APJ 15th Edition Launch – Press Release

APJ Launches its 15th Edition Highlighting How the COVID-19 Pandemic has Spurred Innovation in Africa

-Recognizes outstanding editors

-Bids farewell to Professor Richard Parker

Cambridge, Massachusetts 19 May 2021: The 15th edition of the Africa Policy Journal (APJ) was launched on Wednesday, May 19th 2021 in a virtual ceremony organized by the editorial board of the journal.  APJ is one of the flagship policy journals managed by the graduate students at the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS).

The 2020-21 edition highlighted how the COVID-19 pandemic spurred innovation throughout the African continent despite the health and economic challenges posed by the spread of the virus in Africa and other parts of the world.  

“While the challenges are real, it is not all bad news from the African continent. We have seen the spur of more innovation from Africa during COVID-19. As reported by the BBC, some students at a polytechnic in Dakar, Senegal, have invented a robot designed to lower the risk of COVID-19 contamination from patients to caregivers. In Kenya, a nine-year-old boy, Stephen Wamukota, invented a hands-free handwashing machine.” The journal stated in its editorial of the latest edition.

“In Nigeria, a 20-year-old engineering student, Usman Dalhatu, invented a portable automatic ventilator to help with lack of ventilators in hospitals. A shoemaker in Ghana, Richard Kwarteng, and his brother Jude Osei were inspired during the pandemic to design solar-powered handwashing basin. In Tunisia, some engineers created an online platform that scans lung X-rays to determine whether a person is suffering from coronavirus. These stories have shown us there has indeed been a silver lining to COVID-19 and that one person’s innovation can have positive life-changing outcomes that go beyond the shores of Africa.”  The journal concluded.

In her opening remarks, the Editor-in-Chief of APJ, Danielle Callaway Njama stated: “It has been an extraordinary year in so many ways.  The fact that we were able to publish such a robust publication that reflects the myriad of issues that impacted the world this year, while working virtually, is nothing short of amazing.  Having received a record number of submissions, we couldn’t be prouder and more pleased to present this year’s publication”. Articles featured in the 15th edition cover a range of topics on major policy issues in health, economy, infrastructure, human rights, inequality, foreign policy, peace building and trade.

Martha Foley, Assistant Director of Student Affairs for all Harvard Kennedy School Student Policy Journals stated: “Congratulations to all of you for doing such an extraordinary job in a challenging year. Your journal is beautiful. 15 plus articles that range from multiple COVID-19 crises and trade benefits and peacebuilding. It has been great.”

A long-time advisor to the Harvard Policy Journals, Professor Richard Parker stated: “The Africa Policy Journal is now 15 years old and I have mentored each team and read each edition. I hope I can live long enough to see it at 25, at 30;  and one of the things that touches me is to see our students from different parts of the world, from Africa, from  Latin America and parts of Asia that they also have the right to use the Harvard name as the ground for developing their own voice, using that Harvard megaphone, that Harvard amplifier to make sure they are heard.”

During the virtual launching the Editor-in-Chief, thanked Professor Parker for his service and his invaluable contribution to the success of APJ and wished him a prosperous and productive retirement. A special APJ t-shirt was presented to Professor Parker. All editors will also receive a t-shirt as a token of appreciation for their hard work this year.

Danielle Callaway Njama also presented awards and special mentions to outstanding editors of the Journal. Brice Ngameni, the Lead Publication Editor and Amayer Sizer, the Social Media Editor received special mentions for their outstanding contribution to the journal.  The Most Valuable Editor (MVE) Award was presented to the Managing Editor, Muhammad Jameel Yusha’u. Commenting on the MVE award, Danielle Callaway Njama stated: “You accepted the call to work with the journal this year, despite numerous other competing responsibilities.  Your diligence and commitment to the journal went above and beyond the call of duty and the journal sincerely thanks you.”

Throughout the rest of the launch ceremony, each of the contributors were given an opportunity to present a summary of their article. You can read of the articles from the 15th edition of the Africa Policy Journal here