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Appointment of a new African Union Special Representative for Somalia

Storyline:National News

New AU representative

The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU), Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, today appointed Dr. Maman S. Sidikou, a Nigerien national, as the new African Union (AU) Special Representative for Somalia (SRCC) and Head of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

This appointment comes at a time when continued progress has been witnessed in the consolidation of peace and the promotion of reconciliation in Somalia, despite the challenges that continue to confront the country, as demonstrated by the recent upsurge of terrorist attacks, particularly in Mogadishu.

Dr Sidikou brings with him a wealth of experience in the political, diplomatic, communication and humanitarian fields. Prior to his present appointment, Dr Sidikou has been Niger’s Ambassador to the USA, in Washington D.C. since October 2011. He has served in Niger’s Government in various senior capacities from 1976, rising to post of Director of the National Television within the Ministry of Information, Chief of Staff of the Prime Minister, and Advisor to the President, with ministerial rank. From 1997 to 1999, he served as Niger’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and African Integration. In 1999, he served as Chief of Staff of the President of the Republic.

Dr Sidikou has also worked for a number of international organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), including USAID, the World Bank, UNICEF and Save the Children.

Dr Sidikou holds a Ph.D from Florida State University, USA, and a Degree in Journalism from the University of Dakar.

The new Special Envoy will assume duty in early August 2014. He will work closely with the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS), IGAD and the countries of the region, as well as with the relevant international partners, including the United Nations, the European Union (EU), the League of Arab States and concerned bilateral partners, to help consolidate the gains made in the peace and reconciliation process in Somalia, and facilitate the successful holding of the elections planned for 2016. The Chairperson appeals to the FGS and all AMISOM partners to extend the necessary cooperation and support to the new Special Representative.

Dr Sidikou replaces Amb Mahamat Saleh Annadif, who served as Special Representative and Head of AMISOM, from November 2012 to June 2014. Under his leadership, AMISOM made tremendous strides, in support of the efforts of the FGS and other stakeholders. The Chairperson of the Commission seizes this opportunity to pay tribute to Amb Annadif for his commitment and the results achieved during his tenure. He  extends his best wishes to him in all his endeavors.