Ugandan to Head BBC East African Languages’ Service
By Abdi Ali
Published December 20, 2017
Rachael Akidi Okwir has been appointed to head East African Languages Section of British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
Akidi, former Editor of BBC’s flagship radio programme, Focus on Africa, shall oversee services in Afaan Oromo, Amharic, Somali, Kiswahili and Tigrinya from her office in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.
Rachael Akidi Okwir joined the BBC World Service as a producer in 2002 and has worked across various platforms and programmes including Network Africa, The World Today, Focus on Africa TV and the website bbcafrica.com/.
In recognition of her leadership qualities and potential, Rachael Akidi Okwir was selected for the inaugural ‘BBC News Leadership Programme’. Her career in journalism started as a freelance contributor to Ugandan newspapers and radio stations while a student at Makerere University in the capital, Kampala.
“I am deeply honoured to be leading the BBC’s expansion and digital transformation in the East and Horn of Africa. The media landscape in the region is rapidly evolving. It is a vibrant, challenging and competitive market, but with massive potential and opportunities. I am excited to be part of the team that will be at the forefront of this transformation,”,” Akidi-Okwir says.
Appointed alongside Akidi as head of the West African Languages section is Nigeria’s Oluwatoyosi Ogunseye. Based in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, Ogunseye will be in charge of broadcasts in French (BBC Afrique), Hausa, Igbo, Pidgin and Yoruba from January 2018.
Oluwatoyosi Ogunseye, former Editor of one of Nigeria’s most widely read newspapers, Sunday Punch, was the first female editor in the 45 year history of the company. Ogunseye’s passion for investigative reporting has won her more than 30 awards; she was the first Nigerian to win the prestigious Knight International Journalism award.
Oluwatoyosi Ogunseye is a fellow of President Barack Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative and currently sits on the board of the World Editors Forum. She holds a Master of Science degree in Media and Communication and is currently studying for a PhD in Politics and International Relations at the University of Leicester.
Oluwatoyosi says, “It is a huge honour to be appointed Head of West of Africa for the BBC. I’m excited about this new role and I look forward to working with BBC’s amazing journalists in the region. I have no doubt that we will continue to produce the quality journalism that our audiences love us for.”
On his part, Solomon Mugera, Regional Editor for BBC Africa, says of the appointments, “Rachael Akidi and Toyosi Ogunseye are talented journalists, each with an impressive track record of strong editorial focus and inspiring leadership. They are passionate about original journalism and finding creative ways of engaging with the audience.”
BBC World Service’s BBC Africa hub that currently delivers content in Afaan Oromo, Amharic, English, French, Hausa, Kinyarwanda, Kirundi, Pidgin, Somali, Tigrinya, and Kiswahili, says will be launching broadcasts in many more African languages, including Igbo and Yoruba.