Nazeer Aziz Ladhani: RIP


It is with much sadness that the African Media Initiative notes the sudden passing of Mr. Nazeer Aziz Ladhani of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) in Nairobi, Kenya, on February 19, 2020. Mr. Ladhani was a trusted colleague, respected mentor and cherished friend to many stakeholders of AMI and the larger African media community. May his soul rest in peace.

Mzee Nazeer, as we fondly called him, devoted his career to the academic, intellectual and cultural development of Africa through his decades’ long association with the AKDN, working tirelessly across Africa, Asia and Canada. He personified all the traits that are great in the human spirit: affection, empathy, caring and compassion, deep intellectual curiosity, insatiable quest for knowledge and, above all, a commitment to uplifting members of the human family.

Nazeer will be most remembered for being a staunch educationist and builder of academic institutions. At AMI, he was a frequent and passionate interlocutor, one who believed in the power of journalism to be a force for good. He was a frequent speaker at journalism training workshops organized by AMI.

Jocular, personable and extremely witty, Nazeer invested splendidly in human relationships and seized every opportunity to interact with those he believed would engage him meaningfully in an intellectual discussion. The AMI team was fortunate to have had the pleasure of interacting with him in December 2019 at the Kusi Ideas Festival — organised by the Nation Media Group — in Kigali, Rwanda. At a memorable dinner meeting, he was lucid and spoke passionately about how learning and knowledge were going to be central for Africa’s future. The AMI team also marveled at his unique tolerance for capsaicin, the active ingredient in fiery hot green peppers, he munched on them as if they were cucumbers.

In summary, through a lifetime of commitment and dedication, Nazeer made notable and salutary contributions to the cause of educational advancement in Sub-Saharan Africa. He will be sorely missed.

Eric Chinje, Sarwat Hussain and Wangethi Mwangi, African Media Initiative.

List of Signatories as of May 5, 2020: An Open Letter to the UN, G-20 and National Governments on COVID-19 and Agriculture for Food and Nutrition Security

Amin Abaza, Former Minister of Agriculture, Egypt and former Chair, Arabia Cotton Company

Ayman Abou-Hadid, Former Minister of Agriculture, Egypt

Yoginder Alagh, Former Minister of Planning, Government of India, Professor Emeritus, SPIESR, Ahmedabad, India

Guram Aleksidze, President, Georgian Academy of Agriculture Sciences (GAAS) and Chairman, Central Asia and the Caucasus Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (CACAARI)

Rashid Alimov, Secretary General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization 2016-2018

Mario Allegri, Former Chairman, FORAGRO and Executive Member of GFAR, Rome

Abdulaziz Altwaijri, former Director General ISESCO

Ayyappan, Former Director General, Indian Council of Agricultural Research and Chancellor, Central Agricultural University, Imphal

Sayed Azam-Ali, CEO, Crops for the Future, Malaysia

Shaukat Aziz, Prime Minister of Pakistan 2004-2007

Lennart Båge, former President, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

David Beckmann, President, Bread for the World and Alliance to End Hunger

Andrew Bennett, President, The Tropical Agricultural Association, UK

Sali Berisha, President of Albania 1992-1997, Prime Minister 2005-2013

Jean Omer Beriziky, Prime Minister of Madagascar 2011-2014

Wided Bouchamaoui, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 2015

Geoffrey Boulton, University of Edinburgh and International Science Council

Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of the UK, 2007-2010

Derek Byerlee, Vice Chair, Board of Trustees, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Washington, DC

Peter Carberry, Director General, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Hyderabad, India

Vint Cerf, Internet Pioneer

Fernando Chaparro, Honorary Member, Colombian Academy of Physical and Natural Sciences, Bogotá and former Executive Secretary, Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR)

Eric Chinje, Senior Advisor, African Media Initiative, Kenya

Helen Clark, Prime Minister of New Zealand 1999-2008, Administrator of UNDP 2009- 2017

