Role at AFFORD: Executive Director
Education: B.A Government, University of Essex; M.Phil International Relations, Selwyn College, Cambridge
Specialities: Strong executive management skills developed running multi-million pound development and media organizations, covering finance, admin, programmes, editorial, advertising, and promotions departments. Extensive experience in policy, advocacy and communications. Key expert in putting the issues of migration and development on the international policy agenda. Policy advisor on Africa to the late Bernie Grant, MP. Over 30 years of consistent commitment first, to communicating and improving understanding of Africa and her global diaspora. Second to researching and developing the evidence base that would enable better planning and decision making; third, developing policy and engaging policymakers and bringing about policy change; fourth, building strong institutions that provide a platform for unleashing African creativity, innovation and agency.
Experience: He has pioneered many of the concepts and practices of enhancing the contribution of the diaspora to African and international development. His previous positions at AFFORD, include Head of Communications, and Director of Strategy and Policy. Onyekachi has written widely on Africa, global diaspora, socio-politics, and development. His publications include Under the Tree of Talking: Leadership for Change in Africa (2007 Ed.), commissioned by the British Council, and Empire Windrush: 50 years of writing about Black Britain (1999 Ed). He is a trustee of the African social justice platform, Fahamu; a member of the London School of Economics (LSE) Media and Communications Advisory Group; a co-founder of African Remembrance Day; a Senior Associate of the Foreign Policy Centre (FPC); and a trainer on the AFFORD advocacy CPDE accredited course. He has delivered papers and speeches on international development at the UN, UNECA, African Union, OECD, and a host of other international fora. Before AFFORD, he worked extensively as a journalist and television documentary maker. He edited The Voice Newspaper at the end of the 1980s and has made documentaries and programmes for the BBC, Channel 4 and PBS. He has written a monthly column since 2008 for the leading Pan African magazine, New African. He is a respected broadcaster and commentator on African affairs, his commentary has appeared on the BBC, the Guardian, CCTV, Voice of America, Press TV and TVC. He has visited and worked in 26 African countries.
Why AFFORD: I was first attracted by AFFORD’s optimism about Africa’s future; its ability to mobilise the diaspora to improve conditions; its passion for innovation and fearlessness in thinking outside the development box; its values of transparency and collaborative working; and the great partnerships it developed with partners and supporters. It remains an excellent space for ambitious and unswerving commitment to the goal of institution building and African development.
I am passionate about Africa because: I fell in love with the continent again, when making a film, Hopes on the Horizon, in 1999. Travelling across 7 African countries (Benin, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, & South Africa), documenting the battles for democracy in the 1990s, I was inspired by the struggles of a generation of beautiful activists, and their determination and optimism in improving the welfare of ordinary Africans. At the lowest point of the whole period of ‘Afro-pessimism’ it was important for me to join this generational effort that believed in a great future for Africa. From ‘Afro-pessimism’ to ‘Africa rising’ in one decade. From ‘Africa rising’ to ‘the African Century’ – let’s do it!