Our Team in Sierra Leone

Seraphine Wakana

Seraphine Wakana

Resident Coordinator
Ms. Seraphine Wakana (a national of Burundi) served as the UN Resident Coordinator for the Republic of the Gambia from October 2018 to December 2023 before transitioning to Sierra Leone in the same position, and she was the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Guinea (2014-2018). She was assigned as Senior Economist at the Regional Office of the African Development Bank in the Democratic Republic of Congo (2010-2014), and she acted as the Bank's Resident Representative (2011-2012). From 2005 to 2010, Seraphine worked as an international consultant with UNDP, the African Development Bank, and the World Bank. She served at the same time as the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Korea in Burundi.

Ms Wakana was Minister of Development Planning and Reconstruction (2002-2005) and Chief of Staff with the same Ministry of the Government of Burundi (1997-1999). From 2000 to 2002, she worked as a professional researcher on poverty reduction, public-private sector interface, and gender with the Burundi Economic Development Institute in Bujumbura. She held a series of executive positions with the Institute of Statistics and Economic and Social Studies of Burundi, including as Deputy Director (1996-1997), Head of the Statistical Processing Division (1990-1996) and Head of the Household Statistics Section (1987-1989).

She holds a Master's degree in Development Economics from Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts, USA and a Bachelor's degree in Economics and Administration from the University of Burundi, Bujumbura. She speaks French and English.
Abdu Muwonge

Abdu Muwonge

World Bank
Country Manager
Abdu Muwonge is the Country Manager for Sierra Leone (AFWVP). Abdu, a Ugandan national, joined the Bank in 2006 as a Young Professional. He has served as Senior Urban Specialist at the World Bank based in Kenya, where he led and coordinated the urban and devolution work program. He has previously served as Acting Program Leader for Sustainable Development covering Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia and Uganda. Prior to joining the Africa region, he served in the South Asia Region where he led and supported programs on local government and water and sanitation in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. He has worked in the Eastern and Central Asia region in the Human Development Economics Unit contributing to the Ukraine, Serbia and Moldova work program.

Prior to joining the Bank, Abdu worked as a Research Fellow at the Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC) in Uganda and has previously taught undergraduate economics and statistics at Makerere University and Mbarara University of Science and Technology in Uganda.

Abdu holds a PhD and M.A in Economics (Public Finance) both from Georgia State University (USA), M.A in Economics from University of Dar Es Salaam (Tanzania) and a BSC in Economics from Makerere University (Uganda). He brings more than 20 years of working experience in development. Abdu’s top three priorities will be to: (i) Lead and oversee the day-to-day dialogue with the Government of Sierra Leone and key partners and stakeholders; (ii) Manage the Country Office, provide leadership and mentoring to the staff, as well as ensuring a stimulating work environment; and (iii) Continue efforts to improve the development impact of the Bank’s portfolio in the country.

Ana Sofia Ferreira Goinhas

Country Manager
Sofia has more than 15 years of experience in international development in both humanitarian and development contexts, many of which she spent leading both operations and programmes teams across West, Central and Southern Africa and Latin America. She held country and regional leadership roles for international NGOs, including Concern Worldwide, Save The Children, Helen Keller International, Oxfam, and International Medical Corps. She brings with her vast experiences in implementing programmes on public health, sexual and reproductive health, child survival, health systems strengthening, WASH, protection, girls’ education, nutrition, economic empowerment, peacebuilding and conflict resolution.

Sofia also brings her in-depth experience of Sierra Leone, where she has worked in different management roles for more than five years. She has significant experience in mainstreaming gender equality, addressing gender-based violence and empowering women and girls. She has a PhD in human rights.

Christos Christodoulides

Acting Head of Office
Christos Christodoulides, Acting Head of Office, IOM, brings along over ten years of migration management experience in areas such as “mainstreaming” migration into sectoral planning, including substantive work on the establishment of national migration policies, programme management related to facilitated migration, migration and development, counter-trafficking, diaspora engagement, assisted voluntary return, migration health, and assistance for vulnerable migrants.

He worked within several IOM Missions across Africa (including Morocco and Mauritania, where he also acted as officer in charge of the Mission, two short-term assignments in Somalia and Niger, and lately Djibouti). Before joining IOM, Christos worked for the Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus in Paris, the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations in New York, and UNODC in Indonesia.