Ronnie Coffman, Andrew H. & James S. Tisch Distinguished University Professor, International Professor of Plant Breeding & Genetics, Director of International Programs, Department of Global Development, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

Emil Constantinescu, President of Romania 1996-2000

Gordon R Conway, President, Rockefeller Foundation, 1998-2004

Mirko Cvetkovic, Prime Minister of Serbia 2008-2012

Malavika Dadlani, President, Indian Society of Seed Technology, New Delhi, India and former Joint Director (Research), Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi

William D. Dar, Secretary, Philippines Department of Agriculture and former, Director General, ICRISAT, Hyderabad

Herman De Croo, Minister of State of Belgium, Honorary Speaker of the House

Mahendra Dev, Director and Vice Chancellor, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai and former Vice Chair, Board of Trustees, IFPRI

John Dixon, Professor, University of Queensland, Australia

Mahmud Duwayri, Professor of Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture, Former Minister of Agriculture, Jordan

Adel El-Beltagy, Former Minister of Agriculture, Egypt, former Director General, ICARDA and Head of IDCC

Susan Elliot, CEO, President Committee on American Foreign Policy

Ismahane Elouafi, Director General, International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA), Dubai, UAE

Mahmoud El-Solh, Former Director General, ICARDA, Aleppo, Syria and Member, High Level Panel of Experts of the Committee of World Food Security, FAO, Rome

Shenggen Fan, Former Director General, IFPRI, Washington and Chair Professor, China Agricultural University, Beijing, China.

Nina Fedoroff, U. S. National Medal of Science Laureate 2006, former President, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

Marco Ferroni, Chair, CGIAR System Management Board

Tony Fischer, Honorary Fellow and Crawford Fund Coordinator, CSIRO Agriculture and Food, Canberra, Australia

Jan Fisher, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic 2009-2010

Jerome I. Friedman, Nobel Laureate (Physics), 1990; Institute Professor and Professor of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Nathalie de Gaulle, Founder of Societer & NG-INOV

Prem Lal Gautam, Former Vice Chancellor, GBPUAT, Pantnagar Uttarakhand, India

María Beatriz Pilu Giraudo, Honorary President, La Asociación Argentina de Productoresen Siembra Directa (AAPRESID), Argentina

Peter Gluckman, Chair, International Network for Government Science Advice, New Zealand

Herath Gunasena, Emeritus Professor, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka

Anil Gupta, Former Professor, IIM, Ahmedabad, and Chair, Honey Bee Network, India

Hari Shanker Gupta, Former Director General, Borlaug Institute for South Asia & Former Director, Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi

Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, President of Mauritius 2015-2018

Heidi Hackmann, CEO, International Science Council, Paris, France

Tarja Halonen, President of Finland, 2000-2012

Ibrahim Hamdan, Former Executive Secretary, AARINENA and FAO Senior Regional Officer

HRH Prince Hasan bin Talal, Jordan

Mohamed Hasan, President, The World Academy of Sciences and President, Sudanese Academy of Sciences

Charlotte Hebebrand, Former Director General, International Fertilizer Association (IFA), Paris and Chief Scientific Officer, Nutrien, Canada

Noeleen Heyzer, Under-Secretary-General of UN 2007-2015, Member of the UN Secretary- General’s High Level Advisory Board on Mediation

Alvin Hubscher, President and CEO, International Fertilizer Development Center, Muscle Shoals, Alabama

Sir Richard Timothy Hunt, 2001 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine

Sarwat Hussain, former Head of Agriculture Communications, The World Bank

Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation 2004- 2014

Mladen Ivanic, Member of the Presidency of the Bosnia and Herzegovina 2012-2017

Gjorge Ivanov, President of North Macedonia 2009-2019

Albert van Jaarsveld, Director General and CEO, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Austria

Elwyn Grainger Jones, Executive Director, CGIAR System Organization

Pramod K Joshi, President, Agricultural Economics Research Association, New Delhi

