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Dialogue, Capacity Building, Innovation

Voices of African Development

The Voices of African Development is a series of videos featuring African development experts. The experts, including a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, policy makers, academics and researchers, share their views and analysis on issues of relevance to the development African continent.

A first series of video was realized on the occasion of the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) which took place on 28-30 May 2008 in Yokohama, Japan. A small team led by members of the UNU Media Studio realized what became the first ever series of short UNU-branded podcasts which focus on Africa.

Building upon this positive experience, UNU intends to realize more video podcasts and the Africa related ones are featured on this webpage, in chronological order.

8 July 2008, UNU Headquarters Building

Climate Change and African Initiatives

President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal spoke on climate change, and specifically on how African-led initiatives, such as la Grande Muraille Verte (the Great Green Wall) can contribute to combating desertification.


Abdoulaye Wade, President of the Republic of Senegal
After delivering the lecture, President Wade granted an interview to UNU in which he expanded upon some of the themes of the lecture.

28–30 May 2008, TICAD IV, Yokohama

During the fourth TICAD conference, UNU filmed a series of videos at the conference site in Yokohama to gather thoughts from high-level delegates on key areas of African development.

The videos feature Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai, Gertrude Mongella (president of the Pan-African Parliament), Yasuhide Nakayama (vice-minister for foreign affairs of Japan), Anna Tibaijuka (director of UN-HABITAT), Francisco Komlavi Seddoh (UNU council member), Calestous Juma (Harvard University; senior visiting professor at UNU), and William arap Ruto (minister for agriculture of Kenya) among many others discussing a range of topics from from gender equality and science and technology to higher education and the myths and challenges confronting African development.

Gender Equality


Priority Africa: Gender equality
Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai and Gertrude Mongella speak to UNU on gender equality and the role of women in Africa's development.

"If we want to deal with the food crisis, we cannot afford not to put women and girls in school in order to make them better farmers." —Getrude Mongella, president, Pan-African Parliament

Africa and Japan


Priority Africa: Africa and Japan
Yasuhide Nakayama, Japan's Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs

"People think that what's happening in Africa is something far away and has nothing to do with them. But the battery in my cellphone is from Africa. The mineral resource in my laptop is from Africa. The diamond I gave to my wife when I proposed to her is from Africa." —Yasuhide Nakayama, vice-minister for foreign affairs of Japan

Climate Change


Priority Africa: Climate Change
Delegates to TICAD IV including Adebayo Adedeji, Anna Tibaijuka, Luc Gnacadja, Calestous Juma, Wangrai Maathai, and UNU's Obijiofor Aginam discuss climate change and Africa.

"Africa produces less than 2% of carbon dioxide, but we are most affected through this global warming climate change." —Wasswa Biriggwa, Ugandan ambassador to Japan

Higher Education


Priority Africa: Higher Education
Features, among others, Calestous Juma (senior visiting professor, UNU), Francisco Komlavi Seddoh (UNU council member), Koïchiro Matsuura (director-general, UNESCO), Anna Tibaijuka (director, UN-HABITAT), Abdelkader Messahel (minister of foreign affairs of Algeria), and Mousa Bala Gaye (secretary of state for economic affairs, The Gambia).

"In any country, the best specialists are the ones living in the region, so it is important that African politicians rely on their academics." —Francisco Komlavi Seddoh

Science and Technology


Priority Africa: Science & Technology
Features, among others, Owelle Anayo Rochas Okorocha (national president of the Nigerian Red Cross Society), Calestous Juma, and Virginie Aimard (UNU-EHS capacity development and strategic planning expert).

"There is a need for such areas of development [in science and technology] and this is where the United Nations comes in, the research centres. But the United Nations has not shown enough presence in Africa." —Owelle Anayo Rochas Okorocha

Information Communications Technology


Priority Africa: Information Communications Technology
Featuring, among others, Calestous Juma, Tsuneo Kurokawa (JICA director-general Regional Dept. IV: Africa), and Fatim Badjie (minister for communication information and information technology, The Gambia).

"If there is anything that could be done to get Africa integrated in the global economy, I think the most important thing is to place universities at the centre of the development process." —Calestous Juma

Misconceptions and Challenges


Priority Africa: Misconceptions and Challenges
Featuring, among others, Wasswa Biriggwa (Ugandan ambassador to Japan), Obijiofor Aginam (UNU academic programme officer), Yu Serizawa (secretary-general, Science and Technology in Society Forum), William arap Ruto (minister for agriculture, Kenya), and Alexander Phiri (South Africa Federation of the Disabled).

"Kenyan people spend 41 billion Kenyan shillings every year to purchase Japanese products. On the other hand, Japanese people only spend 1.3 billion shillings every year to buy Kenyan products. So who is helping who?" —William arap Ruto

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Page last modified 2011.06.07.




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