NAIROBI, Kenya – One of the key figures of Somalia’s transition, Mohamed Abdirizak, announced that he is leaving his position at the National Democratic Institute (NDI) to explore new opportunities assisting his native country in developing programs that foster economic development, youth engagement, women and girls empowerment, civic participation and democratization.
Abdirizak, who has been NDI’s country director for Somalia since the autumn of 2010, said he would have a more specific announcement about his future plans in the coming weeks. But he plans to remain in the non-governmental space for now, and focus on helping the Somali government and the Somali people build a “vibrant, transparent and participatory” nation that meets the “needs of its people and creates opportunity through the promotion of innovation and entrepreneurialism.”
Abdirizak, who was born in Mogadishu, has dedicated most of his professional life to helping his nation develop and surface through a series of crises. Among the highlights of his career, Abdirizak was the presidential chief of staff in the transitional government, a senior UN advisor in the Political Office for Somalia. Further, he led a team of international and national experts that helped Somalia end the transitional period, adopt a provisional constitution, reform the parliament and hold indirect elections.
“Much progress has been achieved over the past four years,” Abdirizak said. “ I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be part of it.”
The “true power of Somalia” lies in its people, he said, and their dedication to the nation’s revival was “inspiring.”
“I am encouraged by their commitment and sacrifice,” Abdirizak said. “I have no doubt this commitment, coupled with the current level of international support and focus, will help Somalia emerge.”
Abdirizak’s deputy, Edmond Efendija, will serve as NDI’s interim Somalia country director.