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Ali officially named to succeed Mohamed as Somalia's prime minister

A second Western New Yorker has been named prime minister of Somalia.

Abdiweli M. Ali of Amherst, an associate economics professor at Niagara University, was formally appointed Thursday to the post in the country in northeast Africa, succeeding Mohamed A. Mohamed, the Grand Island man who had resigned earlier this week under pressure.

On Sunday, Ali, 45, had been named acting prime minister until Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, Somalia's president, appointed a permanent replacement. Reports from Somalia had indicated that Ali could be chosen, a decision officially announced Thursday during a ceremony at the presidential palace in Somalia's capital.

According to a news release, Ali said "he will build on the progress of his predecessor" and "will form [a] highly competent Cabinet who shall strive to serve the Somali people who face immense challenges."

Mohamed had named Ali, 45, to the prime minister's 18-member Cabinet in November. Ali has served as minister of planning and international cooperation, as well as Somalia's deputy prime minister.

Mohamed agreed to step down Sunday, on the condition that Somalia's president would appoint his friend from Western New York to succeed him in running the government's day-to-day operations, said a person familiar with the situation.

Ali, a Somalia native, was a research and forecast manager for the Commonwealth of Virginia before joining Niagara's faculty in 2003.

He has a master's degree in economics from Vanderbilt University, a master's degree in public administration from Harvard and a doctorate in economics from George Mason University.

He has been on sabbatical from Niagara this spring. His wife, Hodan Isse, is a University at Buffalo finance professor.


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