A national of Cyprus and Germany, Christos studied International Politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London) and holds a Master’s degree from Sciences Po Paris in International Affairs-International Security.
Dmitri Sanga

Dimitri Sanga

Director of the UNESCO Multisectoral Regional Office for West Africa (Sahel) in Dakar (Senegal).
On 28 August 2018, the Director-General of UNESCO appointed Mr. Dimitri Sanga (Canada), Director of the UNESCO Multisectoral Regional Office for West Africa (Sahel) in Dakar (Senegal) and UNESCO Representative to Senegal, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau and Niger.

He officially took up his duties on 1 September 2018, and OIC of UNESCO Abuja Multisectoral Office on 1st January 2021.

He holds a PhD and a Master's degree in Economics with a specialisation in econometrics from Laval University (Canada), as well as a Bachelor's degree in Wood Science and Engineering from the same institution. Mr Sanga began his professional career in 1999 in the teaching of micro- and macro-economic sciences at the University of Ottawa (Canada), in parallel with a career as a Statistical Economist (1999-2004) with the Government of Canada.

In 2005, he joined the United Nations as Head of the Statistics Team at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa - UNECA (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia). In 2006, he was appointed Head of Statistical Development and Data Management at UNECA. In 2010, he was appointed Director of the Statistics Division of the Economic Commission for Africa.

Before joining his post in Senegal, he was, since September 2013, the Director and Representative of the Sub-regional Office for West Africa of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, based in Niamey (Niger).

Fredrick Ampiah

Resident Representative.
Fredrick Ampiah has over 28 years of development and management experience in varied contexts. Prior to his appointment as Resident Representative, he was the UNDP Regional Coordinator (SALW) for the West and Central Africa Sub-Regional Hub, based in Dakar and Regional Project manager of the Organized Crime West Africa Response to Trafficking (OCWART) and the Cross-Border Management of Small Arms projects in the ECOWAS region. He also served as Acting Chief of the Country Oversight Support Team (COST) with the Regional Bureau for Africa in New York. He was the Regional Coordinator of the EU-funded ECOWAS project across seven ECOWAS States (July 2015 – 2020) and has served in different senior leadership roles in UNDP including Resident Representative in UNDP Nigeria; UNDP Deputy Country Director (Programme) in Nigeria, Assistant Country Director - Partnership Resource Mobilization in UNDP in Somalia, Partnerships Adviser with UNDP Ghana and Ebola Crisis Manager in Liberia (Oct 2013-Feb 2015), in addition to his role as the Partnerships and Compliance Adviser in UNDP Liberia.
Mr. Ampiah is a Harvard Kennedy School of Government Executive Education in Emerging Leadership graduate. He holds a master’s degree (MSc) in International Business Economics and a Postgraduate degree in International Management from Aalborg University, Denmark. He graduated from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and History.

Innocent Nuwagira

Acting WHO Representative
Dr Innocent Nuwagira is a Medical Doctor with background in Public Health, and Demography and Population Health, with more than 20 years of experience in Global Public Health. He has worked at both national and international levels in the areas of strategic and operational planning, Health Systems Strengthening, HIV/AIDS, Maternal and Child Health, and Monitoring and Evaluation as well as coordination of multi-agency and global initiatives. Prior to his appointment to head the Sierra Leone Country Office, he was part of the WHO Multi-Country Assignment Team in Accra, Ghana where he served as expert in reproductive, maternal, child and adolescent health and healthy ageing covering Ghana, The Gambia, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. He is from Uganda.
UNAIDS Country Representative, Mr. Isaac Offei Ahemesah

Isaac Ahemesah

Country Representative
Before his current role, Mr Ahemesah ( Ghana) has worked since 1997 with UNAIDS in Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia and Malawi in different positions. He also worked with the Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO), the Netherland Development Organization (SNV).
Mr Ahemesah is a public health practitioner. He holds a Master of Public Health in Health Systems Management from Tulane University, USA and a Master’s in Health Development from Royal Tropical Institute, Netherlands.
UNIDO Country Representative, Ms. Mariatu  Swaray

Mariatu Abionor Swaray

Country Representative
Ms Mariatu SWARAY was appointed UNIDO Sierra Leone Country Representative in March 2017. Previously, she worked with UNDP Sierra Leone as the Energy and Environment Programme Specialist and led the development of key initiatives in climate change environment and development. She has also worked with the Government of Sierra Leone and a private firm. She holds a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Sierra Leone

