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UN SG appoints Guinean Keita as head of Organization Stabilization mission in DRC

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Moses Kuwema

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres announced Thursday, the appointment of Bintou Keita of Guinea as his Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).

And Secretary-General Guterres has appointed Elena Panova of Bulgaria as the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Egypt, with the host Government’s approval.
Meanwhile, Salvator Niyonzima of Burundi has been appointed the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Benin and Sara Beysolow Nyanti of Liberia as the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Nepal, both of whom will have to wait for their host Government’s approvals.

Keita will succeed Leila Zerrougui of Algeria, who will complete her assignment next month, and to whom the Secretary-General is deeply grateful for her important contribution and service to MONUSCO.

Ms. Keita brings to the position more than 30 years of experience in peace, security, development, humanitarian and human rights, working in conflict and post-conflict environments.  

Since January 2019 she has been the Assistant Secretary-General for Africa in the Departments of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Peace Operations, having served as Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations from November 2017 to December 2018.

Between 2015 and 2017, Ms. Keita was Deputy Joint Special Representative for the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID).  

She previously led United Nations efforts to fight Ebola as Ebola Crisis Manager for Sierra Leone between February and November 2015.  From 2007 to 2010, she was Deputy Executive Representative of the Secretary-General for the United Nations Integrated Office in Burundi (BINUB).

Ms. Keita joined the Organization in 1989 and served in several senior management and leadership functions with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Chad, Congo, Madagascar, Cape Verde, Rwanda, Burundi and at Headquarters.

She holds a master’s degree in social economy from the University of Paris II and a post-graduate degree in business administration and management from the University of Paris IX, both in France.

And the newly appointed UN resident resident coordinator in Egypt, Ms. Panova has more than 22 years of development and management experience, including all aspects of programme management, cross-areas collaboration and resource mobilization, with specific experience in government and private sector financing.

At the United Nations, she most recently served as Resident Coordinator in Turkmenistan, having held several leadership positions at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), including Senior Programme Coordinator overseeing the coordination of all regional UNDP and inter-agency programmes at the UNDP Regional Hub in Istanbul.

She also served as UNDP Deputy Country Director in Ukraine, supported the establishment of a private sector Global Compact network, managed a flagship employment creation and microfinancing project at UNDP Bulgaria, and worked as a Private Sector Engagement Specialist at UNDP Headquarters in New York.

Before joining the United Nations in 1999, Ms. Panova was the Executive Director of a local non-governmental organization, delivering business support services to micro-, small and women entrepreneurs in Bulgaria.

She holds a master’s degree in international law and foreign trade from the University for National and World Economy and a master’s degree in microelectronics from the Technical Chemical University, both in Bulgaria.

Mr. Niyonzima meanwhile, has more than 28 years of experience in the development, health and humanitarian fields, acquired while holding senior positions with the United Nations and externally in West, Central and Southern Africa, as well as the Indian Ocean region.

At the United Nations, he most recently served as Resident Coordinator in Lesotho after completing assignments with the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) as Country Director in Burkina Faso, Gabon, Madagascar — also covering Comoros, Mauritius and Seychelles — and Namibia.  He also worked as Technical Advisor at UNAIDS Headquarters in Geneva.

Before joining the United Nations, Mr. Niyonzima was Chief of Cabinet in his country’s Ministry of Finance and Junior Advisor at the presidency.  He also lectured at the University of Burundi, having begun his career as a French language teacher and deputy principal of a high school in Bujumbura, the capital.

He holds a master’s degree in public administration from California State University, Fresno, in the United States, a post-graduate diploma from Stellenbosch University in South Africa and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Burundi.

Mr. Niyonzima speaks English, French and Kirundi, as well as basic Kiswahili.

The United Nations Resident Coordinator in Nepal, Liberian Ms. Nyanti brings more than 20 years of experience in development and humanitarian work to the position, which she has acquired from assignments around the world with the United Nations and externally.

Within the Organization, Ms. Nyanti most recently served as Representative of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Yemen, where she set up programmes that provided cash assistance to 9 million people, having held a similar position in the Gambia.

She also held leadership positions across the United Nations in Jordan, Namibia, Nepal and Nigeria, working in multiple sectors and agencies on key issues such as Ebola response coordination.

Before joining the United Nations, Ms. Nyanti was Director the National AIDS Control Programme in of country’s Ministry of Health.  She authored the first Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria funding for Liberia’s national AIDS response and led the development and subsequent legislation of the national AIDS policy, guidelines and law.

Ms. Nyanti holds a master’s degree in public administration and is a globally accredited Partnership Broker.

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