Somalia's president has appointed as prime minister a relatively little known businessman, Abdi Farah Shirdon Said, senior government sources said Saturday.
"Said has been named as the prime minister," a government official said, speaking on condition of anonymity, ahead of an expected official statement.
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who himself only took office last month after being chosen by parliament in a UN-backed process, selected his close ally Shirdon to the powerful position, the sources said.
Shirdon, from the south-west Gedo region and the Marehan branch of the Darod clan, graduated from Mogadishu university, but has since spent much of the past two decades in the Kenyan capital Nairobi running an import-export business.
He is a close friend of the president, who comes from the powerful Hawiye clan, the majority group in Mogadishu.
The appointment is one of the first key steps of the new administration, which brought to an end the eight years of transitional rule by the corruption riddled and Western-backed government.
After more than two decades of anarchy and war, Somalia's capital Mogadishu has been coming back to life since the Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab insurgents left frontline fighting positions.
A 17,000-strong African Union force, fighting alongside government forces has in recent months wrested control of a string of Shebab strongholds, including the bastion of Kismayo, a strategic southern port.
But the Shebab remain a potent threat, still controlling large rural areas as well as carrying out guerrilla attacks -- including suicide bombings -- in areas apparently under government control.