In 2012 New African Magazine voted him as one of the 100 Most Influential Africans. He is widely recognized for his unending efforts to address Africa’s challenges and opportunities. Born: 5 July 1959 Place: Kychom Samu Chiefdom, Kambia District. Parents: The late Paramount Chief Bai Shebora Yumkella II (one of the founding members of the SLPP) and Mrs. Haja Binta Yumkella, daughter of Paramount Chief Kandeh Kolleh the 1st of Tambamka Chiefdom, Bombali District. Spouse: Mrs. Philomena Yumkella (née Nicholas) from Bo and Sembehun, Moyamba District, Southern Sierra Leone. Mrs. Philomena Yumkella is the daughter of a successful Business man in Bo, Late Albert Cyril Nicholas aka Pa Nicho and Late Mrs. Nancy Nicholas aka Mama Nicho former Mayor of Bo City Council.
Kandeh Yumkella the Ultimate Unifier
Commonly known as "Son of the nation", Dr. Kandeh Yumkella natural appeal across regional boundaries, ethnicity and different political strong holds didn't happen by accident. His crisscross heritage and cultural background appeal including his innate skills to build a coherent unit, makes him the Ultimate Unifier that is capable of bridging political divide and ethnic differences.
North - West Connection Link
- Dr. Kandeh Yumkella proud Susu by tribe hails from Kambia and son of Late Chief Bai Shebora Yumkella (one of the key players and founder of SLPP).
- His mother Madam Binta Yumkella is a proud Fullah and a descendant of a ruling house in Tambaka Chiefdom, Bombali District
- He is a Grand child of Late Chief Kandeh Kolleh I and his maternal grandmother a proud Limba by tribe.
- Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, spent some of his best memorable life between school vacations and work in the Western Area where he was also able establish lifelong network of friends across all ethnicity and professional backgrounds.
South - East Connection Link
- Dr. Kandeh Yumkella grew up in Bo town, attended his Secondary Education at Christ The King College (CKC), Bo and later his University education at Njala University, Mokonde.
- Dr. Kandeh Yumkella got married in Bo town to his wife Mrs. Philomena Nicholas who is also a descendant from Sembehun, Moyamba District.
- Mrs. Philomena Yumkella is the daughter of a successful Business man in Bo, Mr. Albert Nicholas (Pa Nicho) and Nancy Nicholas (Mama Nicho) former Mayor of Bo City Council.
This regional and ethnic Criss Cross makes Dr. Kandeh Yumkella even more appealing to the rest of the nation
In December 2005, Dr. Kandeh K. Yumkella was appointed Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), having previously worked in various high-level policy positions in UNIDO, including as Special Adviser to two previous Directors-General and as Director of the Africa and Least Developed Countries Regional Bureau, as well as Representative and Director of the first UNIDO Regional Office in Nigeria. He was re-appointed as Director-General of UNIDO for a second four-year term in December 2009. Prior to working for UNIDO, he was the Minister for Trade, Industry and State Enterprises of the Republic of Sierra Leone from 1994-1995. From 1987-1996, he held various academic positions at Michigan State University and the University of Illinois.
In recognition of his leadership and his passion for energy and environment-related causes, Yumkella was appointed as Chair of UN-Energy in 2008 by the UN Secretary-General. UN Energy brings together all the UN organizations dealing with energy issues. As its chairman, Yumkella brought a renewed and vital focus to global energy issues and he helped to coordinate the UN response to energy issues. In September 2011, Yumkella was appointed by the UN Secretary-General as Co-Chair of the High-level Group on Sustainable Energy for All. This followed a decision by the UN General Assembly to designate 2012 as the International Year for Sustainable Energy for All. As Co- Chair of this High-level Group, Yumkella helps to guide the initiative aimed at highlighting the need for universal access to energy, as well as increased energy efficiency and enhanced deployment of renewable sources of energy.
More recently, Yumkella was named by the Secretary-General to serve as his Special Representative and Chief Executive for Sustainable Energy for All. He was also a Member of the Rio+20 Principals Group, which played a crucial role in the preparations for the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. Since 2008, he has also been an active member of the United Nations Development Group, which helps to set and coordinate the global development priorities of the United Nations. Under his leadership as Director- General, UNIDO has maintained a role as the largest provider of trade-related technical assistance to developing countries in the UN system.