Appointments underscore Africa's growing importance within UN

Two high level appointments by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon have strengthened the UN diplomatic presence in Africa and underscored the continent's increasing importance in global affairs
Ms. Sahle-Work Zewde, veteran Ethiopian diplomat and the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Ms. Sahle-Work Zewde, veteran Ethiopian diplomat, was named head of the UN office in Nairobi by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Photograph: UN Photo / Ryan Brown

On Friday 11 March Mr. Ban announced that the leadership of the UN Office in Nairobi had been upgraded to that of Under-Secretary-General (USG) and named Ms. Sahle-Work Zewde, a veteran Ethiopian diplomat, to the position.  The move underscored the growing importance of Nairobi as a regional hub for the UN’s diverse and far-flung operations in East and Central Africa. The post comes with a new title, Director-General, and greater authority within the UN hierarchy. As a USG Ms. Zewde reports directly to Secretary-General Ban and joins a select group of about 50 senior UN policymakers and administrators.

Prior to her appointment Ms. Zewde headed the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic, joining the UN after a distinguished career in the Ethiopian diplomatic corps.  At various times she has served as Ethiopian ambassador to the African Union and the UN Economic Commission for Africa, ambassador to France, and as Director-General of African Affairs in the Ethiopian foreign ministry.

Peacebuilding effort strengthened

Abou Moussa of ChadAbou Moussa of Chad, Special Representative and head of the newly created UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA).
Photograph: UN Photo / Evan Schneider

Mr. Ban has also appointed Mr. Abou Moussa of Chad as his Special Representative and head of the newly created UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) with a mandate to promote peace and stability in the conflict-affected region.  UNOCA is one of only three regional centres in the UN system, along with the UN Office for West Africa and the UN Office for Preventive Diplomacy in Central Asia. UNOCA is headquartered in Libreville, Gabon and will work with governments and regional organizations in an area that includes Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Sao Tome and Principe.

Mr. Moussa brings a wealth of political and diplomatic experience to his new position. Before assuming leadership of UNOCA he served as Mr. Ban’s principal Deputy Special Representative in Côte D’Ivoire. He also served in a number of senior positions in the UN Mission in Liberia and with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in West, Central and Southern Africa.

—Africa Renewal online