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Kamissa Camara, a “repatriate” who conquers diplomacy in Mali

Kamissa Camara is a tri-national who has returned to Mali after a career in the United States. Since then, she has been climbing the steps of Malian diplomacy one by one. Portrait.

Born in 1983 in Grenoble to Malian parents who arrived in France in the 1970s, Kamissa Camara embodies this generation of “repatriates”, these young Africans from the diaspora who return on the continent after spending much of their lives abroad. At the age of 36, she’s now the Minister of the digital economy and foresight under the leadership of Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta and has been since May 5, 2019.

After studying in Grenoble and Paris until 2007, she benefited from the American lottery – a friend subscribed on her behalf without telling her – and flew to the other side of the Atlantic with 3000 dollars in her pocket. She then landed a first job at the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES). During her four years in this organization, she was responsible for electoral issues in West Africa. Afterwards, she worked for the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and then got hired by PartnersGlobal. Those two US NGOs are committed to promoting democracy and good governance and supporting civil society in sub-Saharan Africa. At the same time, she founded the Sahel Strategic Forum, which organizes seminars about major issues of this region.

What followed ,from then on, was a real rise through Malian diplomacy for the tri-national (Mali, France and the United States). She was spotted by Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta at the beginning of 2018 and became a diplomatic adviser under his impulse in July of the same year. Only three months later, he made her his Minister of Foreign Affairs.

According to the Head of State’s entourage, Kamissa “represents the youth and embodies the future”. She also completely fits the intention that Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta conveyed during his investiture speech. He promised that his second mandate would be a “handover of power to the younger generation”. To say the least, that was a bold bet since Kamissa Camara was a complete novice in politics by the time she was first appointed. 

Yassine Benslimane

Africa Women Experts