Born 25/12/1945 in Kaolack, Senegal from
Khalifa NIASSE and Aminata AIDARA
Here is a English translation of the Wikipedia page (Courtesy of DUOLINGO)
Ahmed Khalifa Niasse is a Senegalese politician, businessman and religious leader from the great family of Niasse of Kaolack, Senegal. He was born December 25, 1945 in Kaolack. His father, Muhamad Aminata Niasse, known as Muhamad Khalifa Niasse, is a great scholar and first caliph of the Niassène branch of Tijania. His mother, Aminatou Mint Barham, comes from the great tribe of Ali Idaw of Mauritania, descendants of Muhammad.
He has occupied till today several roles in the government of the Republic of Senegal, including until recently that of the minister responsible for the construction of a new capital. He is moreover president and founder of the Front of Patriotic Alliances (FPA), the political party he leads. He is well known for his influence and his closeness to a great number of heads of state.
In 1992 during the visit of Pope John Paul II to Senegal, he was the only Muslim dignitary to welcome him at the airport in the company of President Abdou Diouf. On 25 December 2014 he invited the new Pope Francis to follow the footsteps of his illustrious predecessor, by going to Senegal (Muslim majority countries). He was a member of the commission for Christian-Muslim dialogue with Pope John Paul II of whom he was a friend. In his role as leader of a religious brotherhood, he advocates a moderate and progressive Islam.
In 2004 he was invited by AIPAC (American Israeli Public Affairs Committee) to their annual conference where he gave a speech condemning the Holocaust and calling for rapprochement between Jews and Muslims.
In his role as advisor minister to President Abdoulaye Wade, he has played an active role in the resumption of contacts between Hamas and Israel.
Ahmed Khalifa Niasse made his first steps in politics under the presidency of Senghor, and his first event in this environment, where he said “breaking in” would be a great demonstration of strength for president Senghor bringing together tens of thousands of his supporters in an uninhabited area to welcome him during a visit to his stronghold at the entrance to the city of Kaolack.
This event placed him amongst the most influential politicians of Senegal a role he still occupies. He was after that at the origin of the creation of the first opposition party in Senegal, the PDS (Party in power), with the former president of the Republic of Senegal, Abdoulaye Wade.
His political career is at least contradictory, and his numerous changes of sides (power-opposition) have caused a lot of people to ask questions about his real political ambitions. However, his political vision, his ability to mobilize media attention and multiple confirmed predictions make him one of the leading men of the national political scene. He declared himself to be a candidate for the 2012 presidential election, after refusing several rallying calls from the president himself or his Prime Minister Souleymane Ndene Ndiaye. He ended up withdrawing his candidacy to support that of his old friend and ally, President Abdoulaye Wade.
Ahmed Khalifa Niasse is one of the most prominent businessmen of Senegal, with a fortune estimated at over 100 billion CFA francs ($210 million). He is the head of a family holding company he created under the name of AKN Holding, of which he and some members of his family are the only shareholders. Moreover, he is active in many companies, including investment companies and private jet rentals. He also has extensive real estate holdings in Dakar, as well as hotels across the sub-region. He is known for being one of the few businessmen of his country to have his own private jet. He works closely with several heads of state, particularly those of the Gulf oil states.
List of positions occupied
Special advisor to President Abdou Diouf
Vice president of the National Assembly of Senegal (1988)
President of the Islamic Agricultural Institute (1986-present)
Travelling and plenipotentiary ambassador of the President of the Republic (2005-2007)
Minister advisor of the President of the Republic (2007-2009)
Minister of State, charged with the construction of a new capital (2007-2009)