Michel Sidibé’s biography, fact, career, awards, net worth and life story

Intro Malian United Nations official
Is Civil servant
From Mali
Type Politics
Gender male

1952, Mali, Mali

Age 69 years

Michel Sidibé (born 1952 in Mali) is the Minister of Health and Social Affairs of Mali. A long-standing champion of a people-centred approach to health and development and a strong advocate for social justice, Sidibé was the second Executive Director of UNAIDS, serving from January 2009 until May 2019. He held the rank of Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations.


Sidibé was appointed Minister of Health and Social Affairs of Mali in May 2019. Previously, he had served as UNAIDS Executive Director from January 2009 until May 2019.

An outspoken advocate with a people-centred approach, he has called for the elimination of mother-to-child HIV transmission and for cutting in half by 2015 the number of tuberculosis-related deaths among people living with HIV. He also champions the reform of punitive laws that stigmatize HIV. He has appealed for the removal of travel restrictions for people living with HIV and has demanded their global freedom of movement.

Sidibé’s passion for advancing global health began in his native Mali, where he took up the cause of the nomadic Tuareg people. His tireless efforts to improve their health and welfare evolved into a role as a country director for the international development federation Terre des Hommes. Since those early days, Sidibé has spent more than 25 years in public service.

In 1987, Sidibé joined UNICEF in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). In his 14 years at UNICEF he oversaw programmes across 10 francophone countries in Africa. He also served as a UNICEF country representative in several African countries, including Burundi, Swaziland and Uganda.

Sidibé became the Director of the Country and Regional Support Department of UNAIDS in 2001. In 2007, he was appointed as UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director of Programmes and Under Secretary-General of the United Nations. With this new mandate, he led UNAIDS’ contributions to regional and country responses as well as its efforts in global policies, evidence, and monitoring and evaluation.

Scandal and resignation

Sidibé offered his resignation from his post as head of UNAIDS following an expert report on sexual harassment in the agency that criticized his “defective leadership.” Initially, when allegations surfaced in mid-2018, Sidibé refused to quit. In response to heightened scrutiny and reports of his gross mismanagement, however, Sidibé informed the agency’s board on 13 December 2018 that he would leave his post in June, 2019.

A panel of independent experts released a report on 13 December 2018 saying Sidibé was overseeing a “patriarchal” workplace and promoting a “cult of personality” centred on him as the all-powerful chief. The experts further said the situation could not be changed unless Sidibé, a native of Mali who has headed the UN agency for nine years, resigned.

Other activities

  • International Gender Champions (IGC), Member
  • Calouste Gulbenkian Prize for Human Rights, Member of the Jury (since 2017)

Honours and awards

Sidibé was named one of the 50 personalities of the year from the fields of science, politics, economics and civil society in 2009 by the newspaper Le Monde and in 2007 he was awarded an honorary professorship at Stellenbosch University of South Africa. He is a Knight of the National Order of the Legion of Honour of France, an Officer of the National Order of Mali and was awarded an Order of Saint-Charles by Monaco.

Personal life

Sidibé earned two Post-Master’s Diplomas in Social Planning and Demography as well as in Development and Political Economy from the University of Blaise Pascal, Clermont-Ferrand. He holds a master’s degree in economics.

Sidibé is fluent in English and French. He also speaks several native African languages, including Bambara, Mandingo and Dioula. He is married and has four children.