Audio Alumni

Season 1 - Climate Action: Two African Leaders’ Perspective

Episode Summary

Climate change has been on the international agenda of many countries for a long time. However, the voices of emerging nations sometimes seem to remain in the background when leading countries raise their voices against the challenges posed by climate change and propose solutions to address it. What is Africa's role in these debates and, more importantly, in these solutions? Two alumni of the African Leaders of Tomorrow (ALT) Scholarship program, from Ghana and Zambia, talk about their efforts to bring their continent into the global discussions around climate change and explain how their Canadian education has given them the essential foundation to support their respective governments in designing appropriate regulations and developing the necessary resources to find African solutions to this global issue.

Episode Notes

CBIE wishes to recognize that it is located on the traditional and unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabé. CBIE acknowledges and pays tribute to all Indigenous peoples who live either in the Ottawa region or elsewhere in Canada and beyond, honouring their courageous leaders of yesterday, today and tomorrow.

This episode was conducted by CBIE’s Beatriz Ela Ebang and was made possible thanks to funding from the Government of Canada and the Master Card Foundation, as well as the wonderful participation of the following alumni of the African Leaders of Tomorrow (ALT) Scholarship Program:

Abdul-Latif Alhassan

Abdul-Latif Alhassan is a co-founder of the Civil Society Institutional Foundation (CSIF) - Ghana and has overseen the growth of the organization from its idea stage to a fully functional and vibrant organization. He has immensely contributed to strategic development and planning, leading, organizing, implementing, and evaluating the organization’s programs/projects with a key focus on ensuring sustainable change and lasting impact. He’s demonstrated leadership in Ghana and internationally. Abdul holds a Master of Arts Degree in Environmental Policy (MAEP) from the Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN, Canada), a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Geography and Resource Development (University of Ghana), a Level Five Award in Professional Consulting from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI, UK), and a Certificate in Leadership and Civic Engagement (Kansas State Univ, USA). He is a 2019 Mandela Washing Fellow, a 2019 African Leaders of Tomorrow (ALT) Scholar and a Ph.D. Student in Grenfell campus’ first Ph.D. Program, Transdisciplinary Sustainability.  His Master's research under the supervision of Dr. Paul Foley looked at enhancing the capacity of NGOs in Climate Change Adaptation in Northern Ghana, applying lessons from Canada. For the Ph.D., Abdul’s research explores the Water-Energy-Food (WEF) Nexus and innovative agriculture for food security in Newfoundland.  Recommendations of his undergraduate thesis contributed to the formation of CSIF.

Sylvester Kaonga

Sylvester Kaonga is a Research Officer at the National Assembly of Zambia. His work involves providing policy research and analysis to Members of Parliament to enable them to make evidence-based decisions as they carry out their legislative, oversight, budgetary and representative roles. He is also the Desk Officer and Coordinator for the Zambian Parliamentary Conservation Caucus (ZPCC), a cross-party voluntary parliamentary organization that works to influence policy and legislation with regard to environmental sustainability in Zambia. In addition, he is attached to the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture, Lands and Natural Resources and the Parliamentary Committee on Energy, Water Development and Tourism, where he services the research needs of the Committees. Sylvester holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Geography and History from the University of Zambia, Lusaka, Zambia. He also holds a Master of Arts Degree in Environmental Policy from the Memorial University of Newfoundland, Grenfell Campus, Corner Brook, Canada. Using his vast knowledge and experience in environmental management, and working through the Caucus and the Parliamentary Committees, he has helped to raise the profile of debate of parliamentarians on issues of the environment, climate change and natural resource conservation in the Zambian Parliament. He has also galvanized parliamentarians in the passing/enactment of key environmental laws such as the Forest Act of 2015 and the National Parks and Wildlife Act of 2015, among others. Furthermore, in March 2021, he helped the Caucus to lobby and advocate for the Government of the Republic of Zambia to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with African Parks with the view to implementing a Priority Support Plan for the protection and development of Zambia’s largest national park, the Kafue National Park.