Addis Abeba, Ethiopia - African leaders on Monday threw their weight behind the candidature of Djiboutian Rachad Farah for the position of Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural organisation (UNESCO) which would decided on in October.
In a special resolution, the 20th AU summit urged African countries to ensure that Mr Farah succeeds in his bid to replace the incumbent, Irina Bokova, who is seeking her second four-year term.
Mr Farah, current ambassador of Djibouti in Paris to UNESCO, expressed his gratitude to African leaders as soon as the resolution was adopted following a proposition by Uganda on behalf of the inter-governmental authority for the development of East African countries (IGAD).
“I from now on bear a huge responsibility after this investiture as Africa’s candidate for this position. I carry the hope of a whole continent, particularly seeking the support of the Arab League at the ministerial conference of the organisation due for March this year,' he told journalists in Addis Ababa.
“Benefiting already from unanimous support from member countries of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), I am considering seeking support from Asia, America, Europe and the United States,' he added.
The Djiboutian diplomat stressed the importance of UNESCO for a continent like Africa, which is facing armed conflicts, jeopardizing education and development challenges.
“I wish to take UNESCO back to its roots. For me, education is the key condition for development. We must even envisage UN peacekeepers for UNESCO to make possible girls and boys education, particularly in conflict areas,” he said.
One candidate would be selected by the UNESCO executive board to be proposed to the organisation’s general conference planned for October.