Ivo Josipovic, President of Croatia 2010-2015

Kundhavi Kadiresan, Former Assistant Director General, FAO, Bangkok

Mats Karlsson, former Vice President of the World Bank 1999-2011

Shigeo Katsu, President, Nazarbayev University and former Vice President of the World Bank

Jagdish C Katyal, Former Deputy Director General (Education), ICAR and former Vice Chancellor, Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar

Kerry Kennedy, President, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights

Abbas Keshavarz, Former Minister of Agriculture, Iran

Gurdev Khush, World Food Prize Laureate, Adjunct Professor, University of California, Davis

Ivo Komsic, Member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina 1993-1996

Jadranka Kosor, Prime Minister of Croatia 2009-2011

Martin Kropff, Director General, International Wheat and Maize Improvement Center (CIMMYT), Mexico and Professor and Emeritus Rector Magnificus, Wageningen University

Chandrika Kumaratunga, President of Sri Lanka 1994-2005

Jagdish Ladha, Adjunct Professor, University of California, Davis

Zlatko Lagumdzija, Prime Minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina 2001-2002, deputy Prime Minister 2012-2015

Rattan Lal, Distinguished University Professor of Soil Science and Director, Carbon Management and Sequestration Center, Ohio State University

Ronald LaPorte, Professor Emeritus, University of Pittsburgh

Yuan T. Lee, 1986 Nobel Laureate (Chemistry), President Emeritus Academia Sinica, Taiwan

Uma Lele, International Policy Expert, President Elect, International Association of Agricultural Economists (IAAE)

Yves Leterme, Prime Minister of Belgium 2008, 2009-2011

Justin Yifu Lin, Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of the World Bank 2008-2012

Tzipi Livni, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Israel 2006-2009, Minister of Justice 2013-2014

Budimir Loncar, Minister of Foreign Affairs of SFR Yugoslavia (1987-1991)

Adam Lorch, Senior Lecturer, Centre for Global Food and Resources, University of Adelaide, Australia

Petru Lucinschi, President of Moldova 1997-2001

Thomas Lumpkin, Director General Emeritus, CIMMYT, Mexico

Magdy Madkour, Former President of the Agricultural Research Centre, Founding Director, Agricultural Genetic Engineering Research Institute (AGERI), Cairo, Egypt

Mahadevappa, Director (Rural Development), JSS Mahavidyapeetha, Mysore; former Vice Chancellor, University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad and Chairman, Agricultural Scientists Recruitment Board (ASRB)

Bhag Mal, Former South Asia Coordinator, Bioversity International and former, Director, ICAR-IGFRI, Jhansi, India

Shantanu Mathur, Lead Adviser, Global Engagement, IFAD, Rome

Charudatta Mayee, President, South Asia Biotechnology Centre and Indian Society for Cotton Improvement, Mumbai and former Chairman, ASRB, India

Peter Medgyessy, Prime Minister of Hungary 2002-2004

Rexhep Meidani, President of Albania 1997-2002, Member of the Academy of Sciences

Stjepan Mesic, President of Croatia 2000-2010

David Molden, Director General, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Nepal

Amre Moussa, Secretary General Arab League 2001-2011, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt 1991-2001

Rovshan Muradov, Secretary General, NGIC

Joseph Muscat, Prime Minister of Malta 2013-2020

Trevor Nicholls, CEO, CABI, UK

Bujar Nishani, President of Albania 2012-2017

Alexander von der Osten, former Executive Secretary, CGIAR and Director General, ISNAR

Djoomart Otorbayev, Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan 2014-2015

Roza Otunbayeva, President of Kyrgyzstan 2010-2011

Suresh Pal, Secretary, Agricultural Economics Research Association, India

Ana Palacio, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain 2002-2004

David Pan, Executive Dean, Schwarzman College, Tsinghua University

George Papandreou, Prime Minister of Greece 2009-2011

Rajendra S. Paroda, Former Director General, ICAR and Secretary, DARE, Govt. of India, New Delhi and Former, Chairman, GFAR, FAO, Rome

