Washington, DC — Jessica Davis Ba, a career diplomat with extensive Africa experience, has been selected by President Biden to be the U.S. ambassador to Cote d’Ivoire. Formerly known as Ivory Coast, the country has a population of 27 million and is the largest economy in Francophone Africa and the third largest in West Africa, after Nigeria and. Ghana.
Davis Ba has had diplomatic assignments in Chad, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Kenya – where she focused on Somalia – as well as Iraq and Saudi Arabia. She was the senior Africa advisor for Vice President Kamala Harris before leaving that post in March.
The White House announcement reads:
Jessica Davis Ba is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Counselor. She most recently served as Senior Coordinator and Special Advisor for Africa in the Office of the Vice President. Previously, Davis Ba served as the Chargé d’Affaires, ad interim of the U.S. Embassy N’Djamena, Chad and prior to that she was the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Mission to the African Union and U.S. Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Among her other assignments, Davis Ba served as Deputy Program Director at the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, as Special Assistant in the State Department Operations Center, and as Deputy Director, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq. Her earlier assignments include serving as Deputy Counselor for Economic Affairs and Regional Labor Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya and as Political/Economic Officer for the Somalia Affairs Unit in the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi.
Davis Ba earned her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and her M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication. She speaks French and Spanish.
Vacancies in Many Posts
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Currently, 15 American embassies across Africa are without Senate-confirmed ambassadors. Senate Republicans have slowed confirmations for senior posts at the State Department and other agencies, requiring separate floor votes for each nominee.
On Thursday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted to submit to the full Senate nominees for five Africa posts: political appointees Michael A. Battle, Sr. for Tanzania and Margaret (Meg) Whitman for Kenya, as well as career foreign service officers Michael C. Gonzales for Zambia, John T. Godfrey for Sudan and Michael J. Adler for South Sudan.
READ: U.S. Senate Committee Hears from Six Nominees for Key Africa Ambassadorial Posts
The Committee postponed action on Reuben E. Brigety II who testified before the Committee on May 24 along with the five who won Committee endorsement this week. Two other career nominees previously approved by the Committee await Senate action – Howard Van Vranken for Botswana and Alexander Laskaris Chad. The White House has not announced nominations for Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Mauritius & Seychelles, Namibia, Niger, Rwanda or Zimbabwe.