Amb. Amina Chawahir Mohamed,
Cabinet Secretary,Ministry Education
Ambassador (Dr.) Amina Mohamed is an accomplished and committed international civil servant and diplomat. She is the current Cabinet Secretary (Minister) for Education, Science, Technology and Innovation in Kenya and the first woman Minister in this docket since independence. She is responsible for 17 million students at different levels across the education continuum, 23,000 Primary and 2,800 Secondary schools, 73 Universities and over 1000 Technical, Vocational Education Training Institutes managing 27% of the total Government Budget.
She served as the Cabinet Secretary (Minister) for Foreign Affairs and International Trade and was the first woman to hold this position in Kenya. During this period, she raised Kenya’s international foreign profile leading to the highest increment of Foreign Direct Investment to the country by 400%. The country also received during her tenure the highest number of Heads of State and Government and dignitaries in history. She focused on trade and Pan-African diplomacy bringing:
- The Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) to Africa for the first time. She was the first woman to co-chair TICAD which brought 32 Heads of State and Government and 18,000 accredited participants to Nairobi. During this Conference, Japan pledged USD 30 Billion towards infrastructure and people empowerment in Africa and USD 10 Billion-infrastructure development under Public Private Partnerships. Seventy-Three Memoranda of Understanding worth USD 30 Billion were also signed to boost trade between Japan and Africa.
- The 14th United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD14) round of negotiations to Nairobi which had the most ambitious and constructive outcome from an UNCTAD Conference in many years, allowing UNCTAD to play a key role in the implementation and follow-up of the 2030 Agenda on sustainable development as well as embark on critical cutting edge initiatives.
- The 10th World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference (WTO MC-10) for the first time in Africa and was the first woman to chair a WTO Ministerial Conference. Several breakthroughs were achieved under her leadership at MC-10, including the Agreement to abolish export subsidies for agricultural products by 2018, hailed by Director-General Roberto Azevedo as the “most significant outcome on agriculture” in the organization’s 20-year history, a landmark deal to eliminate tariffs on 201 information technology products valued at over USD 1.3 trillion per year and decisions of specific benefit to LDCs, including enhanced preferential rules of origin for LDCs and preferential treatment for LDC Service providers. The historic Nairobi Package for Africa and the world secured a number of agreements which benefit in particular the world’s poorest countries. The Accessions of Afghanistan and Liberia to the WTO happened in Nairobi and that of South
Sudan, championed by Kenya, happened at the WTO-MC11 in Buenos Aires, Argentina when Amb. Mohamed was Kenya’s Foreign Minister and chief negotiator for Agriculture.
Before her appointment as Foreign Minister, she held the post of United Nations Assistant
Secretary General and Deputy Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). During which time, she played an instrumental role in reforming and positioning the United Nations Environment Programme as a global environmental organization. She was also the first African President of the United Nations Conference on Transnational Crime in 2011.
Prior to this, she worked as the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs where she played a key role in writing and steering the process that led to the promulgation of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010. Amb. Mohamed also chaired the Governance, Justice, Law and Order Sector (GJLOS) which carried out transformational reforms in governance and the criminal justice system.
In 2002 to 2006, she was the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Kenya to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva, Switzerland.
During this time, she served as the:
- Chairperson (first woman) of the Governing Council of the World Trade
Organisation. Her achievements, include, Accession of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the WTO, steering the waiver and amendment of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) to include provisions that allowed the Manufacture of and trade in Generic drugs in the treatment of HIV and other diseases.
- First woman to Chair the Dispute Settlement Body of the WTO in 2004 at a time when many major disputes were successfully resolved.
- The chair of the Trade Policy Review body in 2003 and chaired policy reviews of the US, EU, China and SACU among many others.
- The first woman to chair the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in 2002.
- First woman to Chair the African Group at the World Trade Organisation (WTO)
- Spokesperson for the African Group at the World Trade Organization (WTO) and United Nations in Geneva
- First woman to Coordinate the African Group at the United Nations Human
Rights Commission including the Historic Conference Against Racism
- Presided over the Conference on Disarmament in 2002 and negotiated the first ever historic decision on the participation of Civil Society organizations in the work of the Conference.
She was a Member of the Executive Boards and Committees of the:
- World Health Organisation,
- United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees,
- World Intellectual Property Organisation,
- International Labour Organisation,
- United Nations Conference for Trade and Development and United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS, 2001-2005.
Ambassador Amina Mohamed is the co-Chair of the Commonwealth High Level Platform for Girls’ Education together with the Rt. Hon. Boris Johnson, UK Foreign Secretary whose aim is to work with Governments to put 130 million out of school girls back in school. She is also a Member of several Committees including the Red Cross and the Strathmore Law School Advisory Board. In 2017, she was appointed Member of the Advisory Committee comprising of international leaders to the President of the United Nations General Assembly.
Secretary Mohamed has attended over 100 Global Summit and Conferences as Head or Deputy Head of Delegation. She has also been recognised nationally and internationally and received numerous awards notable among which:
- Elder of the Order of the Golden Heart (EGH), Highest National Award by the Head of State, Republic of Kenya
- Chief of the Burning Spear (CBS), Republic of Kenya
- Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun conferred by His Imperial
Majesty Emperor Akihito of Japan. Highest honour given to a non-Japanese
- Nilen Award which is the highest State Commendation in The Republic of The Sudan
- Cavaliere dell’Ordine della Stella della solidarieta Italiana (CAV), from the President of Italy
- United Nations Development Programme, Champion
- The Prestigious Adebisi Babatunde Thomas Entrepreneurship Institute Excellence in Diplomacy Award
Ambassador Amina Mohamed is married to Khalid Ahmed, an Ivy League trained industrialist. Together, they have two biological and five adopted children.