Grammy award winning International superstar and native of Benin Angelique Kidjo stopped by the press room today after taking part in the opening session of the Nutrition for Growth Event. Ms. Kidjo touched on the factors that contribute to under-nutrition and shared valuable insight and strategies for diaspora engagement in tackling such issues on the African continent.
On contributing to food insecurity and overall contributors to rampant under-nutrition and hunger, she emphasized the nexus between controversial issues such as land grabs and local farmers who find it difficult to eat, compared with companies that do business in Africa who don’t pay taxes (in those countries). She also spoke on the failure of the West to include African people in the groundwork of overcoming their own challenges.
“People who are trying to help in Africa (we) are not statistics, we are brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers and uncle…we’ve got to have emotional and human connections with the African people and ask them what works in their communities in their villages.”
Ms. Kidjo also expressed the need to convey messages in native languages as a way engage and mobilize Africa’s rural sector, and the role the diaspora can play through social media and other forms of activism.