Businessman and humanitarian with dual Somali-Norwegian nationality appointed Prime Minister of Somalia

The new Somali prime minister with Somali refugee girls in Kenya

President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo has appointed Somali-Norwegian Hassan Khaire as his premier. Khaire is Africa Director for the energy company Soma Oil and Gas, and a former regional director for the Norwegian Refugee Council.

Khaire is from the Muursade sub-clan of the Hawiye clan family. This sub-clan is the clan of Farmaajo’s wife and they have been one of the key constituencies behind his victory earlier this month. Although they have a sizable presence within Mogadishu and the surrounding areas, the Muursade are less prominent than the two main Hawiye clans, the Habar Gidir and Abgaal. Khaire’s background as a member of a relatively less powerful Hawiye clan, and his shared background as a technocratic diaspora returnee, may contribute to a better working relationship between the premier and the president. Previous Somali governments have become dysfunctional after numerous clashes between the two offices, with the previous president going through no less than three separate premiers during his four years in office.

Khaire is said to have been a close associate with the outgoing president Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud, through his confidant Fahad Yassin. Yassin fell out with Mahmoud and joined the Farmaajo camp, likely bringing Khaire with him.

As reported by Buzzfeed in March 2016, Khaire and other Soma Oil executives—including a former high-rank U.K conservative party official—came under investigation by the U.N recently for possible links to extremist groups. The U.N’s investigation—which was sparked by what they said was suspicious electronic communications— found no evidence to support such links, writting in a letter: “The SEMG has investigated links between Mr. Hassan Khaire and extremist groups…[it] has not found credible evidence of such links and that, in the absence of any new information received by the SEMG clearly demonstrating such links, we now consider this line of inquiry to have reached a conclusion.”

Khaire was born in 1968 and is between 49-50 years old. He was educated in Norway and the U.K, where he received an MBA from the Edinburgh School of Business.