Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka is the first African woman to be elected by the General Assembly of the United Nations as the Assistant General Secretary. In 2009, she began her second four-year term as the executive director of UN-HABITAT, a decision for which the General Assembly considered her success in establishing strategic alliances with financial institutions to track investments made in homes and urban infrastructures, including a $570 million agreement with the African Development Bank and another for $500 million with the Asian Development Bank.
The daughter of coffee and bean farmers from Mubela, Tanzania, she completed her education at the University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala, Sweden. She worked as a member of the Africa Commission created by Prime Minister Tony Blair, with the result of obtaining the cancellation of the multilateral debt of various African nations by the G8 Summit in 2005. She is currently a member of the World Health Organisation and of the Commission´s Consulting Council for the Legal Empowerment of the Poor.
During her extensive background and before joining the UN, Tibaijuka worked as a professor of Economics at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. She has written several books and research documents about rural development and agriculture, farming systems, food policies and agricultural commercialisation. Mentioning that she forms part of various associations is simply an example of her social commitment. Specifically, in 1994 she founded the National Women´s Council of Tanzania, BAWATA, an organisation that fights for the social and financial rights of women. In 1996, she created an educational centre that promotes quality education for girls in Tanzania and Africa, established as a secondary education model for young girls who are poor, most of them orphans. Additionally, she is a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry, and of the International Centre of Tropical Agriculture.