Michel Petit, Professor, CIHEAM-IAM Montpellier; former Director, Agriculture and Rural Development Department, World Bank

Per Pinstrup-Andersen, Professor Emeritus, Cornell University and former Director General, IFPRI

Rosen Plevneliev, President of Bulgaria 2012-2017

Rudy Rabbinge, University Professor, Sustainable Development and Food Security, Wageningen University

Aliaa R Rafea, Professor of Anthropology, Women’s College, Ain Shams University

Jai C. Rana, Country Representative, India Office, Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT and National Coordinator, UN Environment-GEF Project, New Delhi, India

Chandra Ranade, Agricultural Development Specialist, formerly with The World Bank

Praveen Rao, Vice Chancellor, Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University, Hyderabad, India

Peter H. Raven, President Emeritus, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, Missouri

Daya Reddy, President, International Science Council, France

Martin Rees, Former President of Royal Society, Member, UK House of Lords

Timothy Reeves, Professor in Residence, Dookie College Campus, Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Australia and former, Director General, CIMMYT, Mexico

Juan Lucas Restrepo, Director General, Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT Headquarters, Rome

Sir Richard Roberts, 1993 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine

Mary Robinson, Patron, International Science Council, France; President of Ireland (1990- 1997) and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR 1997-2002)

Petre Roman, Prime Minister of Romania 1989-1991, Speaker of Parliament 1996-2000

Mohammad H. Roozitalab, Former Chair, Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR), 2002-2006

Jeffrey Sachs, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General for SDGs

Claudia Sadoff, Director General, International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Sri Lanka

J.S. Sandhu, Vice Chancellor, SKN Agriculture University, Jaipur, India

Mohan Saxena, Executive Secretary, International Dryland Development Commission and former DDG, ICARDA, Syria

Kelemu Segenet, Director General and CEO, International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), Kenya

Ismail Serageldin, Co-Chair NGIC, Vice President of the World Bank 1992-2000, former Chairman, CGIAR

Shashi Sharma, Independent Consultant, Global Food Security, Biosecurity and Planetary Health, Perth, Australia

Tomio Shichiri, FAO Representative in India, New Delhi

Kadambot Siddique, Hackett Professor of Agriculture, Chair and Director, Institute of Agriculture, UN FAO Special Ambassador for the International Year of Pulses 2016, The University of Western Australia

Tony Simons, Executive Director, CIFOR-ICRAF, Director General, ICRAF and Honorary Professor of Tropical Forestry, University of Copenhagen

Brahma Singh, Founder Chairman, Prof. Brahma Singh Horticulture Foundation, New Delhi

R.B. Singh, Former Chancellor, Central Agricultural University and past President, National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (NAAS), New Delhi, India

Jitendra Srivastava, Former Lead Agriculturist, Agriculture Global Practice, The World Bank and former Deputy Director General, ICARDA, Syria

Umesh Srivastava, Former Assistant Director General (Horticulture), ICAR and Global Forum for Farmers, India

Barbara Stinson, President, World Food Prize Foundation

Petar Stoyanov, President of Bulgaria 1997-2002

Laimdota Straujuma, Prime Minister of Latvia 2014-2016

M.S. Swaminathan, World Food Prize Laureate, former Director General, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Philippines

Prabhakar Tamboli, Adjunct Professor, Department of Environmental Science and Technology, University of Maryland

Eka Tkeshelashvili, Deputy Prime Minister of Georgia 2010-2012

Ann Tutwiler, Chair, Independent Steering Committee for the Water, Land and Ecosystems Research Program, CGIAR

Rishi Kumar Tyagi, Coordinator, Asia-Pacific Consortium on Agricultural Biotechnology and Bioresources (APCoAB), Asia-Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (APAARI), Thailand

Wendy J. Umberger, Executive Director, Centre for Global Food and Resources and Professor, Agricultural and Food Economics, The University of Adelaide, Australia

Marianna V Vardinoyannis, Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO

Anupam Varma, Ex-ICAR National Professor, INSA Emeritus Scientist, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi

