Chair of the AU Commission
Political Leaders

On 30 January 2017, the former Prime Minister of Chad, Moussa Faki Mahamat was elected as the fifth chairperson of the African Union Commission, replacing his South African predecessor Nkoasazana Dlamini Zuma. In a tight race involving seven rounds of voting, the Central African candidate finally won the required two-thirds majority. He emerged the winner over Kenyan Foreign Minister, Amina Mohammed and is the second Central African to occupy this top position, following Jean Ping from Gabon (2008-12). Born in 1960 in Biltine, a town in eastern Chad, Moussa Faki Mahamat holds a bachelor’s degree in public law from the University of N'Djamena (1986) and a post-graduate diploma in public law from the Université Marien Ngouabi Brazzaville, Congo (1992). During his time in Congo-Brazzaville, he joined the political military group opposing the government of Hissène Habré, the Democratic Revolutionary Council headed by Acheikh Ibn-Oumar.  A close ally of President Idriss Déby, Moussa Faki Mahamat started his political career in the early 1990s. He served in the Ministry of Rural Development as the Head of Administrative and Financial services from 1992-94. Subsequently, he became the Minister for Planning and Cooperation and was appointed the Director-General of the National Sugar Company from 1996-99. Later, he took on the role of Director of the Presidential Cabinet from 1999-2002. After a year in a subsequent post as the Minister of Public Works and Transport, he served as Prime Minster from 2003-05. Since 2008, he has been Minister of Foreign Affairs. The Chadian diplomat is known in African political circles for his fight against Islamist militants in Mali, Nigeria and the Sahel. During his four-year mandate with the African Union Commission, he aims to place development and security at the top of the continental agenda, and to streamline the commission’s bureaucracy, in particular, by strengthening its implementation capacity. Of the 1 800 resolutions adopted by the AU Commission since 2002, less than 15% have been implemented. Advocating a strong leadership, Moussa Faki Mahamat intends to defend Africa’s place in the world during “turbulent times.”

Watch a three-minute statement of his key priorities