France’s government named a Cameroon native as a regional leader, amid mounting pressure for greater diversity in politics.

Government officials said Pierre N’Gahane’s promotion to prefect for the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence region was proposed before Barack Obama was elected as the first black U.S. president.

N’Gahane’s appointment was approved at a Cabinet meeting Wednesday presided over by President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Prefects are the top government representatives in France’s regions.

Justice Minister Rachida Dati, who is of North African descent, said the appointment is not part of an "Obama effect."

The move came amid mounting calls _ including by France’s first lady _ to end racism and boost diversity in the political elite.