Senegal has appointed Oulimata Sarr as Minister of Economy, Planning and Cooperation.
Ms Sarr, a finance expert with more than 25 years in finance and development, becomes the first woman to hold this post.
Prior to her new role, she served as the UN Women Regional Director for West and Central Africa, coordinating its activities in 24 countries in Africa.
A believer in equal opportunities, she has championed sustainable development through the inclusivity of girls and women through a holistic approach of rights, representation and resources.
“I am not interested in microfinance for women, I am interested in macro finance and I want them to own more of the world’s wealth. I want women to have a seat and be leaders at the table. And when it is time to leave, please give it to another woman; without a doubt the rest of the table will already be filled by men,” she told the Woman World Foundation in a past interview.
Ms Sarr was born in Senegal’s capital city Dakar. At 22, she graduated from Canada’s HEC Montreal business school in 1992 with a Bachelor’s degree in finance.
A year later, she began her career as a young professional in audit with the firm Ernst and Young in Senegal.
After three years she moved to the airline Interair South Africa where she worked as Chief Financial officer until 2005. Between 2000 and 2002, she pursued her Master of Business Administration (MBA) in finance at the University of Bedfordshire, England.
She spent a decade working in South Africa, Burundi and Kenya while at International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member institution of the World Bank until December 2015.
In January 2016, she joined UN Women as the Regional Advisor on Women’s Economic Empowerment for West and Central Africa. Two years in, she became Deputy Regional Director for West and Central Africa and took over as Regional Director in December 2019.
Ms Sarr has contributed to initiatives targeting women empowerment such as the Cartier Women's Initiative, Africa Leadership Network, Vital Voices and Africa2.0.