Baaba Maal has today been appointed by the United Nations as a Goodwill Ambassador, an honorary spokesperson representing the UN’s interests, raising awareness and mobilising support.

Seeing no difference between reaching people as a musician and as a humanitarian, between being the Voice of Wakanda in Marvel’s Black Panther films and energetically advocating urgent and constructive environmental action, his new role will expand on work he has been doing as a Land Ambassador with the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

“Being made a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador opens up new possibilities for me. It will help me to do more and give more and continue the progress I have been working towards over the last few decades with my music and my band and my community projects in Senegal. It enables me to knock on more doors when it comes to the religious and political leaders and the banks and institutions who have the power to create opportunities for people. I can advise the leaders and bankers and hopefully influence their decision making on agriculture, fishing, education, the restoration of land, the fight against desertification and the terrible impact of climate change.

I can do more to give power to people who need that power to do things for themselves and not have to rely on help that often never comes. I can do more for the young people and the women fighting so hard to get where they want to get. As a Goodwill Ambassador I can talk on their behalf and help them talk for themselves. It is always difficult to achieve change, there are always struggles and obstacles, but this is not a reason to not try. If you play your role and someone else plays their role and you work together it can make things happen. I have my role and I am very happy to take on this new responsibility, to show that Africa is moving forward and will continue to do so.”

Baaba Maal