Leadership Award: Speak Up Africa rewards sustainable development leaders in Africa

Press Release • 05 July 2023

Dakar, 5 July 2023 – Key leaders and organizations who have distinguished themselves in 2022 through their leadership in sustainable development on the continent were rewarded at the fourth Speak Up Africa Leadership Award ceremony held in Dakar, Senegal. Launchd in 2019, this annual award recognizes and celebrates individuals and organizations who demonstrate remarkable leadership in public health, sanitation and gender equality and have had a positive impact on sustainable development in Africa.

This year, five individuals and organizations from various sectors have been awarded for their commitment and achievements in the fight against malaria and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), and in advocating for universal access to sanitation and gender equality. They are: 

  • Dr. Ndeye Mbacké Kane, Coordinator of Senegal’s national neglected tropical diseases control Program, was rewarded for her efforts in integrating the fight against malaria and NTDs, as well as for her commitment to involving key stakeholders in the fight against NTDs in Senegal;
  • Prof. Ndioro Ndiaye, President of the Senegalese Advisory Council of the Voix EssentiELLES initiative and Coordinator of the Francophone Network for Gender Equality. As a long-time champion of Speak Up Africa, Pr. Ndioro Ndiaye has been distinguished for her commitment in promoting gender equality in Africa; 
  • The Honourable Aké Natondé, Member of the National Assembly of Benin, was rewarded for his support to « Zero Malaria Businesses Leadership Initiative” and his key role in mobilizing national resources in the fight against malaria in Benin;
  •  Khalilou Fadiga, former Senegalese international football player, FIFA and AFCON legend and Speak Up Africa’s champion, committed to the elimination of malaria, inclusion, and universal access to sanitation in Africa; and
  • CANAL+ Group, which has been working alongside Speak Up Africa since 2021 in the fight against malaria and the promotion of gender equality.

« Sport, and more specifically football, is an excellent driver of values such as inclusion, resilience, empowerment and creativity, which are essential in solving public health problems. I’m proud to team up with Speak Up Africa, because the legacy of a professional athlete is not only measured by his or her athletic achievements, but also by the impact he or she has on improving people’s living conditions. » 

Khalilou Fadiga

Grace Loubassou, Head of Institutional Relations at CANAL+ International reiterated the company’s commitment to working alongside Speak Up Africa to make a greater impact in Africa.

« CANAL+ is very honored to receive the Speak Up Africa Leadership Award in recognition of our commitment to the fight against malaria and gender equality on the continent. The group’s primary ambition is to contribute positively to the development of the local economy in the countries where CANAL+ operates. This can only be achieved when equal opportunities and well-being are ensured for all. »

Grace Loubassou

Speak Up Africa works with a multitude of partners from various sectors to effectively implement solutions to major public health, sanitation and gender issues in Africa. Yacine Barro Bourgeault, Board Chair of Speak Up Africa, believes that this award is a tribute to the change agents on the continent.

« Speak Up Africa has consistently been supported by exceptional allies who, through their commitment and achievements, are helping to make a positive impact on sustainable development on the continent. Together, we are giving a voice to the voiceless and mobilizing resources to create sustainable change in Africa. Today we celebrate these personalities and organizations who are committed in their different sectors to building the Africa we want by 2063. »

Yacine Barro Bourgeault
Note to editors

Short biographies of the Speak Up Africa 2022 Leadership Award winners

Dr. Ndeye Mbacké Kane

Dr. Ndeye Mbacké Kane is known in the field of health and the fight against neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in Senegal. As the Coordinator of Senegal’s National NTD Control Program, she has devoted her career to integrating malaria and NTDs and engaging partners in the fight against NTDs in Senegal. Her expertise and leadership have been essential in advancing public health initiatives and improving the lives of populations affected by these diseases. Through her hard work and unwavering commitment, Senegal has made significant progress in the fight against malaria and NTDs. Dr. Ndeye Mbacké Kane continues to play a crucial role in promoting health, disease integration, and partner engagement in the fight against NTDs in Senegal.

Professor Ndioro Ndiaye

Professor Ndioro Ndiaye is a prominent figure in the academic, humanitarian, and gender equality fields. Originally from Senegal, she has devoted her life to promoting human rights, health, and development in Africa. As President of the Senegalese Advisory Council of the Voix EssentiELLES initiative, Coordinator of the Francophone Network for Gender Equality within the International Organization of La Francophonie, and a fervent advocate for gender equality, Professor Ndiaye plays a key role in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment. Her expertise and leadership are recognized internationally. She has also held high-level positions, including Minister of Foreign Affairs and Senegalese Abroad, and has led the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Professor Ndioro Ndiaye continues to inspire others through her hard work and commitment to gender equality and sustainable development in Africa.

Honorable Aké Natondé 

Honorable Aké Natondé is a parliamentarian from Benin. He is a respected and committed personality in the political field. With his experience and passion for the development of his country, he holds a key position in Parliament, where he works tirelessly to represent the interests of his fellow citizens. As a legislator, Honorable Aké Natondé is particularly involved in the fight against malaria and the mobilization of resources for this cause. He is also a staunch advocate for gender equality and sanitation, working towards sustainable and inclusive development. His dedication to the well-being of the Beninese population makes him a key actor in the advancement of his country and a role model for future generations.

Khalilou Fadiga

Khalilou Fadiga is a recognized personality in the field of football. Originally from Senegal, he had a brilliant career as a professional player. Fadiga represented his country at the international level and played for major European clubs such as AJ Auxerre, Inter Milan, and Bolton Wanderers. In addition to his talent on the field, Khalilou Fadiga is also admired for his humanitarian commitment. He is the founder of the Khalilou Fadiga Foundation, an organization that aims to help underprivileged children in Africa by providing them with education and development opportunities. His dedication to the social cause and his positive influence as a role model for the youth make him a respected figure both in the world of football and in the humanitarian field.

Grace Loubassou 

Grace Loubassou, Responsible for Institutional Relations, and CSR for Africa at Canal+, is famous in the field of institutional relations and corporate social responsibility. She plays a key role in managing activities related to institutions, associations, and stakeholders in the various African countries where the Canal+ group is present. As a laureate of the French-African Foundation and a member of the Young Leaders program 2021-2022, Grace Loubassou brings her voice to the New Africa France Summit, highlighting the essential role of youth in renewing relations between Africa and France.

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