Mr. Ala’a Nemer, a national of Jordan is the Country Director of the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) since July 2023.
Prior to this role, he served at the Middle East Regional Office as the Regional Management and Oversight Senior Advisor. In his previous years of professional career, he served as Head of Support Service for the Amman Multi Country Office, Regional Finance Advisor for IPAS in the UNOPS Headquarters, Acting Chief of Finance and Budget Section for UNMAS and Finance Analyst for the Peace and Security Cluster in New York.
With more than 23 years of experience, 18 of which are with UNOPS, Mr. Ala’a has built extensive experience in developing and implementing strategies, building, and supporting successful partnerships, enabling quality project delivery while managing efficient operations and offering innovative solutions for operational challenges. Over the years of his career, he gained a great exposure to different geographical contexts within which UNOPS operates.
He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and a Master of Business Administration with concentration in Finance, he is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).
Mr. Ala'a is married and a proud parent of 9 years old twins: Karam and Qais, he enjoys Motorsports, hiking and cooking every now and then.
El-Khidir Daloum Mahmoud Ahmed, a Sudanese national, took up his position with WFP Somalia in September 2021. Prior to his appointment in Somalia, he served as Representative and Country Director for WFP Uganda from November 2016.
Before joining WFP, Mr Daloum was Director of Programmes for Africa and the Middle East at Safeworld from 2013 to 2015. He previously worked for Save the Children from 1991 to 2012 in a series of regional and national leadership roles spanning Latin America, South East Europe, South East Europe and Africa – including as Programme Manager and then Country Director for Somalia from 2001-2007. He has also worked at the Sudan Ministry of Finance and Planning, the Sudan Economy Research Group, and the UK Overseas Development Agency.
Daloum holds a Master’s degree in Social policy, Planning and Participation in Developing Countries from the London School of Economics & Political Science. In 2014, he was awarded the Member of the Order of the British Empire for services to the protection of children, particularly in Africa.
Mr Etienne Peterschmitt is the FAO Representative to Somalia. In his second experience working for FAO in Somalia he is also Head of Programme. He joined FAO in 2002. From technical to managerial positions, his vast experience with the UN specialized agency includes work in Haiti, Yemen, and several Eastern African countries (Burundi, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda). Previously, he worked for the private sector, NGOs and the ICRC in various locations worldwide. Mr Peterschmitt holds a MSc/Engineer degree in Tropical and Subtropical Agriculture by the Institute for Higher Education in Tropical Agri-Food Industry & Rural Development in Montpellier, France, and a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Development by the Institute of Economic and Social Development Studies at the Sorbonne University in Paris. Mr Peterschmitt is a French citizen.
Frank Turyatunga is the Director and Regional Representative of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Africa Office. Prior to this appointment, Frank was the Deputy Director of the same office where he supervised delivery of all the organization’s programmes and projects in Africa. He has an enormous wealth of environmental programme and policy implementation experience having served as Regional Coordinator for Africa, Early Warning and Assessment Sub Programme, and previously with GRID-Arendal, a UNEP Collaborating Centre in Norway where he coordinated its Africa Programme. Frank's first assignment at UNEP was as a Programme Officer with its Disaster Management Branch based in Nairobi, Kenya and later Geneva, Switzerland.
Before joining the United Nations, Frank worked as an environmental expert within the Government of Uganda during which he was part of a team mandated to set up the Ministry of Environment Projection and later the establishment of the National Environmental Management Authority. Following this, he worked at the local level as Chief of Party for a USAID funded project on Environmental Protection and Economic Development. During this period, he led a process for the resettlement of communities which had encroached on the Karuma Wildlife Reserve which is part of the Uganda Murchison falls National Park system.
Frank is a Ugandan Citizen who holds an MSc in Natural Resource Management from Edinburgh University, a BSc in Forestry from Makerere University and a Diploma in Geographical Information Systems and Remote Sensing from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
Mr Celestin joined IOM in 2006 and has held several senior positions in the Americas and sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to being appointed IOM Chief of Mission for Somalia, Mr.Frantz Celestin was Chief of Mission in IOM Nigeria from August 2016 to May 2022. Between January 2012 and August 2016, Mr. Celestin was the Head of the Labour Mobility and Human Development Division at IOM Somalia. During his tenure, IOM started one of its flagship projects in Somalia, the Migration for Development in Africa (MIDA) programme. MIDA has successfully run for over a decade, connecting Somali diaspora experts with local professionals and public institutions to strengthen the capacity of state institutions thanks to its innovative skill transfer approach. Mr.Celestin was also the Regional Program Manager of the Support to Free Movement of Persons and Migration in West Africa (FMM West Africa) since 2016.
Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia
George Conway of Canada is the Acting Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator (DRSG/RC/HC) for Somalia as of 26th May 2023.
Before returning to Somalia on ad interim basis, George served as Deputy Director at UNDP’s Crisis Bureau in New York. His vast UN career includes serving as Strategic Advisor to UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Africa (2012- 2013), Country Director a.i. in South Sudan for the first year following its declaration of independence, and prior to independence as UNDP’s Head of Programmes in Juba (2007-2012).
He started his UN career in Indonesia (2001-2007) on UNDP’s crisis prevention and recovery portfolio, and recovery efforts in Aceh following the Indian Ocean tsunami. Before joining UNDP, George worked in Ottawa as an analyst on peace and conflict issues, and with the Canadian national stand-by roster of civilian expertise for rapid-response deployment to peace-keeping operations.
He holds a Master’s degree in International Affairs (Development / Conflict) from Carleton University in Ottawa, an interdisciplinary Master’s degree from the University of Western Ontario, and a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from the University of Winnipeg.
Mr. Henry Danso is the ILO’s Employment Intensive Infrastructure Programme (EIIP) Specialist responsible for Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan and Djibouti. He is also the acting Head of the ILO Somalia Office. Mr. Danso has a Master's Degree in Civil Engineering and Finance. He has more than 30 years of experience in rural roads engineering, project management and contract management.
Mr. Ishaku Maitumbi is Officer in Charge/Head of Programmes for UN-HABITAT Somalia, which is the largest UN-HABITAT programme within the African region. He specialises in urbanization, displacement and local government systems strengthening, especially in post-conflict and developing environments. He is an experienced team leader and a committed capacity builder. Ishaku is a Nigerian/British national and a chartered urban planner (MRTPI) with over 20 years' professional experience in the sector, including more than 12 years with the United Nations. This varied experience has been gained in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and is backed up with an MSc in Urban Planning and International Development (Oxford Brookes, UK).
Kirsten Young, a national of the New Zealand, is the Chief of United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM)’s Human Rights and Protection Group and the Representative of the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) since 2017. In 2020, Kirsten was seconded to the World Food Programme to support its development of a Protection and Accountability Policy and Disability Rights Road Map.
Prior to Somalia, Kirsten served in Bentiu, Unity State as a Protection of Civilians Advisor for the UN mission in South Sudan as well as in Port-au-Prince in the UN’s Haitian mission. From 2010-2011, Kirsten headed the Nepal programme in Kathmandu for the International Centre for Transitional Justice, focusing on reparations and truth and justice mechanisms. She worked for OHCHR attached to the UN mission in Afghanistan from 2008-2010 specialising in economic and social and supported the establishment of the Ministry of Justice’s Human Rights Unit as well as Afghanistan’s National Independent Human Rights Commission.
From 2002 to 2007, Kirsten headed the advocacy programme for Landmine Survivors Network, focusing on the UN Disability Rights Convention and the Cluster Munitions Convention negotiations. In 2000-2002, Kirsten was a legal advisor at the Resident Claims Tribunal in Zurich and in the 1990s worked as a corporate lawyer in Chicago, Illinois.
She has a Doctorate in International Law and a Masters in International Law both from the George Washington University in Washington DC. During this time, she worked as a legal associate for Arnold and Porter, focusing on international law issues, including advocacy for the inclusion of victim assistance in the Mine Ban Treaty. She has a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Otago, New Zealand. She is a member of the New York and New Zealand Bars.
Country Manager, Somalia, Eastern, and Southern Africa
Kristina Svensson joined the Bank in 2004, after working as a consultant with the then World Bank Institute (WBI), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), as well as with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). She has since held various positions, including Senior Operations Officer and Senior Mining Specialist in the Energy and Extractive Global Practice. From 2016 to 2018, she was Resident Representative for Guinea Bissau. Her most recent assignment being Special Assistant to the Regional Vice-President for the Africa Region. She has a Master’s Degree in Human Rights from Columbia School of International and Public Affairs.
Mr. Magatte Guisse, has been working with United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) for the last 20 years. Prior to his current appointment as UNHCR Representative to Somalia, he served as UNHCR Head of Operations at Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya. He has also held other senior positions including Deputy Regional Representative, Assistant Representative, Head of Office and Security Advisory posts throughout West and Central Africa as well as Western Asia.
