Sandra Uwera announced as global CEO of Fairtrade International

Previous roles include CEO of the COMESA Business Council

Fairtrade International, the global label for social justice and sustainability, has announced the appointment of Sandra Uwera as its global CEO.

Ms Uwera steps into the role following the departure of Dr Nyagoy Nyong’o, who served as interim global CEO until 31 March.

“I am delighted and honoured to lead Fairtrade as it builds on its leading role in confronting the greatest challenges of our time, from climate change and poverty to gender equality,” she said. 

“For many people around the world, Fairtrade means a fairer future for farmers, a more sustainable future for our planet, and a better future for consumers committed to making a difference. This is the Fairtrade vision I look forward to growing alongside the millions of Fairtraders who support our mission.”

Ms Uwera comes to Fairtrade with a wealth of experience in Eastern and Southern Africa, most recently serving as CEO of COMESA Business Council (CBC), the leading business member organisation in Africa and a private sector institution of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), which represents 34 business sectors across 21 countries.

As part of her work with CBC and COMESA, she has led projects and programmes on sustainable solutions for small and medium enterprises, advocacy, technical capacity-building, industry competitiveness and market access, digital financial inclusion, and programs focused on women and youth empowerment.

Ms Uwera is a Rwandan national. She grew up in Kenya and Rwanda, speaks French and is fluent in English. She holds an MSc in strategic planning, a BS in corporate communications, and has undertaken advanced professional training in international trade policy and law, digital inclusion, and leadership for business sustainability. She is an Eisenhower fellow and sits on various boards in Africa and internationally.

Lynette Thorstensen, chair of Fairtrade’s board, said: “We are thrilled to have Sandra at the helm of Fairtrade at such an important juncture in our organisation’s history.

“With her exceptional talent and vision, we expect her leadership to build on our ambitious Global Strategy, hone our strategic direction, and deepen our impact around the world. We are especially pleased to have hired a citizen from a vital Fairtrade farming region who will be based there, working from Fairtrade Africa’s offices in Nairobi, Kenya.”