PROFILE: AMB. (DR) AMINA C. MOHAMED E.G.H., CAV
Ambassador Amina Mohamed is the Cabinet Secretary (Minister), Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of the Republic of Kenya. She is an excellent strategist and a visionary leader with a career spanning over thirty years in public and foreign service, and international diplomacy covering a broad spectrum of domestic and international assignments.
She has also served in various elected positions to key International Organisations. She is the serving Chair of the 10th World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference which is the topmost decision-making body of the World Trade Organisation, 2015 to 2017; the President of the 14th United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), 2016-2020 and the Co-chair of the Ministerial segment of the Sixth Tokyo International Conference of Africa’s Development (TICAD VI) Summit, 2016-2019.
Career and Service
Ambassador Amina Mohamed rose through the ranks in Kenya’s diplomatic service from legal advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Kenya’s Missions to Geneva and New York, to the highest level of Ambassador/Permanent Representative, Kenya Mission to the United Nations (UN) in Geneva from 2000 to 2006.
She served as Director, Europe and the Commonwealth and Director Diaspora from mid-2006 to 2007 and was Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs in 2008.
In July, 2011 she joined the United Nations as the United Nations Assistant Secretary General and Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) based in Nairobi.
In April, 2013, H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta appointed her as the Cabinet Secretary (Minister) for Foreign Affairs and International Trade of the Republic of Kenya.
A Distinguished African Diplomat
Ambassador Amina’s distinguished diplomatic career commenced in 1986. Since then, she has risen through the ranks to become Ambassador/Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission to the Republic of Kenya in Geneva from 2000 to 2006. As the Permanent Representative, she represented Kenya’s interests within the United Nations system, and the World Trade Organization (WTO) among other International Organizations.
Her strong interpersonal skills have individualised Amb. Amina as a skillful and effective negotiator. This has enabled her to distinctively drive negotiations in the multilateral fora and effectively articulate Kenya’s interests in the international bodies within which she has served. She has galvanised Africa around issues of common interest including the rule of law, trade and investment, peace and security, integration and migration.
An Expert in Public Sector and Institutional Reform
As Cabinet Secretary, Ambassador Amina Mohamed has been instrumental in restructuring, reforming and rationalizing Kenya’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Missions abroad. She chaired the team that drafted Kenya’s Foreign Trade Policy focusing on economic and commercial diplomacy as well as Kenya’s first Foreign and Diaspora Policies.
As Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs, 2008-2010, she supervised and contributed to the drafting and negotiation of the Draft Constitution of Kenya. She also guided the national referendum that led to the promulgation of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010. During this tenure, she implemented institutional reforms on elections, ethics and integrity, access to justice and the development of a national cohesion policy.
At the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Ambassador Amina spearheaded the implementation of UNEP’s Medium Term Strategy and Programmes as well as on-going reforms. She was actively engaged in the intergovernmental processes that discussed the implementation of the Rio+20 outcomes and supported efforts to enhance UNEP’s sustainable financing.
A Distinguished Legal Practitioner
Throughout her experience in the multilateral fora, she provided legal advice during Kenya’s tenure in the United Nations Security Council. She also led trade negotiations at the World Trade Organisation, particularly during the Doha Development Round.
She also offered legal advise during Kenya’s Constitution making process, particularly in the realm of international law, foreign policy and diplomacy. As a result of her contribution, Kenya’s Constitution not only centralises international law as an important component of national law but also introduced key international human rights norms as guidelines for constitutional order and interpretation.
In her capacity as the Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Amina has continued to provide strategic leadership on Kenya’s engagement with international institutions at the multilateral level including the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
Results-oriented Team Leader
Throughout her career, Ambassador Amina has demonstrated solid leadership and proven negotiation skills. She chaired three key World Trade Organisation bodies: the Dispute Settlement Body, the Trade Policy Review Body and the General Council during her tenure as Kenya’s Permanent Representative to Geneva. During this period, important decisions and recommendations were made and adopted. Under her leadership as the General Council Chair: the accession of Saudi Arabia was concluded; she guided the negotiations and preparations for the 2005 Hong Kong Ministerial Conference where substantial progress was made regarding the Doha Development Agenda; the Least Developed Countries’ waiver on market access was successfully concluded and members agreed to amend The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) to legally allow WTO members without capacity to produce pharmaceutical products to import and address public health concerns.
At UNEP she was instrumental in enhancing the capacity of the institution and soughtg additional resources to initiate new goals and action plans.
As Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs, she provided oversight of Kenya’s successful hosting of critical trade, investment and development conferences, in particular the WTO’s Tenth Ministerial Conference held in Nairobi in December, 2015; the 14th Session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD 14) in July, 2016 and the 6th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) held in Nairobi in July and August 2016 respectively.
Ambassador Amina Mohamed is a legal expert with a Bachelor and Master of Laws Degrees from the University of Taras Shevchenko University Kiev, Ukraine (1985), then part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). She holds a Post-Graduate Diploma in law from the Kenya School of Law, and a Post Graduate Diploma in International Relations, from the University of Oxford. She is also a United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) Fellow.
Ambassador Amina Mohamed is fluent in English, Russian and Kiswahili, and has basic knowledge of French.
Honours and Awards
Ambassador Amina Mohamed has received awards both at the international and national levels including: the highest National Award of Elder of the Golden Heart (EGH) awarded by H.E. the President of the Republic of Kenya in December 2015; and the Chief of the Burning Spear (CBS) in 2008. Her contribution to national development has been recognised by several national institutions of higher learning through the award of Honorary Doctorate Degrees. She was awarded a Doctor in Humane Letters from KCA University, Nairobi in 2015 and an Honorary Doctor of Letters from Moi University, Eldoret,Kenya in the same year. She was recently appointed as a United Nations Development Programme Champion for 2016.
Ambassador Amina Mohamed is a life Member of the Red Cross Society; Member of the Life and Peace Institute International Advisory Council, Sweden; Member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Arctic, and Member of the Strathmore Law School Advisory Board, Kenya.
She enjoys spending time mentoring the youth and young diplomats – especialy women. She believes that the youth demography holds the key to moving past barriers of development at the national and regional levels.