Nigerian born Nnene Iwuji-Eme appointed first ever British black female high commissioner

NIGERIAN-born Nnene Iwuji-Eme has become the first British black female career diplomat to be appointed high commissioner after the UK Foreign Office named her as the new envoy to Mozambique.


Ms Iwuji-Eme who takes office in July, will succeed Ms Joanna Kuenssberg, the outgoing high commissioner. Over the course of her career, Ms Iwuji-Eme has spent 16 years in the Foreign Office, with roles ranging from economic adviser for Africa to chief press officer to the Africa minister.


She has also worked as an economist in Defra and for Royal Dutch Shell. Her most recent posting was to Brazil as first secretary prosperity and acting prosperity consul.


Ms Iwuji-Eme said: “It is an honour and a privilege to be appointed high commissioner to Mozambique. I hope my appointment as the first British black female career diplomat to this position will inspire young talent, regardless of race or background, to pursue their ambitions in the Foreign Office.


"I look forward to forging even stronger connections between Britain and Mozambique two close members of the Commonwealth family.”


Foreign secretary Boris Johnson, added: “As the country heads in a new and exciting direction, it’s important that we have the brightest and the best batting for Britain. Our great diversity is an invaluable asset on the global stage and it’s only right that at all levels the Foreign and Commonwealth Office  reflects this.


“As a continent with some of the world’s fastest growing economies, Africa is an important partner post Brexit. Nnene has the vision, experience and energy to take our relationship with Mozambique to the next level and I congratulate her on her appointment.”


Britain's Commonwealth and Foreign Office has made huge strides in improving diversity if late. However, just under a third of missions are headed up by women, representing an increase of 200% since 2008 and half the Foreign Office board is female.


Black and Minority Ethnic personnel currently make up 13.4% of Foreign Office staff, as its board and networks improve diversity with tailored training and mentoring programmes, as well as a schools outreach programme. Already, the Foreign Office has been awarded a gold banding for race in the Business in the Community Diversity Benchmark, the UK’s most comprehensive benchmark for workplace diversity.