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Africa gathers its strength for more effective tobacco control

Virtual Event
01 Nov, 2021

Tobacco control is not only a critical public health issue but also a key determinant of development across Africa where the war against this addictive product is far from over. Progress has however been made and important battles won.

This recognition of the wider economic impact of tobacco threaded through the opening sessions at the landmark 1st Africa Conference on Tobacco Control and Development. The virtual event is being attended by hundreds of researchers, policy makers, advocates, public health experts and media from across the continent.

The conference aims to support national and regional tobacco control initiatives and contribute to decreasing the prevalence of tobacco use and the exposure to tobacco smoke in order to reduce the burden of disease and death caused by tobacco.

Officially opening the conference keynote speaker Professor Emmanuel Nnadozie, Executive Secretary of the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), the African Union’s specialized agency for capacity development, had no hesitation in declaring: “Tobacco threatens Africa’s present and future workforce.”

He indicated that this danger to the continent’s sustainable development was the ACBF’s motivation for joining the movement for tobacco control. It shared primary responsibility for organising the conference with the Centre for Tobacco Control in Africa (CTCA), based at Makerere University, Uganda.

Prof. Nnadozie saluted the impressive exchange of learning among African countries, the significant strengthening of legal frameworks for tobacco control and particularly noted the role of the courts in Uganda and Kenya in “protecting public policies from vested interests” by dismissing the tobacco industry’s challenges to tobacco control legislation.

Conference Chair and Director of the CTCA Prof. William Bazeyo described the continental conference as the realisation of a dream seeded when the CTCA was established 10 years ago. By charting a clear research agenda for the African tobacco control community, the CTCA had created conditions for this unifying event.

Thomas Kwesi Quartey

ACBF has been granted the status of a specialized agency because of the potential to transform Africa through capacity development.

H.E. Thomas Kwesi Quartey, Deputy Chairperson, AU Commission
Erastus Mwencha

The recognition of ACBF as the African Union’s Specialized Agency for Capacity Development launches the beginning of a new era for capacity building by ACBF, which will require an appropriate level of political commitment and financial support from all stakeholders.

H.E. Erastus Mwencha, Chair, ACBF Executive Board
Lamin Momodou

The remarkable achievements ACBF has registered over the past 26 years is not by accident in our opinion. They have come through hard work, dedication, commitment, purposeful leadership, support from the member countries as well as productive partnership building.

Mr. Lamin Momodou MANNEH, Director, UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa
Goodall Gondwe

Africa needs ACBF as much, probably more now, than at the time it was created in 1991.

Hon. Goodall Gondwe, former Chair of the ACBF Board of Governors and Minister of Finance – Malawi
Ken Ofori Atta

Ghana’s partnership with ACBF is a tremendous blessing for us and therefore the opportunity for Ghana to host the 26th ACBF Board of Governors Meeting is something that we treasure.

Hon Ken Ofori Atta, Chair of the ACBF Board of Governors and Minister of Finance - Ghana