AfDB Presents 2011 CNN/MultiChoice African Journalist Environmental Award to Egyptian Lamia Hassan

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Egyptian journalist Lamia Hassan has been awarded the 2011 CNN/MultiChoice African Journalist Environment Award. Hassan, who works for Business Today Egypt, won the award for her story ‘Washed up’, which was chosen from among 1407 entries from 42 nations across the African continent.

Presenting the Environment Award on behalf of the African Development Bank (AfDB), a sponsor of the awards, Mr. Richard Uku, the AfDB’s Head of External Relations & Communications, said, “Africa is one of the most vulnerable areas of the world in terms of climate change. At the African Development Bank, our strategy is to strengthen the capacities of African countries to address the risks associated with climate change. That strategy is now being translated into a global plan of action that will include investments of nearly USD8 billion between now and 2015. We value the importance of good environmental reporting and are delighted to present the 2011 CNN/MultiChoice Environmental Award to Lamia for her stellar work in this important area.”

The Awards, which rotate from one location to the next each year in tribute to their pan-African credentials, were held at a Gala ceremony hosted by CNN and MultiChoice at the Sandton Sun Hotel in Johannesburg on Saturday, 25 June. Journalist Fatuma Noor of The Star in Kenya was the overall 2011 CNN/MultiChoice African Journalist Awards winner for her investigative three-part series on the ‘Al-Shabaab,’ which was chosen from among 1407 entries from 42 countries.

For the African Development Bank, the African media is an important partner and platform for telling the African development story, and the Bank is committed to supporting capacity building in the quality of reporting by the African media—particularly in priority areas like climate change and the environment. Uku noted that Africans are forging ahead with their own plans for climate change and were taking steps in the short- and long-term to curb the harmful effects of climate change by choosing a route to development that involves a low carbon footprint. The AfDB is responding to climate change with a clear focus on the areas that are most critical for Africa and on expanding Africa’s access to international climate change financing. It is doing so through global mechanisms like the Climate Investment Funds as well as dedicated internal mechanisms designed to meet specific African challenges. The Bank’s concern, however, is that the level of financing coming to Africa still falls far short of where it should be at this time.

Commenting on the environment award winner, Chair of the judging panel, journalist and media consultant, Joel Kibazo, said: “Lamia covered a fairly technical subject – the environment – in simple but attractive language. It is an issue we are seeing in many parts of Africa.”

Parisa Khosravi, Senior Vice President of International Newsgathering for CNN Worldwide, said: “Tonight’s journalists join an ever-growing community of excellence, each one representing the very best in African journalism. The collective talent celebrated here this evening is a sign of the increasingly assured voice in which Africa is telling its unique and myriad story. I congratulate them all."

Collins Khumalo, President MultiChoice Africa, said he hoped the awards would “inspire [the winners] to continue telling the African story to the world.” He added:  “Although there can only be one overall winner, we’d like to salute each and every journalist that entered. Without your hard work and support, the ongoing development of democracy and diversity of the media across the African continent would not be possible.”

Viewers across the African continent and the world will be able to watch highlights of the African Journalist Awards ceremony as they are transmitted in July. CNN’s feature programme, “Inside Africa” will also include a report on the awards on Saturday 2 July.