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Senegal Music Icon Baaba Maal Named UNCCD Goodwill Ambassador

| How Africa News


Baaba Maal, a musician from Senegal, was appointed a UNCCD Goodwill Ambassador on Monday.

Along with other musicians Ricky Kej and Inna Modja, he previously worked as a UNCCD (United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification) Land Ambassador.

Maal has long been a refugee and climate change campaigner. He has been working with numerous UN family organizations since 2003 to address various development issues in Africa.

“We are tackling climate change impact, but also fighting desertification on the African continent, especially in my region where we are just not far away from the desert and we see it coming to us. And it had an impact because people who don’t get more opportunities to do agriculture, fishing and many more will have to run away from their places, go to the big cities where nothing is planned for them there, and then later on, some of the young ones will just take the boats to go to Spain or some of these places or just try to cross the desert and it’s really dangerous. We did lose a lot of lives,” Maal told The Associated Press in a recent interview.

Maal was brought up in the small town of Podor in north Senegal, which has a fishing community at its heart. Maal was born into a fisherman caste and was expected to follow that career path, but he befriended storyteller and musician Mansour Seck, and has spent his life performing, traveling and raising awareness about the issues his homeland faces.

“Our role is first to give news about what’s going on, because sometimes the local people, they don’t know what’s happening to them; they don’t know what happening to them is the impact of climate change. They don’t know how to stand up against that. But at the same time, when they know about it, they will say what to do. So what to do is to give them, to create new projects, agriculture projects or other projects where they can go and work, especially the woman who can’t go to be immigrants – most of the time they have to stay there, stay in the families, and they need to work,” said Maal.

The veteran musician released his first album in seven years, “Being,” on March 31st and will headline the Barbican in London for the first time in 20 years on 30th May.

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