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Oil Executive Chosen as Somalia's New Prime Minister

Somalia's newly elected President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo and his wife Zeinab Abdi applaud during his inauguration ceremony in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, Feb. 22, 2017.

Somalia's new president has picked an oil executive and former aid agency director to be the country's next prime minister.

Hassan Ali Khaire will face the task of strengthening Somalia's shaky central government and stabilizing a country struggling with severe drought and Islamist militancy.

President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo announced Khaire's nomination Thursday via Twitter.

Khaire spent the past two-and-a-half years as Africa director for the British energy company Soma Oil & Gas. From 2011 to 2014, he was the Horn of Africa director for the Norwegian Refugee Council.

In 2013, Soma was contracted by the Somali government to conduct oil and gas exploration off the coast of Somalia. Britain's Serious Fraud Office investigated the company after U.N. monitors accused it of bribery, but the fraud office cleared Soma, citing insufficient evidence.

New to politics

Khaire is said to be in his 40s and is new to Somali politics. But Farmajo said Thursday that he is well qualified for the position.

"He is someone who deserves the post, who has the experience and knowledge and most importantly, he is someone that I can work with," the president said.

Several previous Somali governments have collapsed because of power struggles between presidents and prime ministers.

Khaire will have to be approved by the parliament before he can form a Cabinet.

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