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Dr Nomvuyo Nontsikelelo Nokwe, the first African woman Secretary-General of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), has achieved significant success in driving enhanced regional economic cooperation and sustainable development among the IORA member states, businesses and academia under the Chair leadership of India, Indonesia, Australia, South Africa and the UAE. Her primary objective has been to reposition the Association and to deliver on sustainable long-term values and goals in line with the Jakarta Concord.

Major successes at IORA include the improved efficiency, transparency, and accountability of the Secretariat, the enhanced control of expenditure and the implementation of risk management processes and procedures. She also established new Working Groups in the areas of the Blue Economy, Maritime Safety and Security, Women’s Economic Empowerment; as well as Tourism and Disaster Risk Management.


Her previous experience includes a Republic of South Africa Head of Mission role in the Republic of Mauritius & Seychelles, where she promoted the national interests and values of South Africa through economic diplomacy and played an integral role in the delivery of key IORA projects and initiatives.


As the Consul General in Northern Italy, Dr Nokwe showcased South Africa effectively and was instrumental in attracting crucial investors and skilled professionals to support both small and medium enterprises in South Africa.


Dr Nokwe’s earlier experience includes a Senior Medical Officer Anaesthetist role with the Military Hospital in Accra Ghana, a Medical Officer position at the ANC Clinic in Lusaka, Zambia and a Health Manager role with the South African Liberation Community (ANC, ZAPU, and SWAPO) in Lusaka.


As a demonstration of a genuine commitment to serve the community, Dr Nokwe volunteered with a broad range of organisations. She was a Founder Member of Black Women Professionals in Health, an Advisor to Retrenched Textile And Garment Workers In The Township and served as a member of the South African Communication Forum.


Other volunteer work includes membership of the Regional Executive of Ghana United Nations Associations. She has worked as a volunteer Medical Doctor, served as the liaison for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Non Governmental Organisations such as the Canadian International Development Aid (CIDA) in Ghana and was also a Founder Member of the ANC Health Committee in Lusaka.


Dr Nokwe earned a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) degree through Martin Luther University in Wittenburg, East Germany and has undertaken extensive medical, business and political professional development training.


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