Today from Hiiraan Online:  _
Abdihakim Yusuf is the man to drive the President’s ambitious agenda
By Liban Obsiye
Friday August 18, 2023


Many people called me immediately after the appointment of my good friend Abdihakim Yusuf as the Chief of Staff (CoS) of Villa Somalia by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. It was strange because I was asked questions like, "Which does the new CoS prefer: tea or coffee? Which qabil is he (most popular)? He is a newcomer, what do you think he will achieve?

My answers are always the same: please ask him directly as Abdihakim is humble and open-minded and usually welcomes queries from all interested people. Then the conversation becomes stale, and both sides hang up. However, I realise now that those who called me and others across Somalia and some international partners might be wondering who Abdihakim Yusuf is, what his contribution to the role could be, and whether he can deliver or not. Having known the CoS and worked with him closely for over a decade, I think I can answer some of the questions people have asked and others that might still be on people's minds.

On the issue or tea and coffee, I think the new CoS likes both as I have had these beverages with him over the years. So offering him either in a meeting might be fine but it is better to ask him first as most human do like to interchange the drinks. On his qabil, I have never asked him and still do not know. 

Frankly, I am still very uninterested. This might be hard to belief but the conversation on clan lineage never really interested us or our key circle of friends who were attracted to one another’s company through academic endeavor and professional commitment to contributing our knowledge and skill to rebuilding Somalia.

Abdihakim Yusuf is among the most qualified and experienced appointments to the position of CoS, arguably since the position was created. This is because he is very qualified academically and professionally accomplished in his expertise within international development, state building and reconstruction, conflict resolution, good governance, capacity building of institutions and professionals as well as project management. Abdihakim has always been passionate about Somalia’s stability and development to the extent that he inspired me to return to Somalia a decade ago to help capacity build the Ministry of Foreign Affairs while living in the UK together. He also encouraged and supported me to remain in Somalia despite receiving many lucrative offers of employment from international organizations over the years. When one is in doubt, he has that rare ability to refocus you on the bigger picture. More importantly, he has deep love for Somalia, knowledge of Somali and regional politics as well as socio-economic challenges and opportunities. This will serve him well in his new role at this critical time of hope and transformation.

Any CoS today must also be resilient and patient as working in fragile and Conflict Affected states like Somalia presents many challenges that can quickly derail the painfully slow yet fruitful development gains made. Abdihakim has dedicated over a decade of his professional life to Somalia’s state and peace building processes, forming and sustaining an enviable array of influential and impactful connections that he has been able to work with and mobilise in Somalia’s favour. He has advised some of Somalia’s important international partners including the World Bank, the European Union, the Martti Ahtisaari Institute, the Somalia Stability Fund and held honorary research associate position at the internationally prestigious university of Bristol in the UK.

 In his most recent senior presidential advisory role at the Office of the President’s National Policy Coordination Unit, Abdihakim actively contributed to the regular National Consultative Council negotiations and engagement with key international partners as well as helped to implement the president’s vision for a safe, progressive and prosperous Somalia at peace with itself and the world.
Today, as President Hassan Sheikh leads Somalia on a historic journey to achieving debt relief, comprehensively defeating Al-Shabaab, returning the nation’s security and defence back to the Somali people after the African Union Transition and drawdown and lifting the UN arms embargo, Villa Somalia requires an experienced and courageous visionary with an appetite for hard work and uncompromising commitment to doing the right thing by the President and the nation. Abdihakim Yusuf is this proven reformer, hard worker, and experienced visionary who can be trusted to advice and lead on President Hassan’s enabling vision for Somalia. Of course, been CoS anywhere in the world is tough and Abdihakim also has the patience, resilience, tenacity, organizational skills, and consensus building skills to instill a new spirit and energy into Villa Somalia.

Congratulations and good luck my friend.
The writer can be reached through: [email protected]


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