Vera Songwe


Vera Songwe serves as The World Bank’s Country Director for Senegal, Cape Verde, Gambia, Mauritania and Guinea-Bissau. She is also a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institute with the Global Economy and Development and Africa Growth Initiative. Dr. Songwe holds a Ph.D. in Mathematical Economics from the Center for Operations Research and Econometrics from the Catholic University of Louvain (CORE-UCL) in Belgium. She was previously a visiting scholar at the University of Southern California and at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. In 1997, she joined the World Bank Group as an economist on the Middle East and North Africa. She is also a member of the Mo Ibrahim Governance Advisory Board.
Vera Songwe

My Definition Of Success | Success means achieving everything you strive for and then more. Yes my definition has changed, from considering success as my personal achievements to my actions that have a positive influence on others.

I Am Driven By | The pursuit of excellence, collective excellence. Today this means moving the dial in Africa. Working in Africa for Africa and being part of this moment of hope and change. The desire to want to be part of those who contribute in earnest to making Africa a better place. A place we can be and should be proud of.

A Key Talent | Hard work, persistence and the courage of my convictions. Nothing comes easy and you have to work hard at everything. Success is never ready made or given. With persistence you have the strength to keep fighting for what you believe in, what you think is correct. Hard work prepares you for the challenges, persistence allows you to keep going even when it all seems futile and the courage of your convictions gives you a reason to keep working hard and persisting. It is the result you are looking to achieve, but you must work hard for it. Nothing worth celebrating is ever handed to you freely.

The Principles I Live By | You must do onto others what you expect them to do to you. This is a very simple rule but it is one of the most difficult I find. One does not always succeed but the important thing is to keep trying to live up to it and at the end of every day to ask if you met the goal and how you can do better the next day. This process of self-assessment reminds us we are not perfect but also helps you to keep on trying to improve. It is a positive and constructive affirmation of who I am and want to be.

How I Use My Mind | I am always and constantly asking myself why I do what I do? What are the results I am looking to achieve. The discipline of having a clear result is sobering but also helps you to focus. For every action I take I have an expected result I hope to achieve. Having daily, monthly, yearly targets and working against these targets has been a very good disciplining tool for me.  But it only becomes binding if you are honest with yourself.

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