Surinder K Vasal, World Food Prize Laureate, 2000

Venkateshwarlu, Former Vice Chancellor, V.N. Marathwada Agricultural University, Parbhani, Maharashtra and Director, Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture (CRIDA), Hyderabad, India

Vaira Vike-Freiberga, Co-Chair NGIC, President of Latvia 1999-2007

Sant S Virmani, Former Principal Scientist, IRRI, Philippines

Joachim Von Braun, Professor for Economic and Technological Change and Director, Center for Development Research (ZEF), Bonn University, President, Pontifical Academy of Sciences and former Director General, IFPRI

Filip Vujanovic, President of Montenegro 2003-2018

Youssef Wally, Former Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation, Egypt

Carlos Westendorp, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain 199501996

Mellissa Wood, One CGIAR TAG2 (Research) Co-Convener

Marco Wopereis, Director General, World Vegetable Center, Taiwan

M.P. Yadav, Former Director & Vice Chancellor, Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar and former VC, S.V. Patel University of Agriculture & Technology, Meerut, India

Yashar Yakish, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey 2002-2003

Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 2006

Kateryna Yushchenko, First Lady of Ukraine 2005-2010, President Ukraine3000 Foundation

Viktor Yushchenko, President of Ukraine 2005-2010

Valdis Zatlers, President of Latvia 2007-2011

An Open Letter to the UN, G-20, and National Governments on COVID-19 and Agriculture for Food and Nutrition Security

food security

We are writing to call for a set of internationally coordinated, locally relevant actions to address the medium- and longer-term impacts of COVID-19 on agriculture, food, and nutrition security. The current global health crisis has disrupted supply chains and laid bare the need to address the inter-related challenges of hunger, malnutrition, climate change, and environmental degradation and has emphasized the need for concerted, proactive and collective actions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the UN in 2015.

We agree with much that is in the strong statements issued by several leading international entities, including the IMF, World Bank, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), World Food Program (WFP), the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), the Food and Land Use Coalition, and the GCARD Road Map by the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR), the International Dryland Development Commission (IDDC), and the MalaboMontpellier (MaMo) Panel, among others. The leading research institutions of the world, dialogues organized by the World Food Prize, and many others are nudging the world toward the right direction.

Many of these international and regional efforts concerning policy analysis and advocacy agree on the urgent need to strengthen International Agricultural Research and Food Security Systems. We reaffirm these suggestions and want to emphasize the urgency of real action globally on the ground. While the COVID19 pandemic is a major public health crisis, food systems around the world are also under great stress. Consumers are paying higher prices, supply chains are disrupted, children are deprived of school feeding programs and families who rely on food assistance are struggling. Farmers have lost their markets and are worried about harvesting their current crop and planting for the next season. Some governments have responded to the crisis with export bans and import restrictions, which can exacerbate price swings and trade tensions that were already high before the COVID-19 outbreak.

Governments must keep trade flows open with sensible export and import policies. Others have responded with humanitarian actions and have tried to ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of the food supply chains. While these efforts have been laudable, they are not at the desired scale. We need to re-build resilient local and regional supply chains based on diversified local food systems and sustainable natural resource management. Concerted actions are urgently needed to ensure crops can be harvested and planted in the coming months and establishing efficient food collection and distribution systems that can deliver nutritious food to hungry people, especially women and children. And while short-term actions to address the crisis are vital, we must also address several long-term implications of the crisis for global food systems. Achieving the SDGs will require actions on the agriculture and food security fronts, and such actions should be at local, national, regional and global level through a well monitored and coordinated approach. Before COVID-19 struck, many countries were lagging in attaining the SDGs. COVID-19 will push those efforts further behind, and thus many countries need to reconsider how best to provide for the food and nutrition security of their populations in the event of long-term supply or demand side disruptions due to public health and its economic effects, while still thinking of environmental and climatic factors. Unfortunately, research on these interlinked challenges continues in the silos of environment, agriculture, economics, and public health.

