Mali-born development expert Dr. Oulie Keita has been appointed as Greenpeace Africa’s Substantive Executive Director after an intensive and competitive recruitment process to usher the organisation into a new wave of environmental justice, said Greepeace Africa, in a press realease, issued on March 1, 2023.
Dr. Keita succeeds Paul Ngugi, who served as Acting Executive Director of Greenpeace Africa from September 2022, filling his predecessor Interim Executive Director, Lagi Toribau in August 2022.
Dr. Keita, said Greenpeace, joins the organization in the context of multiple environmental injustices on the continent, namely deforestation in the Congo Basin, overfishing in West Africa, fossil fuel dependence in South Africa, and the push towards ecological farming in East Africa. These are challenges that match with the 20 years of experience in international development under Oulie’s belt.
Africa’s social and environmental injustices, said Greenpeace, are rooted in an extractivist neo-colonial economic model. Dr. Keita will lead the implementation of the organisation’s new strategy which, grounded in African Consciousness, seeks to dismantle systems which have historically served only to benefit the colonial powers, still plundering Africa for its resources.
To lead the global movement to environmental justice
Dr. Keita, newly appointed Executive Director of Greenpeace Africa’’, said: “Africa is able to lead the global movement to environmental justice. We have enough tools for that. We cannot continue following the rest of the world down the same path to climate catastrophe. Africa is suffering the consequences of big polluters. Organisations like Greenpeace Africa are leading the way in the fight for climate change, showing that it is possible to change this trajectory, win environmental and social battles, and promoting alternative futures that prize our connection with the planet and with each other. African women and African youth deserve a safe and bright future. The climate crisis has dire impacts on women and on the continent’s disenfranchised youth. It is our essential challenge to ensure that governments, polluters, and profit-driven corporations are stopped in their tracks and prevented from undoing our collective future”.
Oury Traoré, Greenpeace Africa Board Chair, said: “Greenpeace Africa is at the forefront of the protection and preservation of the environment across the continent in the face of enormous challenges. It is critical to build a movement led by women and youth, the next generation of leaders and custodians of our heritage and environment in Africa. We are confident that Dr. Keita will make this movement more impactful across the continent”.
20 years in the international development space
Dr. Keita joins Greenpeace Africa with experience spanning 20 years in the international development space, working on policy, advocacy, lobbying at various levels. She has a strong background in the nexus of development peace/security, with a focus on youth empowerment, gender issues, and the protection of the environment. For the past three years, Dr Keita worked as the Executive Director of YouthConnekt Africa, covering 32 countries across the continent, where she collaborated with partners to connect African youth for socioeconomic transformation.
Dr. Keita brings two decades of knowledge and insight from various capacities with the United Nations (UN) agencies, continental institutions such as the African Union (AU), international and regional organizations, civil society organizations, and community-based organisations across Africa.
Prior to joining the YCA, Dr. Oulie Keita worked, for 5 years (2015-2020), as the Director for Francophone West Africa for the ONE Campaign, based in Dakar, Senegal. In this position, she established the Francophone Africa regional office for the ONE campaign and led the development and implementation of ONE’s Africa strategy there.
Prior to joining ONE in 2015, Oulie Keita served for three years as the Program Director for Freedom House in Mali, where she established Freedom House’s West Africa office and helped develop a national strategy on building the foundations for transitional justice and national reconciliation. During her tenure in Mali, she led high-level advocacy efforts for the respect of women’s rights/human rights, youth empowerment, access to development financing, and truth-justice-reconciliation in a post-conflict environment.
Peace and Development Advisor
Listed on the United Nations roster as a peace and development advisor, Dr. Oulie Keita has worked for the UNDP as such in many countries, including Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, and Mali.
A doctoral candidate at the University of Maryland, Dr. Oulie Keita holds a master’s degree in nonprofit management from Regis University in Denver, USA; a bachelor’s degree in international relations from the University of Maryland, USA; a certificate in program management, a certificate in peacebuilding and gender, and a certificate in security sector governance from the European Peacebuilding College, Austria.