Before joining UNHCR, Mr. Guisse worked in military and peacekeeping operations with the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM), United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and the Senegalese Army. In his 40 year-long humanitarian and military career, Mr. Guisse’s has served in other countries including Chad, Benin, Guinea, Central African Republic and Afghanistan. Mr. Guisse is a graduate of the Officers’ Academy of Senegal and has completed advanced military training in the United States of America and Morocco. He is a Senegalese national and speaks three languages including his mother tongue Wolof, English and French.
Dr Sk Md Mamunur Rahman Malik joined the WHO country office in Somalia as Head of Mission and WHO Representative in March 2019. Dr Malik is a medical epidemiologist by training and has a special interest in building health systems for crisis management, including prevention and control of emerging infectious diseases outbreaks. He has over 15 years of experience on infectious disease surveillance and response to outbreaks and other public health crisis and has worked in Darfur in Sudan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Syria, South Sudan and Afghanistan in different capacities. He has special interest in health system capacity-building. Dr Malik has a Bachelor’s degree in Medicine and Surgery (M.B.B.S.) from the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh, Postgraduate Diploma in Health Economics and a Master’s Degree in Health Economics from the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. He is a national of Bangladesh.
Mkhululi Ncube, (PhD)
Head of Office
Mkhululi Ncube is the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) Country Programme Manager/Head of Office for Somalia. He oversees all UNCDF activities in all the Federal Member States.
A firm believer in the power of fiscal decentralisation, Mkhululi has spent the past decade driving innovative ways of getting finance to subnational governments to accelerate positive change in the well-being of communities. Prior to joining UNCDF, Mkhululi was the Head of Local Government at the Financial and Fiscal Commission (FFC) in South Africa. FFC is a statutory body that advises the South African government and parliament on the division of revenue and other intergovernmental fiscal relations matters. Mkhululi also spent several years teaching at various universities in Africa. He has published several articles on public finance.
Mkhululi, a Zimbabwean national, earned a PhD in Economics from Gothenburg University in Sweden, and MSc and BSc Economics degrees from the University of Zimbabwe.
Mr. Hubert Gijzen
Professor, Hubert Gijzen, a national of The Netherlands is the UNESCO Regional Director for Eastern Africa in Nairobi, and also serves as UNESCO Representative to Kenya, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Madagascar, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia and Uganda since July 2021.
Mr. Gijzen holds a PhD in Biotechnology and has an established career of over 40 years in both academics and international cooperation for sustainable development. Throughout his career, he has lived and worked in various countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Europe, in a range of senior functions as Full Professor and Chair in Universities, as a Diplomat, Team Leader, and Regional Representative. Besides his current work for UNESCO, he holds academic positions as full Professor of Environmental Biotechnology at IHE Delft Institute for Water Education (since 1995) and as Visiting Professor in other institutions.
Mr. Gijzen joined the UN in 2006 as the Director of the UNESCO Regional Science Bureau for Asia and the Pacific based in Jakarta, Indonesia. In 2015, he was appointed as the Regional Director of the UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa in Harare, Zimbabwe.
Justin Smith is Chief of the Mine Action Programme in Somalia. Mr. Smith has been working as Chief of Mine Action Programme in Libya and with UNMAS Programme in UNSOS/Somalia as the Head of Policy & Analysis supporting the Somalia government and the AU peacekeeping mission (ATMIS) to mitigate the threat of IEDs and manage weapons and ammunition.
Before that, Mr. Smith worked at the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD). He also served for 23 years in the US military as a Navy Special Operations Officer and Master EOD Technician in posts throughout Europe, the Middle East, Asia-Pacific and Africa in roles ranging from security cooperation, intelligence and counter-terrorism. He holds MBA degrees from UCLA and the National University of Singapore and a MA in Security Studies from the US Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.
Mr. Lionel Laurens
Mr. Lauren, a national of France is the Resident Representative of UNDP in Somalia since June 2023. Before, assuming this role, he was the UNDP Resident Representative in Zambia since 2019 and served as the UNDP Country Director in Guinea from 2015 to 2019.
Between 2014 to 2015, he was the Head of Programmes at UNDP Sierra Leone and supported reprogramming UNDP interventions to respond to the Ebola virus outbreak. In the years 2008 till 2014, he was UNDP Iraq Inclusive Growth and Area Based Development Cluster Team Leader and managed a portfolio of projects focusing on local governance, service delivery, economic recovery, and poverty reduction.