Nadia Rasheed

Country Representative
Nadia Rasheed arrived in Sierra Leone on 16 May 2022 as UNFPA Country Representative. Before joining UNFPA, she was the UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in India. Ms. Rasheed has a wealth of management experience, including on health, gender and development issues. Prior to her last appointment in India, she was the Team Leader for the UNDP Regional Health and Development Team for Asia and the Pacific from 2014 to 2018. She also served as UNDP Deputy Country Director ad-interim in Sri Lanka in 2018. From 2009 to 2014, she was the global Practice Manager for the HIV, Health and Development Practice at UNDP Headquarters in New York. She was also, from 2005 to 2009, Global Policy Specialist on HIV in the Bureau for Development Policy at UNDP. She has represented UNDP in partnerships with other UN organisations, managed interagency programmes on gender, and provided advisory support to UN Country Teams, UNDP Country Offices and national partners. She previously worked with the UNDP Human Development Report Office and with UNDP and other organisations on capacity development and gender equality issues.

Ms. Rasheed holds an undergraduate degree in Economics from the London School of Economics and a master’s degree in International Affairs from Columbia University

Rudolf Schwenk

Rudolf Schwenk is the UNICEF Representative for Sierra Leone. He started his mission in August 2019. After working with NGOs in Germany, he joined the United Nations in 1995 and worked with UNRWA in Jordan and with UNICEF in Niger, India, Denmark, Bhutan and Malawi. He has worked in various programme functions as well as in operations and has achieved sustainable results for children in Field Office, Country Office and Headquarters locations. Prior to his arrival in Sierra Leone in May 2023, he was the UNICEF Representative in Malawi. Mr. Schwenk holds a Master’s in Modern Middle East Political Science and History from the Free University of Berlin.

Saeed A Bancie

Country Representative
Saeed A Bancie, a national of Ghana, started his career in 1998 as Monitoring and Information Management Coordinator for the Village Aid Project in Ghana, and in 2001, he became Country Representative. From 2004 to 2008, he worked for International Non-profit Organization “Heifer International” in Arkansas, United States, as Programme Officer of the Africa Area Programme and as Senior Specialist/Programme Officer of the Agriculture Enterprise Development and HIV/AIDS Programmes. Between 2010 and 2013, he served as an Adjunct Faculty Instructor of the International Studies Programme for the University of Arkansas. From 2010 to 2011, he was Programme Manager of the East Africa Dairy Development Programme at Heifer International and, in 2011, he subsequently became East Africa Regional Director at the same institution.

Mr Bancie joined FAO in 2014 as Investment Officer for FAO Somalia, based in Nairobi, Kenya, and from 2015 he served as Agrobusiness Officer. In 2018, he was appointed FAO Representative in Eritrea.

Mr Bancie holds a Master of Science in International Development and Social Change from Clark University in Worcester in the United States, a Master of Science in Development Administration and Planning from the University of London in the United Kingdom, and a Bachelor of Science in Development Planning from the University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana.
Ms. Vanessa Phala

Vanessa Phala

Ms Vanessa Phala, a South African national is the Country Director of the ILO Country Office for Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Prior to this appointment, she worked as a Senior Specialist (Employers’ Activities) at the ILO Office for the Caribbean, in Port of Spain. Before that, she undertook several leading roles in the public and private sectors from 2004 to 2016. She was the Executive Director in charge of Social and Transformation Policy at Business Unity South Africa (BUSA), a non-profit company representing organised business in South Africa. She also served as the Director of the Ethics and Integrity Management Unit and Special Anti-corruption Unit of the South African Department of Public Service and Administration. Her professional career began in 2004, as an Assistant Director in the Policy Research and Analysis Unit of the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation.
Ms Phala graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand in 2004 where she obtained a Master’s Degree in International Relations and from the University of the West Indies in 2021 where she obtained an Executive Master of Business Administration.

Yvonne Forsen

Representative and Country Director
Yvonne Forsen brings to this position extensive experience in managing humanitarian and development programmes in a wide variety of contexts and on a range of issues at country, regional and headquarters levels. Prior to taking up the position of Deputy Country Director of WFP in Sierra Leone in December 2020, she served as Chief, Vulnerability, Analysis and Mapping Division at WFP HQ in Rome from 2016-2020. Her country-level programme leadership experience includes Somalia, Burundi, Kenya, Sudan, DPRK, and Angola.

Yvonne is a national of Sweden and holds a BSc in Nutrition and Dietetics from Gothenburg University, Sweden and a post-graduate qualification in Project Management from Cornell University, USA.