UNCCD Land Ambassador Baaba Maal : Live from Bonn

Baaba Maal and Ibrahim Thiaw

Bonn, Germany – Senegalese singer and Land Ambassador Baaba Maal visited the UNCCD headquarters at the end of January 2020 to discuss his role as the UNCCD Land Ambassador and the champion of unlocking the potential of African countries to build lasting peace, food security, gender equality and youth empowerment.

Baaba Maal strongly believes that the future of Africa is in the hands of the Africans themselves, especially the youth. In 2016, he launched a foundation NANN-K, working with communities in Senegal and other African countries to develop sustainable agricultural enterprises and create jobs in rural areas. A Pulaar word, NANN-K means "Listen to this" and in its original language spells out the initial letters of the five crucial elements of the NGO: Agriculture, Fishing, Livestock Farming, Culture and Technology Access. Campaigns and initiatives that harness the opportunities by Africans and for Africans are the goal of NANN-K – for example an irrigation project in Podor that employs 3000 out of the 12 000 residents in the village. In the future, Mr. Maal hopes to expand the project throughout Senegal and to surrounding countries.

While in Bonn, Baaba Maal sat downwith the UNCCD Executive Secretary Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw for an interview that was streamed live on Facebook in French, English and Fulani, reaching nearly 50 000 followers. During the interview. Mr. Thiaw emphasized that the Sahel is the region of opportunities, rich in traditional culture and values, and with a large potential for development in the management of natural resources and opportunities for youth, since close to two third of the population is under 35 years old.

Through his concerts and social engagement in the coming months, Baaba Maal intends to advocate for changing the narrative of the Sahel to the positive and future-oriented one. As UNCCD Land Ambassador, his wish is to lend the power of his voice to bringing people together and empowering women and youth in the Sahel to build peaceful and prosperous future on land, harnessing the potential of the African traditions and the new technologies.

In March Baaba Maal will travel to New York to give a performance at the MET (Metropolitan Museum of Art), sharing the stories from his childhood and the Sahelian legends behind his songs.

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