candidate Michele Bachelet as head of U.N. Women, U.N. secretary-general Ban Ki-moon announced on Wednesday.
Mlambo-Nguka, former deputy president under Thabo Mbeki (2005-2008), is a known advocate for womens rights and pushed for the government’s anti-AIDS policies to expand treatment, testing and prevention programs at a time when South Africa was still struggling to admit it had a problem with the disease.
The 57-year-old “has proven to be a groundbreaker and a formidable champion for women and girls,” United Nations Foundation president and CEO Kathy Calvin said in a statement.
Mlambo-Ngcuka will replace former Chilean president Michel Bachelet, who resigned in March to seek the same office for the second time in her home country.
The appointment comes as a relief to U.N. gender rights entity, whose deputy executive director John Hendra told Devex in April that a replacement for Bachelet would be picked within three months. Hendra added that U.N. Women continues to grapple with underfunding within the world body’s system relative to other agencies.
Read more development aid news online, and subscribe to The Development Newswire to receive top international development headlines from the world’s leading donors, news sources and opinion leaders – emailed to you FREE every business day.