Amina J. Mohammed: the Fulani herder’s daughter & UN Deputy Secretary


Amina Mohammed was born in Liverpool, UK, in 1961. She is the eldest of five daughters and now a mother of six children. Her father, a Nigerian herdsman, and a vet met her mother, a nurse while studying in Britain.

Amina J. Mohammed is the current Deputy Secretary-General to the United Nations. Previous to her mandate, she was the Nigerian Minister of Environment under President Buhari and was charged with steering the country’s efforts to protect the natural environment and conserve resources for sustainable development. Prior to this role, she was the Special Adviser to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Post-2015 Development Planning, a post she was appointed to in 2012. She was instrumental in bringing about the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the Sustainable Development Goals. 

Amina J Muhammed with the Nigerian President Muhammed Buhari

Ms. Mohammed brings to the position more than 30 years of experience as a development practitioner in the public and private sectors, as well as civil society. She was the former CEO/Founder of the Center for Development Policy Solutions, a think tank to address the policy and knowledge gaps within the Government, Parliament, and private sector in development and civil society for robust advocacy materials. Ms. Mohammed is also an Adjunct Professor of the Master’s Programme for Development Practice at Columbia University, New York. Prior to that, Ms. Mohammed served as the Senior Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on the Millennium Development Goals after serving three Presidents over a period of six years. In 2005 she was charged with the coordination of the debt relief funds ($1 billion per annum) towards the achievement of Millennium Development Goals in Nigeria. Her mandate included designing a Virtual Poverty Fund with innovative approaches to poverty reduction, budget coordination, and monitoring, as well as providing advice on pertinent issues regarding poverty, public sector reform and sustainable development. From 2002-2005, Ms. Mohammed served as coordinator of the Task Force on Gender and Education for the United Nations Millennium Project. Prior to this, she served as Founder and Executive Director of Afri-Projects Consortium, a multidisciplinary firm of Engineers and Quantity Surveyors (1991-2001), and worked with the architectural engineering firm of Archcon Nigeria in association with Norman and Dawbarn UK (1981-1991). 

Ms. Mohammed currently serves on numerous international advisory panels and boards, including the Global Development Program of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Secretary General’s Global Sustainability Panel, the Hewlett Foundation on Education, African Women’s Millennium Initiative, the ActionAid International “Right to Education Project”, the Millennium Promise Initiative, and the Institute of Scientific & Technical Information of China. She is a Governor of the International Development Research Centre in Canada, and currently chairs the Advisory Board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Global Monitoring Report on Education.  Ms. Mohammed received the National Honours Award of the Order of the Federal Republic in 2006 and was inducted in the Nigerian Women’s Hall of Fame in 2007. 

Sources: The Guardian, World Bank and the UN

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