Michel Kafando

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Michel Kafando
Michel Kafando 2015-09-26.jpg
President of Burkina Faso
In office
23 September 2015 – 29 December 2015
Prime MinisterYacouba Isaac Zida
Preceded byGilbert Diendéré (as Chairman of the National Council for Democracy)
Chérif Sy (Acting)
Succeeded byRoch Marc Christian Kaboré
In office
18 November 2014 – 17 September 2015
Prime MinisterYacouba Isaac Zida
Preceded byYacouba Isaac Zida
Succeeded byGilbert Diendéré (as Chairman of the National Council for Democracy)
Chérif Sy (Acting)
Ambassador of Burkina Faso to the United Nations
In office
15 April 1998 – 5 July 2011
PresidentBlaise Compaoré
Preceded byGaëtan Rimwanguiya Ouédraogo[1]
Succeeded byDer Kogda
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
30 September 1982 – 4 August 1983[2]
PresidentSaye Zerbo
Jean-Baptiste Ouédraogo
Preceded byFélix Tientarboum
Succeeded byHama Arba Diallo
Personal details
Born (1942-08-18) 18 August 1942 (age 76)
Ouagadougou, Upper Volta
(now Burkina Faso)[2]
Spouse(s)Marie Kafando
Alma materUniversity of Bordeaux
Sciences Po
Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies
Paris-Sorbonne University

Michel Kafando (born 18 August 1942) is a Burkinabé diplomat who served as the transitional President of Burkina Faso from 2014[3] to 2015. He served in the government as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1982 to 1983 and was the Permanent Representative (Ambassador) of Burkina Faso to the United Nations from 1998 to 2011.[4]

Following the resignation of President Blaise Compaoré amidst mass protests on 31 October 2014, Kafando was chosen to serve as President during a year-long transitional period leading to the next election. He was sworn in on 18 November 2014.

Kafando was briefly ousted by the Regiment of Presidential Security in a September 2015 coup, but he was restored to power within a week.


Michel Kafando was born on 18 August 1942 in Ouagadougou. From 1956 until 1963 he attended Jean-Baptiste de la Salle College, where he received both his secondary education and his bachelor's degree in sciences.[5] He attained a bachelor's degree in public law from the University of Bordeaux in 1969, a diploma in political studies in 1972 in Paris and another diploma from the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva also in 1972. He later gained a PhD in political science at the Sorbonne in 1990. He is married to Marie Kafando and has one child.[4][6]

Diplomatic career[edit]

Michel Kafando was the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Upper Volta (as Burkina Faso was then known) from 1982 to 1983, becoming the only cabinet member to retain his portfolio after the November 1982 coup of Major Jean-Baptiste Ouédraogo. He was also a Vice-President of the United Nations General Assembly in 1982. He headed many delegations to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) and was Vice-President of the African Centre for Environmental Protection (an NGO).[4]

He served as Upper Volta's Permanent Representative to the UN and as its Ambassador to Cuba before being appointed as Permanent Representative to the UN for a second time; he presented his credentials to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, on 15 April 1998.[4]

Kafando was President of the United Nations Security Council in September 2008[7] and in December 2009.[8]

On 5 May 2017, Michel Kafando was appointed Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General. As Special Envoy he will be involved in promoting peace in Burundi and political dialogue in the East African Community. [9]

Transitional President[edit]

Long-time President Blaise Compaore was forced to resign on 31 October 2014 due to unrest related to his moves to eliminate term limits so that he could run for President again. Initially, the military under Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Zida took power, but it faced international pressure to hand over power to civilian authorities. On 17 November 2014, Kafando was appointed as transitional President of Burkina Faso by the designation council.[3] He was sworn in on 18 November 2014,[10] and he appointed Zida as Prime Minister on 19 November.[11] In the transitional government, appointed on 23 November, Kafando held the foreign affairs portfolio.[12][13]

