African Union Commission appoints first woman Secretary General
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 10 April 2015: The Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has appointed Ms. Djeneba Diarra, a Malian national, as the Secretary General of the AU Commission. She is the first woman to occupy the position. She replaces Amb Jean Mfasoni who has retired.
Prior to her appointment, Ms. Djenna Diarra was Deputy Legal Counsel (2004-2014) and served as acting Legal Counsel from July 2012 to December 2013. She was also acting Executive Secretary of the African Union Advisory Board on the Fight against Corruption (March 2014-March 2015) based at the Secretariat in Arusha, Tanzania; the unique continental Organization mandated by the AU to deal with Corruption and other related matters in Africa.
Following are the details of Djenna Diarra:
She joined the Organization of African Unity (OAU), Office of the Legal Counsel in 1996 as a Legal Officer, where she gathered enormous experience in the drafting of Legal instruments governing the African Union (AU). She was instrumental in the drafting of the Constitutive Act of the African Union, which ushered in the birth of the AU in Durban, South Africa in July 2002.
In July 2004, she was promoted to Deputy Legal Counsel and in July 2012, she was appointed Acting Legal Counsel with the principal responsibility of offering legal advise to the AU. During her acting tenure (July 2012 to December 2013), she successfully conducted several elections, including the July 2012 elections of the Members of the Commission in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which appointed the first woman Chairperson of the AU Commission in the 52 years of existence of the AU and its predecessor the OAU.
She was the first to occupy the position of the Secretary General of the Pan African Parliament, Headquartered in Midrand, South Africa, in an acting capacity, following its launch in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in March 2004. She was also the first to occupy, in an acting capacity, the position of Registrar of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Headquartered in Arusha, Tanzania, following its operationalization in Banjul, The Gambia in July 2006.
Ms. Diarra has been previously appointed by the AU Commission Chairperson as acting Executive Secretary of the African Union Advisory Board on the Fight against Corruption (AUABC) (March 2014-March 2015), based at the Secretariat in Arusha, Tanzania. Her special assignment at the Secretariat was to ensure that the purpose for which the AUABC was established carried out its mandate effectively and efficiently.
Ms Diarra’ s experience and previous positions both in the OAU and AU has favoured her with insight and knowledge of the AU and its development goals as well as its rules, procedures and practises.
Ms. Diarra is the daughter of the late Amb. Mamadou Diarra who served the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in various capacities, including OAU Representative to the United Nations, from January 1973 until his retirement in December 1990. She is also the sister of Mr. Demba Diarra who joined the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) in 1990 to date. Ms. Diarra obtained her Baccalaureate at Lycee Franco-Ethiopian, “Guebre Mariam” of Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia; and a law degree from the University of Bordeaux III, Talence, in France.
African Union Commission