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The African Development Bank top Executive in charge of the African Natural Resources Center Amani Abou-Zeid was elected African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy at the latest AU Summit in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, among a total of eight commissioners.
Abou-Zeid, an Egyptian national, brings to the role a strong technical background and extensive regional and international expertise in development working for the African Development Bank (AfDB), UNDP and USAID, with a focus on infrastructure and energy programs.
She emerged victorious among five candidates from across the continent (Kenya, Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea, Tunisia), winning 41 out of 51 votes by Heads of State.
In a TV interview with Cairo Broadcasting Channel, Abou-Zeid, who was recently named one of 'Africa's 50 Most Influential Women', described her win as a victory for all Arab and African women, gaining a strategically influential role on the African continent.
Abou-Zeid has also received several other awards including the Wissam Alaouite by King Mohamed VI of Morocco, the recognition as World Young Leader by the European Union and as a Personnalité d'Avenir by France.
At the swearing-in ceremony in Addis Ababa, Abou-Zeid vowed to carry out her duties, planning and coordinating infrastructure and energy projects in her capacity as AU commissioner, in accordance with AU's broad interest and never to bow to the narrow interests of any particular member state or external authority.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) received Abou-Zeid's election with pride as she joins its impressive list of minds and talents nurtured inside the institution and called upon by their home countries or prestigious international organizations.
"While this is a great loss for my team and for the Bank in general, it is an even greater win for Africa to have gained such a stellar champion for the continent at the AU. Dr Abou-Zied shall always remain part of the AfDB family and we are all watching excitedly for the many positive changes she is about to bring in her new esteemed position", said the Chief Economist and VP for Economic Governance and Knowledge Management at the AfDB, Célestin Monga.
"She has a great ability to engage and strike memorable relationships with the people she works with," said Pietro Toigo of the African Natural Resources Center.