Bintou Keita
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Bintou Keita

Bintou Keita
Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the DRC

Bintou Keita, a distinguished United Nations diplomat from Guinea, has rightfully earned her place in the 5th list of 100 Most Influential African Women in 2023 by Avance Media. Renowned for her expertise in conflict resolution, Keita has been at the forefront of international efforts to bring about peace and stability. Since January 2021, she has been serving as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, showcasing her commitment to addressing complex geopolitical challenges.


Born in Guinea in 1958, Bintou Keita’s educational journey laid the foundation for her illustrious diplomatic career. She holds a degree in Social Economy from the University of Paris and pursued further studies at the Paris Dauphine University, earning her master’s degree in business administration and management.


Bintou Keita’s commitment to international diplomacy began in 1989 when she joined the United Nations. Over the years, she has played pivotal roles in various capacities. In 2018, Keita served as the Deputy Joint Special Envoy for the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), demonstrating her dedication to peacekeeping efforts in conflict zones.


In 2019, Keita assumed the role of Assistant Secretary-General for Africa, where she advocated for the increased participation of women in the military. Drawing on her personal experience and recognizing the valuable contributions of women in diverse settings, Keita emphasized the need for a more inclusive approach to military operations.


In January 2021, Bintou Keita’s career reached new heights as she was appointed to lead the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) and became the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In this role, she succeeded Leila Zerrougui and navigated the complex relationship between the United Nations and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.


Addressing challenges with transparency and determination, Keita issued a statement in April 2021, acknowledging criticisms of MONUSCO while highlighting the intricate nature of the UN’s engagement with the Democratic Republic of the Congo.


In March 2023, Keita actively engaged with local communities, rallying support for the MONUSCO mission, which had faced criticism for perceived ineffectiveness. Her hands-on approach and commitment to understanding the ground realities reflected her dedication to the mission’s success.


Responding to a humanitarian crisis in May 2023, Keita visited the Kalehe Territory, which experienced severe flooding, resulting in the destruction of thousands of homes and the loss of hundreds of lives. Witnessing the aftermath and engaging with survivors showcased Keita’s compassion and commitment to addressing the urgent needs of affected populations.


Bintou Keita’s inclusion in Avance Media’s 2023 100 Most Influential African Women list is a testament to her remarkable contributions to conflict resolution and peacekeeping. As a seasoned diplomat, she continues to navigate complex geopolitical landscapes with resilience, diplomacy, and a commitment to making a positive impact. Bintou Keita’s leadership in the Democratic Republic of the Congo reflects her dedication to fostering stability and addressing pressing humanitarian challenges. Her recognition underscores the importance of women in leadership roles and their ability to drive positive change on the global stage.

Photo Credit: Sydney Opera House