Africa Forward, the latest podcast from FP Studios and Africa50, tackles the infrastructure challenges and opportunities facing countries in Africa. With reporting from across the continent, the show examines why the big facilities that transform societies—including roads, energy supplies, and communications—are under-resourced and what Africans and others are doing about it. Africa Forward is hosted by journalists Isha Sesay and Carol Pineau, who both bring years of experience covering and reporting on Africa.
Seasoned and award-winning journalist Isha Sesay has covered global events and major breaking news of the past decade, with a special interest in stories of social injustice and their impact on women and girls. Of Sierra Leonean descent, Sesay grew up in Britain and holds a B.A. honors English degree from Trinity College, Cambridge University.
She is currently the host of Home with Isha Sesay, a weekly, live 90-minutes digital news show. Originally created during the early days of the Coronavirus pandemic, Sesay initially focused exclusively on in-depth, analytical coverage of the outbreak in Africa, before expanding the program to include the most critical and under reported stories from across the world. Smart and always engaging, Home with Isha Sesay, which airs across Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, is a must-watch for its range of insightful conversations that bring together Africans, African Americans and a myriad of other voices, that are all too often not heard.
After graduation, Sesay began her career in television as a researcher on Kilroy- once one of the UK’s most highly rated daytime talk shows, followed by several years at BBC Scotland, where opportunities arose to move in-front of the camera. In 2002, she joined Sky Sports News and became the co-host of Good Morning Sports Fans. Sesay left the world of sports behind in 2005, to join CNN International as an anchor and correspondent, where she quickly became a viewer favorite. As part of her anchoring and reporting duties, Sesay’s impressive roster of interviews include numerous global leaders - the Prime Ministers of the UK, Kenya and Australia, as well as the Presidents of Nigeria, Guinea, Liberia, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone, and a host of newsmakers including Desmond Tutu, Nancy Pelosi, David Beckham, Bill Gates, Bono, Richard Branson, Matt Damon, Michelle Obama, Lupita N’yongo, Will.i.am, Akon, and Nobel Peace Prize Laureates - Wangari Maathai, Malala Yousafzai, Leymeh Gbowee, and Denis Mukwege.
Reporting from Nigeria in 2014, Sesay led the CNN team that covered the kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls in north-eastern Nigeria. The network’s in-depth reporting was recognized with a Peabody Award. Sesay also received a Gracie Award for Outstanding Anchor, in recognition of her coverage of the story. These are among multiple accolades she won during her tenure at CNN.
Sesay is also the Founder, and President of W.E. (Women Everywhere) Can Lead, a non-profit organization working in her native country of Sierra Leone, to nurture and empower teenage girls to become Africa’s next generation of dynamic female leaders.
Her first book, Beneath the Tamarind Tree: A Story of Courage, Family, and the Lost Schoolgirls of Boko Haram (Dey Street Books) is the first definitive account of the Nigerian schoolgirls’ kidnapping. It was published to rave reviews in July 2019 and released in paperback in April 2020. Sesay lives in Los Angeles
Carol Pineau is an award-winning filmmaker and journalist with nearly 20 years experience reporting on Africa. Her groundbreaking film, Africa Open for Business, and the advocacy campaign accompanying the film, helped change the coverage in major media on Africa. Additional film credits include Africa Investment Horizons and Kenya Stories. Ms. Pineau recently hosted and produced a pilot for a new current affairs program, Africa-USA Now, and she was the host and producer of a 10-part current events talk show, Africa and the Trump Administration. Ms. Pineau has reported and produced numerous television news stories for major international media and is passionate about telling a true, multi-faceted story of Africa today.
Ms. Pineau’s first documentary, Africa Open for Business, was voted BBC Documentary of the Year and won several other awards. The film was broadcast on BBC and PBS, covered by major media throughout the world, and screened at the Cannes Film Festival where she was presented the “Africa Vision Award,” the World Economic Forum where she was a plenary speaker, United Nations, US State Department, US Congress, and several other high level venues. Her second film, Africa Investment Horizons, premiered at the New York Stock Exchange, won several awards, and aired on PBS.
In 2009, Ms. Pineau began a two-year project with the World Bank’s World Development Report 2011: Conflict, Security and Development, to create a global conversation on conflict via social media and other means. Piloting the first-ever survey via text messaging, the project garnered more than one million responses from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), one of the most remote war-torn regions in the world. It is believed this is the largest survey ever conducted, and helped launch GeoPoll, the first global mobile surveying platform. In 2013, Ms. Pineau began working with GeoPoll to build strategic partnerships and increase community-based feedback in order to create an opportunity for grassroots communities to have a better say in their future.
As a journalist, throughout two postings in Africa as well as several assignments worldwide, Ms. Pineau has interviewed Heads of State, rebel leaders, and numerous other newsmakers. She has reported from many of the world’s major hot spots. From the battlefields of the Eritrean/Ethiopian war, she reported live for CNN on what was at the time the world’s biggest war. From Belgrade, she covered the NATO bombings, and from East Timor she reported on the newly independent country’s first elections. Ms. Pineau reported live on the first-ever genocide conviction at the UN Tribunal for Rwanda, did exclusive reports from a secret military base in rebel-held Eastern Sudan, and was one of the first journalists into Nigeria after the fall of the military dictator.
Ms. Pineau has reported extensively on the changing face of Africa. While living in Paris in the 1990’s, she hosted RFI’s (Radio France Internationale) Crossroads, a half-hour worldwide radio show that reported on Africa, for Africa. She also presented African and international news for the French overseas television RFO (Radio-Television de France Outre-Mer). Ms. Pineau is the author of numerous articles as well as a book. Her writing on Africa has appeared in major publications throughout the world.
Africa’s Digital Transformation
A look at how innovations in information and communications technology are transforming Africa.
A look into how energy projects in Africa are creating opportunities across the continent.
Paving the Way
A look into transformative impact of trade and transportation infrastructure in Africa.
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