Chad's Moussa Faki Mahamat, a career politician at AU helm

N'Djamena - As Chad's foreign minister Moussa Faki Mahamat has been at the forefront of the fight against Islamists in Nigeria, Mali and the Sahel, raising his profile at home and abroad.

A loyal ally of President Idriss Deby from the same Zaghawa ethnic group, the 56-year-old has held a number of senior Chadian posts, including prime minister (2003-05), before being named foreign minister in 2008.

Under his diplomatic leadership Chad has played host to the French counterterrorism Operation Barkhane fighting West Africa's jihadist group Boko Haram, and cooperated with the US military.

Fluent in French, Arabic and English, Faki studied abroad in Brazzaville and Paris.

As head of the African Union Commission he has said he dreams of a continent where the "sound of guns will be drowned out by cultural songs and rumbling factories" and wants "development and security" to top the agenda during his four-year term.

He also wants a less bureaucratic, procedural AU where free circulation of goods and people is made easier.

Faki was elected AU chief on Monday by member states after seven rounds of voting, beating candidates from Botswana, Equatorial Guinea, Kenya and Senegal.

He replaces South Africa's Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma who is standing down after a single term.

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