Somalia’s new president has picked an oil executive and former aid agency director to be the country’s next prime minister.
Hassan Ali Khaire will face the task of strengthening Somalia’s shaky central government and stabilizing a country struggling with severe drought and Islamist militancy.
President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo announced Khaire’s nomination Thursday via Twitter.
Khaire spent the past two-and-a-half years as Africa director for the British energy company Soma Oil & Gas. From 2011 to 2014, he was the Horn of Africa director for the Norwegian Refugee Council.
In 2013 Soma was contracted by the Somali government to conduct oil and gas exploration off the coast of Somalia.
Last year, Britain’s Serious Fraud Office investigated bribery allegations against the company in response to accusations by the U.N. Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea. The office said there was “insufficient” evidence for the accusations and the company was cleared.
Khaire is said to be in his 40s and is new to Somali politics. But those who know him praised his communication skills and said he has good relations with Somali regional leaders.
“He already worked with Somali regions as a humanitarian worker and as Africa Director of the oil company,” says a Somali diplomat.
Khaire will have to be approved by the parliament before he can form a cabinet.