Former German Development Minister Gerd Müller Named the New Head of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization

Gerd Müller was named as the next head of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) at a conference in Vienna on Tuesday. 

Next Monday, the 66-year-old German diplomat will take over as director-general from China’s Li Yong. 

Since the mid-1990s, UNIDO has been in trouble, with several financially strong members withdrawing, notably the United States, Canada, Australia, France, and the United Kingdom. 

Müller expressed hope in his acceptance speech that some former member nations might return during his four-year term. 

The Vienna-based organization employs some 2,200 employees to help poorer countries boost their manufacturing sectors. 

UNIDO completed development projects of $178 million (€157 million) last year. 

Müller, who is from the German state of Swabia in the southwest, stated that the agency’s main goals are to expand renewable energy, enhance transportation infrastructure, and digitize. 

He stated he wants to push for investments in sustainable agriculture and fair agriculture as the son of a farmer. 

His candidature for UNIDO was backed by the European Union. He was up against candidates from Ethiopia and Bolivia in the election. 

Müller, a member of the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU) of Bavaria, was appointed Germany’s development minister in late 2013. 

He was previously a member of the Bundestag and the European Parliament, as well as a parliamentary state secretary. He indicated last year that he would not fight for a seat in Germany’s federal election in 2021. 

Müller will begin his new job at UNIDO in January, following the formation of Germany’s new government and the appointment of a new cabinet.