We now need more transdisciplinary research to develop more resilience of our agricultural and food security systems in the medium term. Climate change and the disaster risks it portends has not gone away, even if it has been crowded out of the media headlines by the COVID-19 crisis. But COVID-19 has demonstrated a profound impact that human activities have on our environment. Greenhouse gas emissions are declining; water and air quality are improving; birds and wildlife are returning to forsaken habitats. But we recognize that the economic and social costs of the abrupt economic shutdown are not acceptable over the long term, yet it is an opportunity to re-emphasize the importance of conserving natural resources, especially agro-biodiversity, increasing carbon sequestration, improving soil health and water quality, generation of renewable energy, scientific eco-regional planning, efficient water and nutrient use, diversification, greater dependence on locally available plant-based food systems, etc. These would demand a paradigm shift in national priorities. Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) are essential in addressing COVID-19 and other global threats and challenges.

The revolution in ICT and in biology can help re-imagine the food and agricultural systems to provide food security to the poor, and to transform the sector by reducing its environmental and climate footprints. Disruptive innovations are needed to increase productivity and income through precision farming and timely delivery of inputs to farmers’ fields, through a ‘More from Less’ approach. research should also help bring new technologies to markets, including ‘out-of-the-box’ ideas such as meats from single cell proteins to biofuels from algae; from accelerated fish farming to improved livestock breeding to plant-based proteins. Such frameworks should enable rapid movement from ‘lab to land’ and from ‘farm gate to consumer plate’.

Nutrition is important to all human beings at all points of the life cycle. For women, health is a human right; their access to good nutrition is fundamental to ensuring good health and underpinning empowerment. In addition, entire families benefit from the realization of women’s right to health; the children of women who are well nourished will be healthier, and those children will avoid stunting and wasting and be able to grow into more active, healthier, and productive young people. Supporting nutritious food and agricultural systems also ensures household nutrition security. The medium and long term COVID-19 response must ensure that the needs of all women, men, and children are met, including those who are most marginalized. The disruption of input supplies will affect agriculture adversely for the next 6 to 24 months.

Urgent action should start now to ensure that adequate credit and agricultural inputs (seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides) are available when and where needed to strengthen the ability of the farmers to deliver. Transportation, storage and distribution systems need to be enhanced, including the capacity to change production systems to meet shifting demands. The international community must help the poorest countries with actions on the ground. The World Bank, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Food Program (WFP), the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) and the Regional Development Banks have all played – and continue to play – important roles in supporting agriculture and food security. Bilateral donors and regional organizations such as the European Union (EU) and the African Union (AU) also have a major role to play. Together they have operational presence in well over 130 countries and can mobilize action for a better future. The CGIAR can enhance the global research system in working on bringing greater resilience to the Food Security system, and enhanced partnerships with National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS), the private sector, and NGOs.

The UN will be holding the Food Systems Summit in 2021. This will be a major opportunity to craft a well-organized global effort to address these challenges. To ensure that the best practices of the few become the standard practices of the many, and that real partnerships for implementing actions on the ground are forged between all governments and the regional banks, bilateral agencies, the private sector, NGOs, and the international organizations to support farmers and consumers in all countries … Finally, it is our firm belief that by acting collectively for the common good, motivated by our recognition of our common humanity, and driven by caring and compassion for the poorest and the weakest among us, we can help human society overcome the multi-faceted challenges to the agricultural and food security system brought on by the pandemic, and place society on a much stronger and more sustainable path of growth and balanced development. The time for action is now.

32nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union High-Level Side Event Hosted by African Risk Capacity, African Development Bank, UN Economic Commission for Africa

The 32nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) will be held on 10 and 11 February 2019 under the theme “Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons: Towards Durable Solutions to Forced Displacement in Africa.” This session presents the opportunity to explore and showcase African innovative mechanisms which address the underlying causes of migration, notably natural disasters and extreme weather events.

