BAMAKO – Mali’s new president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, made leading economist Oumar Tatam Ly his prime minister Thursday as the troubled West African nation began to set up a government charged with turning the page on months of political chaos and war.
Ly, a 49-year-old career technocrat and the son of a celebrated writer, was until recently an adviser to the governor of the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO), based in the Senegalese capital, Dakar.
He has little political experience and is expected to rely heavily on advisers as he begins the task of appointing a Cabinet to return stability to a country upended by a military coup and Islamist insurgency last year.
Born in Paris, Ly gained France’s highest teaching diploma from the prestigious Ecole Normale Superieure de Lyon, a master’s degree in economic history from the Sorbonne and a diploma from ESSEC, one of Europe’s top business schools based near Paris.
He began his career at the World Bank before moving via the general secretariat of the president of Mali to an analyst role at the BCEAO in 1994. He was given the role of director of studies at the bank and rose to the position of chief financial officer, a post he held for six years before he was promoted to national director for Mali and then adviser to the governor.
Ly is the son of the late novelist and political activist Ibrahima Ly, who fled Mali after spending time in jail and complaining of being tortured under the regime of military dictator Moussa Traore. The new prime minister’s mother, Madina Tall Ly, served as an ambassador under Alpha Oumar Konare, president of Mali during most of the 1990s.