Why Amina Mohamed is fit for AU Commission chair

Kenya's Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed. (Photo: David Njaaga/Standard)

The African Union (AU) Commission is set to elect a new chairperson in January 2017. As a country, Kenya has a nominee, Ambassador (Dr) Amina Chawahir Mohamed, the Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade. For those who are familiar with African Union Agenda 2063, Ambassador (Dr) Amina Mohamed has the right set of credentials to get this job done.

Announcing Kenya’s nomination of Ambassador Mohamed, President Uhuru Kenyatta had this to say, ‘Today, in recognition of our obligation and commitment to support the African agenda, I am proud to offer Dr Amina Mohamed for the position of Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), a position currently held by Her Excellency Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma of South Africa. Dr Amina Mohamed brings extraordinary experience and distinguished service at the national and international levels.’

The most significant recent achievements include being the first woman to lead the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of the Republic of Kenya.

She was elected President of UNCTAD 14 for the next four years, was the Chairperson of the historic WTO 10th Ministerial Conference, which is the top decision-making body of the WTO, and Co-chairperson of the Ministerial segment of the first ever TICAD Summit held on our continent.

Ambassador Mohamed is the first woman to have chaired the three most important bodies of the World Trade Organization; the Trade Policy Body, the Dispute Settlement Body and the Governing General Council of the WTO.

She was President of the Conference on Disarmament, and the first African and the first female Chairperson of the Council of the International Organisation for Migration.

In addition, she served as a member of the Executive Bodies and Committees of the World Health Organisation, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, World Intellectual Property Organisation and the United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS. Cumulatively, these assignments have earned Kenya and Ambassador Mohamed international acclaim and respect.

In less than four years, Ambassador Mohamed has been able to reboot Kenya’s global image, from a position bedevilled by threats of sanctions, to a preferred destination for global trade and investment conferences, coupled with a massive infusion of foreign direct investments (FDI).

The strong investor confidence in Kenya is a function of the assertive and proactive economic diplomacy that Ambassador Mohamed has championed at the helm of the Foreign Affairs docket.

She has been able to re-write the international narrative about Kenya, amplifying its role as a vibrant democracy and an unparalleled regional hub for conferencing, trade, investment and innovation.

One of Ambassador Mohamed’s priorities for Africa, as evidenced in her visionary statement released recently at the COMESA Conference in Madagascar, is youth unemployment and the potential of agriculture as offering both economic and food security lifeline for Africa.

Ambassador Mohamed’s vision for Africa offers the panacea for unlocking Africa’s vast potential, underscoring the importance of an AU leadership that will emphasise the need for stronger intra- Africa trade and investment, through strong regional economic blocs as the key to broader continental integration.

Ambassador Mohamed has already been endorsed by more than 25 African countries and rising, including the 19 member Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). Closer to home, Rwanda has been particularly vocal in its support. She is the best candidate for the job, and she is very much Rwanda’s candidate.