Mr. Laurens worked in Afghanistan from 2005 to 2008 as UNDP Manager of the National Area Based Development Programme of the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, engaging with Afghan communities to rebuild rural infrastructures, deliver basic services and promote economic development.
From 2002 to 2005, Mr. Laurens contributed to launch the World Bank supported Community Driven Development Poverty Reduction Fund in Laos as Senior Technical Advisor to empower villages in poor districts to plan, manage and implement their own public investments in a decentralized and transparent manner. From 1997 till 2002, he supported he Laotian Government, ILO, and UNDP in developing adapted participatory and integrated planning approaches and methodologies in remote mountainous areas.
Mr. Laurens holds Master’s Degree in Engineering and Management from the French Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts et Métiers, and MSc in Sustainability and Responsibility at Ashridge Business School, UK.
Mr. Neil Walsh
Mr. Neil Walsh is the Regional Representative for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Eastern Africa since December 2021. He serves as the Head of Mission for 13 countries in the East Africa and Western Indian Ocean Region, including Somalia. The UNODC Regional Representative is tasked with delivering UNODC Strategic Vision for Africa which includes response to crime, terrorism, security, and health threats.
Mr. Walsh joined the UN in 2016 and led the UNODC's global Cybercrime, Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Financing of Terrorism Department in Vienna. Prior to joining the UN, he served for over 15 years within the UK National Crime Agency countering international serious organised crime and terrorism including long-term postings to Europol headquarters in The Hague and the British High Commission in Malta. Mr. Walsh holds a B.Sc. (Hons) in Psychology and Criminology and an M.Sc. in Criminal Investigation. He comes from Belfast, Northern Ireland, and is married with four children.
Ms. Aisa Kirabo Kacyira
Ms. Kacyira brings to this position more than 30 years of experience in a multifaceted career in diplomacy and community and political engagement, as well as in leadership in development and humanitarian assistance, at local, national and international levels. Since 2020, Ms. Kacyira has served as the resident High Commissioner to the Government of Ghana and non-resident representative to Benin, Togo, Sierra Leone, Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia.
Prior to that, Ms. Kacyira served as Governor of the Eastern Province (2011), Rwanda’s largest province, and as Executive Mayor of Kigali (2006-2011). Between 2003 and 2006, she served as a Member of Parliament and actively participated in Parliament’s legislative and oversight functions, in addition to community mobilization.
In addition to her political and diplomatic roles, Ms. Kacyira has held several positions in development and humanitarian assistance, notably as Deputy Executive Director with the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) from 2011 to 2018, and also in programme and project management with the Ministry of Agriculture in Rwanda, as well as various non-governmental organizations, including Oxfam and Care International.
Ms. Kacyira holds a Master of Veterinarian Science in Animal Production and Economics from James Cook University in Australia, and a Bachelor of Veterinarian Medicine from Makerere University in Uganda.
Ms. Belinda Holdsworth, a national of the United Kingdom is Head of Office of OCHA Somalia, ad interim. Her most recent OCHA role has been as Head of Office in Chad, 2019 – 2021, and she is returning from a brief period of Special Leave to this assignment in Somalia.
She first joined OCHA in mid-2000 and was based for six years in the Nairobi Regional Office, covering the Great Lakes Region and Horn of Africa, as well as undertaking multiple technical and emergency surge assignments. Subsequently at OCHA HQs in Geneva and New York, she worked on the Protection Capacity Standby Project, humanitarian reform, headed the Humanitarian Leadership Unit, and Chaired the Secretariat for the IASC.
Prior to joining OCHA, Belinda had been working in the humanitarian field since 1993. She first worked as a Commissioning Editor for the Macmillan Press Ltd on, inter alia, academic texts on international relations, peacebuilding and security studies. Leaving theory for practice, she joined OXFAM in Former Yugoslavia, and then UNHCR as a field/protection officer in Yugoslavia, for the Chechnya operation, and to work with Burundi, Rwandan and Congolese refugees in Tanzania. In 1999-2000, she was seconded by the European Commission to the Facilitation Team for the Burundi Peace Negotiations.
She holds an Honours degree in English Literature and Language from the University of Durham, UK, and a Masters in International Relations from Bristol, UK.
Ms. Lucy Ndungu
Regional Manager for UN Volunteer East and Southern Africa.
