Somalia’s new President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed on Thursday appointed a political newcomer Hassan Ali Khaire as the prime minister.
The appointment was made shortly before the president departed to Saudi Arabia for his first foreign trip since his inauguration.
The new prime minister is a Somali-born Norwegian national and a former executive of British energy explorer Soma Oil & Gas.
“I have chosen him because he deserves it in terms of knowledge and experience. He is an honorable man who will want to work with my vision. At the center of our work, first there will be the protection of public property,
secondly, we will work in line with justice, and thirdly aid to the poorest,” said President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo.
Khaire selection is a nod to balance clan interest in the Horn of Africa nation and a member of the Hawiye clan.
He served as the Horn of Africa regional chief for the Norwegian Refugee Council aid group from 2011-2014.
“I know that it is a position of responsibility, and I know that the country is going through a difficult period and that the Somali people need a government. I will try to form a government once the parliament has approved my appointment, which was proposed by the President,” said Hassan Ali Kheyre.
Somalia has a diaspora of more than 2 million people scattered by a quarter-century of conflict and drought at home. Many of the presidential candidates held dual citizenship.
The newly elected president has vowed to make security a priority in a country where Islamist extremist group, al-shabab, still carries out deadly attacks in the capital, Mogadishu and some other regions.