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Literature professor from Cameroon named AU science commissioner

Cameroonian English literature professor Sarah Anyang Agbor has been chosen as the new African Union commissioner for human resources, science, and technology.

Agbor was elected on 30 June during the 29th AU Summit in Addis Ababa, beating Uganda’s John Kabayo. According to the AU’s regional representation rules, the commissioner had to be a Central African woman or an East African man, and the pair were the only nominees for the position.

Agbor succeeds another Central African, the Republic of Congo’s Martial De-Paul Ikounga, who has served as commissioner since 2013. Ikounga was eligible for another term, but did not stand.

Agbor obtained her PhD in English literature from the University of Ibadan before she won a Fulbright scholarship to the University of Scranton in the United States. She has authored books on Commonwealth literature and culture in transnational identities, and is also a poet. She has written about the difficulties she has faced as an English-speaker in her mostly Francophone nation.

While Agbor is not well known on the continental research scene, she has served as the deputy vice-chancellor for research at the University of Bamenda in Cameroon since 2015. Before that she was a professor at the University of Yaounde I.

She becomes the first Cameroonian to serve as an AU commissioner in six years.