Ms. Lucy Ndungu, a national of Kenya is the Regional Manager East and Southern Africa region. She joined the UNV from the Resident Coordinator’s Office as the Peace and Development Adviser, UN Uganda. In that role, Lucy provided the UN Resident Coordinator, Country Team and Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and UNDP NY with strategic analytical and advisory support on politics, peace and sustainable development in Uganda and the region; implementation of the UN Reforms and in localization of the Sustainable Development Goals in Uganda; and with the Government of Uganda to develop a standing infrastructure for peace.
Prior to serving with the UN, Lucy worked in civil society in Kenya as the National Coordinator for Partnership for Peace and Security, a national civil society network in Kenya providing intellectual and strategic leadership to the organization. The organization is one of the founding members of Uwiano Platform for Peace which became a global reference point for infrastructures for peace. She also co-founded an NGO on women empowerment.
Ms. Ndungu holds a master’s degree in International Studies from the University of Nairobi and a bachelor’s degree in Management from Maseno University, and executive certificate in leadership and management from the Northwestern University, Chicago, USA. She is a Fellow of Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, Cape Town, South Africa; Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI), Norway. She also holds various post-graduate certifications in governance, peacebuilding, management, and leadership.
Mr. Niyi Ojuolape is the UNFPA Representative for Somalia. He has previously served as UNFPA Representative for Ghana. Prior to this role, he served as UNFPA’s Chief of Staff a.i. at the Headquarters in New York and before that, as the Special Assistant to the Executive Director. In that position, Mr. Ojuolape doubled as the Head of Secretariat of the Executive Committee. In the course of his rich career in the international development sphere, he also worked in the Democratic Republic of Congo, as the Deputy Representative a.i. of the organization, liaising with political influencers within government, colleagues and Development Partners for the initiation of the landmark advocacy on Demographic Dividend. Before joining UNFPA in 2011, Mr. Ojuolape served the Nigerian Government in different capacities, as Special Assistant to the Minister of Health and as the Chief Programme Officer for Donor Coordination in the Nigerian National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA). In that Agency, he worked between 2002 and 2009 on several bilateral and multilateral projects alike including those funded by DFID, the World Bank and the Global Fund. Mr. Ojuolape holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Banking and Finance, a Masters in Finance as well as Masters from Bocconi University in the Management of International Organizations.
Mr. Omar Ebrima Njie, a national of The Gambia, is the Country Director for IFAD’s portfolio in Somalia and is currently based at the IFAD Multi-Country Office in Cairo, Egypt. Prior to this appointment, Mr. Njie has been responsible for the management of the IFAD programmes in Lebanon and Syria since April 2021 in the IFAD Near East, North Africa and Europe Division (NEN). Prior to this assignment, Mr Njie worked for 10 years as the Senior Audit Officer in the Office of Audit and Oversight at IFAD Headquarters in Rome.
He holds a Master of Business Administration degree in finance and entrepreneurship, in addition to several professional certifications in finance, accounting and audit, public procurement and information technology. He has a long-standing experience working in rural development, government and private sector organizations in various countries in the region, the Asia and the Pacific Islands, USA, and across several countries in Africa. Mr Njie has worked for more than 24 years in contributing to enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of development projects, coordinating and leading teams in a number of areas of development work, as well as in private sector activities, such as banking, energy services and aviation.
Wafaa Saeed Abdelatef has devoted more than 20 years to public service with the UN. She served with OCHA, UNICEF and WFP in large scale complex settings with programme management and coordination experience spanning both humanitarian and development action. Her country level experience comprises Sudan, Somalia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Syria, and Ethiopia. She also served in leadership roles with OCHA in New York and Geneva.Prior to joining the UN System in 2000, she worked with the private sector, academia and non-government organizations in Sudan focusing on planning and delivering services to displaced people and on environmental conservation.Wafaa obtained a Master of Architecture from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium, Master of Physical Planning from the University of Khartoum, and a Bachelor Degree in Architecture from the University of Khartoum.
Mr. Scarcia began his career with UNIDO in 2011. He has a great deal of expertise in developing and operating technical cooperation programmes in fragile and post-crisis environments such as Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria. In Iraq, he focused on developing small and medium enterprises, promoting investment, and enhancing livelihood opportunities in sustainable entrepreneurship activities for women and youth. Mr. Scarcia also worked in the technology start-up sector in San Francisco, California. He holds an MBA from the University of San Francisco, California, and a BA and MA in political science and international relations from LUISS University in Rome, Italy.