Ethiopia’s Tedros gets Dangote, AU chief’s final backing for WHO DG post

Tuesday May 23, 2017

The Chairperson the African Union Commission (AUC) has issued the continent’s rallying push for Ethiopia’s former health and foreign affairs chief who is a front-runner to become Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO).

In a tweet on Monday morning – May 22, 2017, AUC chair Moussa Faki Mahamat alluded to the strength of Africa when it unites, in reference to the fact that the continent was united behind the candidature of Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

‘‘When Africa speaks with one voice, she wins. Africa is united for Dr. Tedros,’‘ the AUC chief’s tweet read. Dr. Tedros, a Public Health Specialist will become the first African to hold the position in nearly seven decades of the WHO’s existence.


Preceding the AU Chief was Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, who also took to Twitter to endorse Dr. Tedros. Dangote described him as a talented Ethiopian public servant who saved millions of lives and achieved incredible health gains for his country, adding that the world should be united behind him as Africa is.

He will be facing two other shortlisted candidates including the United Kingdom’s David Nabarro and a Pakistani physician, Dr. Sania Nishtar. Dr. Nabarro is seen as the main challenger to Africa’s candidate.

Voting for the next Director-General takes place today

The World Health Assembly, which is the decision-making body of WHO is currently having its annual meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

It is attended by all WHO Member States and focuses on a health agenda prepared by the Executive Board. The main functions of the World Health Assembly are to determine the policies of WHO, appoint the Director-General – The new Director-General will take office on 1 July 2017.

The body also supervises financial policies, and review and approve the proposed programme budget.