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Nigeria’s Amina Mohammed becomes the second female African Deputy UN Secretary-General

Nigeria’s former Minister for Environment, Amina Mohammed, has been officially sworn in as Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations at the headquarters in New York.

Amina Mohammed taking oath
Amina Mohammed taking oath

She took her oath of office from the Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, who appointed her as his deputy in December last year. She, however, returned to wrap up her work as Minister in Nigeria and hand over her portfolio.

Amina became only the second African woman to be appointed to the role of Deputy Secretary-General of the UN. The first being Tanzania’s Asha-Rose Migiro who served in the role between 2007 – 2012 under Ban Ki-moon.


She was present at the United Nations headquarters when her boss took his oath of office. She attended her last government meeting in Abuja where the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, thanked her for her work.

Before her appointment, what role was she playing?

The Nigeria and UK trained development expert, was acclaimed in Nigeria as one of President Buhari’s most vibrant and best-performing appointees – since she took office in 2015.

She served as UN Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser to immediate past 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.

What does her role as DSG entail?

As Deputy Secretary-General of the UN, Amina is likely to play a more backstage role at the global political bloc located in New York. Her appointment according to the incoming Secretary-General was in line with restructuring the organization to reflect gender parity.

Deputy SGs are hardly seen as compared to the substantive SGs but the new regime could play up a more outward role for Amina who would certainly be key in the UN’s development agenda going forward.

Who does she replace at the UN

In the post of Deputy UN SG, Amina Mohammed replaces Ban Ki-moon’s deputy, Swedish Jan Eliasson, who bowed out along with Ki-moon. She works directly with the world’s topmost diplomat, Antonio Guterrez, as they work to achieve global development goals and to help tackle climate change.

What Guterres said about his new Deputy in December

“I am pleased to announce that I will be appointing Ms Amina J. Mohammed of Nigeria as my Deputy Secretary-General and Ms Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti of Brazil as my Chef De Cabinet.

“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,” – Antonio Guterres.


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