FG says Amina Mohammed’s UN appointment good for Africa

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The Federal Government has expressed optimism that the appointment of Nigeria’s Ms Amina Mohammed as UN Deputy Secretary-General by Secretary-General-designate Antonio Guterres would facilitate the development of the African continent.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, told the Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York that Guterres is “development-friendly” as a UN refugee chief.

Onyeama also said that Mohammed’s appointment was an excellent choice as she was one of the “prime movers of the Sustainable Development Goals”.

“Yes, we are very optimistic that he (incoming Secretary-General Antonio Guterres) is going to give a very high level of priority to issues of development, which is the greatest concern to Africa.

“He, of course, had previously served as the High Commissioner for Refugees and in that capacity, he did a lot of excellent work and was very supportive in helping African countries address the refugee crisis on the continent.

“And so we are so very much looking forward to working with him and believe that he is very development-friendly in his approach.

“And his appointment of a Nigerian as the Deputy Secretary-General, and a Nigerian who was one of the prime movers of the Sustainable Development Goals, is a clear proof that he is determined to not only engage with Africa and other developing countries, on development issues.

“But he is also keen that Africans themselves should be also driving that process and that the UN will give them all the necessary support for that.

“So we are very optimistic about the positive impact he would have in the area of promoting our development issues in Africa.”

NAN recalls that Guterres had on Dec. 15, announced Mohammed, Nigeria’s incumbent Minister of Environment, as his Deputy Secretary-General.

Guterres, while announcing Mohammed alongside two other women appointees, described them as “highly competent”.

“I am happy to count on the efforts of these three highly competent women, whom I have chosen for their strong backgrounds in global affairs, development, diplomacy, human rights and humanitarian action.

“These appointments are the foundations of my team, which I will continue to build, respecting my pledges on gender parity and geographical diversity”.

NAN recalls that Mohammed served as UN Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser to outgoing Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Post-2015 Development Planning.

She was instrumental in bringing about the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the Sustainable Development Goals.

Before joining the UN, Mohammed worked for three successive administrations in Nigeria, serving as Special Adviser on the Millennium Development Goals.

She provided advice on issues including poverty, public sector reform and sustainable development, and coordinating poverty reduction interventions.

NAN reports that Guterres succeeds outgoing secretary-general Ban, who bows out on Dec. 31, 2016, after a decade of two terms.

The new secretary-general will assume office on Jan. 1, 2017, for the next five years. (NAN)

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