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SL Elections Workshop




AMI joins hands with key partners to deliver a workshop for SL editors on election coverage and prevention of violence



Freetown, 16 February 2018 – AMI has teamed up with key partners to conduct a two-day workshop for Sierra Leonean journalists on election coverage and prevention of violence. This is part of its series of engagements in countries that are holding elections this year.


The workshop, which is jointly organized by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), the Peace & Security Department of the African Union Commission (AUC), the Media Reform Coordinating Group – Sierra Leone, the African Media Initiative (AMI) and the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), will take place in Freetown from February 16 to 17, 2018 at the Golden Tulip Hotel.


It will provide an opportunity for media professionals to enhance their knowledge of electoral laws, institutions and processes as well as providing a platform for discussion, exchange of ideas, and the sharing of good practices on the coverage of elections in ways that ensure their success, prevent violence and advance the national development agenda.


The training will bring together some 30 editors from community media, print, TV and radio to enhance the media’s capacity to fulfill its role effectively during electoral processes.



“It’s our belief that the media plays a central role in enriching national conversation around issues that really matter to the common citizens, and election periods offer just that perfect moment when the media has a unique opportunity to shape the discussion and set the agenda for the greater good of the nation,” said Roukaya Kasenally, the Chief Executive Officer of the AMI.


“We therefore need to make sure that the media is fully aware of its role and considers itself an actor rather than a spectator of the much needed change. We need to have a media that understands and breaks down the issues to their various audiences,” added Eric Chinje, Senior Media Advisor at AMI.


“The partnership with AMI comes in handy during this electioneering period as it will further strengthen the capacity of our media practitioners. We hope to deepen the collaboration with AMI on various other sectors going forward to accelerate the reforms in the Sierra Leone media landscape” said Francis Sowa, Chairman of the Media Reform Coordinating Group Sierra Leone (MRCG-SL),


AMI and its other partners have scheduled similar interventions in other African countries that are preparing for elections this year.



About AMI

The African Media Initiative (AMI) is a pan-African organization that seeks to strengthen the continent’s private and independent media sector from an owner and operator perspective to promote democratic governance, social development and economic growth. It does so through a set of strategic activities aimed at transforming the media and communications landscape on the continent. AMI’s overall goal is to promote the development of pluralistic media as a necessary and critical ingredient of democratic governance, as well as economic and human development in Africa.


About International IDEA

The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) is an intergovernmental organization that supports sustainable democracy worldwide. International IDEA’s mission is to support sustainable democratic change by providing comparative knowledge, and assisting in democratic reform, and influencing policies and politics..



About AFSC

American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) is 100-year-old Quaker non-profit organization that promotes lasting peace with social, justice as a practical expression of faith in action and humanitarian service. Established in 1917, AFSC, on behalf of Friends all over the world was the recipient of the 1947 Nobel Peace Prize. AFSC’s work in Africa includes promoting active non-violence and livelihoods restoration for youth affected by structural violence, inequality and injustice. Supports to lay the groundwork for long-term peace with justice with an approach that involves healing from the trauma of violence, developing self-employment skills and rebuilding a sense of community.


About the MRCG-SL

The Media Reform Coordinating Group (MRCG-SL) was established in 2014 in response to the need for coordination and reform in the media sector in Sierra Leone.

It’s members are senior representatives from important media actors in Sierra Leone which are the Independent Media Commission (IMC); the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC); Guild of Newspaper Editors (GoE); Women in Media in Sierra Leone (WIMSAL); Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ); Sierra Leone Reporters Union (SLRU); Independent Radio Network (IRN); Cotton Tree News (CTN) and Mass Communication Department, Fourah Bay College.








#AfricaThisWeek is a platform for trending African news highlights in English and French. It is an innovative online Africa-wide weekly news bulletin aimed at encouraging African journalists to help overcome linguistic and geographical barriers in content flow and minimising dependency on foreign media for transnational information. The bilingual platform offers news briefs generated by African journalists, which is then curated and disseminated by AMI across its various networks. #AfricaThisWeek is also available on podcast.


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