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UNDP Nigeria

Our Team

Who are the decision makers?

The Resident Representative, who is the representative of the Administrator, heads UNDP in Nigeria and is also responsible for ensuring the effective day-to-day management of UNDP Country Office and assumes overall responsibility for the UNDP programme and operations to ensure coherence and strategic direction of UNDP activities. The Resident Representative is supported by two Deputies, one for Programmes and one for Operations.

Mr. Mohamed Yahya is the current Resident Reprentative. Mr. Lealem Berhanu Dinku is the Deputy Resident Representative - Programmes and Mr. Blessed Chirimuta is the Deputy Representative -  Operations.

Mohamed Yahya - Resident Representative

Mohamed Yahya is a development practitioner with over 20 years of experience working on critical development issues such as preventing violent extremism, governance, peacebuilding, conflict response and recovery, and public policy. In June 2019, Mohamed was appointed as the Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, leading a team of close to 200 people in supporting the Government of Nigeria towards the realisation of its development agenda.

Before his appointment to lead UNDP in Nigeria, Mr. Yahya was the Africa Regional Programme Coordinator for UNDP, responsible for regional development initiatives supporting the African Union and Africa's Regional Economic Communities. He also served as UNDP's post-conflict recovery specialist supporting UN interventions in Afghanistan, Guinea Bissau and Liberia. Before joining the UN, Mr. Yahya worked as a senior peacebuilding advisor for the non-governmental organisation International Alert, focusing on West Africa.

Mr. Yahya believes that while policies are crucial for reforms and development in any country, it is through amplification of the psychology of progress that we can inspire the visioning of a future that communities want. He strongly advocates for narratives that encourage citizens’ participation, engagement, and consensus towards inclusive development pathways – critical to driving the national development agenda. This is evident in his unique approach of embracing community informed interventions and close collaboration with the creatives as key development actors, bridging the gap between citizens and policy implementation.
Mr. Yahya's infectious passion for Nigeria, its people and potential has led to his creation of the #NaijaOptimist brand.

Under his leadership, UNDP Nigeria has embarked on ground-breaking initiatives focusing on people-centred policies and interventions. To mention a few, these include
• The Nigerian Window of the Regional Stabilisation Facility,
• The launch of the Nigeria One UN COVID-19 basket fund – over $60,000,000 multi-stakeholder resource mobilisation mechanism in support of Government response
• The inauguration of the UNDP Nigeria Development Dialogues,
• The mobilisation of vot¬er registration campaign #SixtyPercentOfUs - in collaboration with Yiaga Africa targeting potential 29 million young voters.

Mr. Yahya has written or featured in several publications, including Time Magazine, the Guardian, Project Syndicate and the Washington Post. Some of the pioneering research he has undertaken and published seeks to broaden and better inform public debate, policy making and interventions. These published works include Scaling Fences: Voices of Irregular African Migrants to Europe and Journey to Extremism.

Mr. Yahya holds a Master's degree in Conflict and Development Studies and a Bachelor's degree in Politics and History from the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London).

Learn more about Mr. Yahya on X @Mo_UNDP and LinkedIn -