Djibouti enters race for next AU Commission chairperson

Djibouti Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister, Mahamoud Ali Youssouf. [VOA]

As the deadline for applications approaches, the chances of Azimio chief Raila Odinga clinching the African Union Commission (AUC) chairperson post have dropped with the entry of a third candidate.

On Tuesday, Djibouti nominated its Foreign Affairs Minister, Mahmoud Ali Youssouf, to compete for the AUC chairmanship, introducing a new element to the race.

"The Republic of Djibouti officially announces the candidacy of its Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mahamoud Ali Youssouf, for the post of President of the African Union Commission,” read an official statement.

Youssouf joins Kenya's former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, and Somalia’s former Deputy Prime Minister Fawzia Yusuf in the race to become the next AU Commission chairperson.

His candidacy comes weeks after the AU Executive Council ratified a decision for Eastern Africa to produce the next chairperson.

Interested candidates must submit their applications by May of this year and should hold a Master’s degree in various academic fields including Law, International Relations, Economics, Diplomacy, Management, Business Administration, Political Science, Social Sciences, or a closely related field from a recognized institution, among other qualifications.

According to the communiqué from Djibouti's Office of the President, Youssouf is a qualified candidate with over two decades of experience as Minister of Foreign Affairs of his country.

"With over two decades of experience as Foreign Affairs Minister of his country, which is recognized as a haven of peace and distinguished by its constant pursuit of conflict resolution through dialogue and negotiation, Mr. Mahmoud Ali Youssouf possesses all the attributes to meet the expectations and interests of the continent. He is fluent in French, English, and Arabic.”

Successful candidates will replace the current AUC chair, Moussa Faki, whose term ended earlier this year.

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