On 19 July 2015, amidst tensions between the military and Prime Minister Zida, Kafando stripped Zida of the defense portfolio and took over the portfolio himself. He also took over the security portfolio, previously held by Zida's ally Auguste Denise Barry.[14] As part of the same reshuffle, he appointed Moussa Nébié to replace himself as Minister of Foreign Affairs.[15]

On 16 September 2015, two days after a recommendation from the National Reconciliation and Reforms Commission to disband the Regiment of Presidential Security (RSP), members of the RSP detained President Kafando and Prime Minister Zida.[16][17] The military chief of staff, Brigadier General Pingrenoma Zagré, called on members of the RSP to lay down their arms, promising in a statement that they would not be harmed if they surrendered peacefully.[18]

Kafando was believed to remain under house arrest until 21 September, when he was reported to have arrived at the residence of the French ambassador.[19] The regular army issued an ultimatum to the RSP to surrender by the morning of 22 September.[20] Kafando was reinstalled as President at a ceremony on 23 September in the presence of ECOWAS leaders.[21]

Post-presidential career[edit]

In early May 2017 Kafando was appointed UN Envoy to Burundi.[22]


  1. ^ "Secretary-General Meets with Permanent Representative of Burkina Faso", unmultimedia.org
  2. ^ a b "Diplomatie : Michel Kafando quitte New York après une longue carrière ", lefaso.net
  3. ^ a b "Michel Kafando, Président de la Transition", Burkina24, 17 November 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d "New Permanent Representative of Burkina Faso presents credentials", United Nations press release, BIO/3152, 15 April 1998.
  5. ^ Bejot, Jean-Pierre (17 November 2014). "C'est Michel Kafando qui va présider la transition". lefaso.net (in French). Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  6. ^ "L'épouse du président Kafando se positionne contre les violences faites aux femmes". Burkina 24. 2014-12-18. Archived from the original on 2019-01-21. Retrieved 2019-01-21.
  7. ^ "Press conference by Security Council President", United Nations press release, 3 September 2008.
  8. ^ "Security Council, in statement, condemns 3 December terrorist attack in Somalia", United Nations press release, SC/9802, 3 December 2009.
  9. ^ "Secretary-General Appoints Secretary-General Appoints Michel Kafando of Burkina Faso as Special Envoy". United Nations.
  10. ^ "Kafando sworn in as Burkina Faso transitional president", Reuters, 18 November 2014.
  11. ^ Mathieu Bonkoungou and Nadoun Coulibaly, "Burkina Faso names army colonel Zida as prime minister", Reuters, 19 November 2014.
  12. ^ "Le gouvernement de la transition est connu", Lefaso.net, 23 November 2014 (in French).
  13. ^ "Transitional government appointed in Burkina Faso", Reuters, 24 November 2014.
  14. ^ "Burkina Faso reshuffles govt 3 months before polls", Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 20 July 2015.
  15. ^ "Burkina Faso reshuffles government 3 months before elections", Reuters, 20 July 2015.
  16. ^ Ouedraogo, Brahima (16 September 2015). "Military detains Burkina Faso's president, prime minister weeks ahead of landmark vote". U.S. News & World Report. Associated Press. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  17. ^ Coulibaly, Nadoun; Flynn, Daniel (16 September 2015). "Burkina Faso presidential guard detains cabinet - military sources". Reuters. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  18. ^ Mathieu Bonkoungou and Nadoun Coulibaly, "Burkina Faso army enters capital to disarm coup leaders", Reuters, 21 September 2015.
  19. ^ "Burkina Faso army reaches capital to quell coup", BBC News, 22 September 2015.
  20. ^ "Loyalist troops tell Burkina coup leaders: surrender or face attack", Reuters, 22 September 2015.
  21. ^ Patrick Fort and Romaric Ollo Hien, "Burkina president resumes power after week-long coup", Agence France-Presse, 23 September 2015.
  22. ^ Agence France-Presse (6 May 2017). "Former Burkina Faso president named UN Burundi envoy". News24. Retrieved 24 January 2018.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Yacouba Isaac Zida
as Transitional Head of State
President of Burkina Faso

Succeeded by
Roch Marc Christian Kaboré