Moussa Faki Mahamat, the former Chadian Prime Minister, who is running for the post of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) believes in style and substance.

For a man, who has been leading matters of peace and security, the fight against terrorism in the Central African region and the combined effort by the countries of the Sahel region against extremism for close to a decade, Faki considers himself the perfect fit for Africa’s next top diplomat.

It is time for Africa to come back to its founding principles, Chad’s foreign minister since April 2008, said in reference to the broad pan-African dreams articulated by Africa’s founders fathers.

The election of the new Chairperson will be held as part of the 28th AU Summit in Addis Ababa, on Jan 22-31.

Getting back to Africa’s roots – a broader vision for an emboldened freedom of movement within Africa – would become Faki’s pet policy direction were he to become the next AU Chairperson.

We talk a lot but the reality is that our people are dying at the bottom of the sea trying to reach Europe to look for a place to earn a livelihood. It is time we started giving an African passport to all groups with the best chance to help us solve our problems, Faki said during a recent AU debate.

Educated in exile in Brazzaville, Congo Republic, during the tyrannical rule of former Chadian President Hissane Habre, Faki joined the government of President Idris Deby as an expatriate.

His experience fleeing from dictatorship should expand his world view. Faki previously worked for three years as the Director of Cabinet, one of the most influential posts in any government the world over.

He had earlier served as the Director-General of two different government departments and became the Director-General of a national sugar company.

Faki believes the direct route to Africa’s economic development is to enhance the freedom of movement within Africa for students, the business community and the academic community to enhance information exchange, economic innovation and the free movement of capital and labour.

We need to create jobs for our youth through training. We need employment training. We also need to look at our economic models. My approach is to work with a team led by the AU Commissioner in charge of the youth affairs to deal with the youth in this era of technology, he said at the debate.

Faki’s roadmap to Africa’s prosperity proposes a mixture of home-grown solutions, including copying the systems already being implemented by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in raising funds for its budget locally, to applying strict austerity measures, to run the AU.

The Chadian diplomat, who headed Chad’s Economic and Cultural Council in 2007-2008, believes a full package of reforms is required at the AU, to make the Commission technically and functionally efficient.

Faki proposes one of the steps to achieve the objectives of such a fully functional continental organisation is to improve the conditions under which the personnel serve by injecting transparency.

The Chadian diplomat would wind up his yearlong service as the Chairman of the AU’s Executive Council, which comprises foreign ministers, before the continent’s leaders take to the ballot box in a few days.

A man of vast experience in governance, Faki is widely accredited with Chad’s successful bid for the AU Chairmanship currently held by President Idris Deby.

Faki served as the Chadian Prime Minister 2003-2005 and has been foreign minister. In that position, he is remembered for escalating his country’s international diplomatic profile.

Chad was elected to the UN Security Council 2014-2016 under his watch and he remained in the same post when the country suffered the aftershocks of the Libyan uprising. From his privileged position, Faki’s political muscle is not easily wished away.

In 2001, Faki was reputed to have managed the re-election of President Deby when he served as the presidential campaign director.

In government and international affairs, Faki delivered the yearlong AU Chairmanship to President Deby. The position was previously elusive for the Chadian bureaucrats because of conflict in Sudan’s western region of Darfur, where both Sudan and Chad accused each other of sponsoring rebels against each other.

Running as the sole candidate of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC), the Chadian candidate still holding the Presidency of the Executive Council until the elections are held, talks of his long-standing commitment to peace and security in Africa.

Faki believes his involvement in Africa’s fight against terrorism, one of the biggest security challenges currently facing Africa and his familiarity with the military and political conflicts provides extra endorsements to his current campaign to succeed South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

Faki has been involved in mediation and diplomatic initiatives to the conflicts in Libya, Sudan, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central Africa Republic and the Arab Maghreb.