Ulla Tørnæs is Danish Minister for Development Cooperation and World Bank Group (WBG) Governor, and Denmark’s longest serving Development Minister (2005-10) and re-appointed as part of a reshuffle in 2016 from her position as Minister for Science, Technology, Information and Higher Education.
Tørnæs is a member of center-right Venstre, the same party as PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen and was party spokesperson on labor and market issues (2010-2013). During this same period, she also served on the Board of Plan International Denmark.
Between 2001-2005, she was Minister for Education, and previously was the Liberal Party’s political spokesperson (1998-2001). She served as MEP 2014-2016. Tørnæs was first elected to parliament in 1994. She has a degree in Business Administration in English and French from Copenhagen Business School.
Tørnæs joined the WBG’s Advisory Council on Gender and Development in 2016 and was a founding member of We-Fi and remains an active supporter. At the 2018 Spring Meetingss she spoke about disruptive technology and the gender divide. At the end of 2018 she expressed her unease over human rights abuses and “unacceptable homophobic comments” made by a government official in Tanzania and withheld $10m of aid funding to the country. She recently visited South Africa, Kenya and Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh and has spoken out about the crisis in Yemen.