East Africa Today: An interview with Solome Lemma


In Episode 22, East Africa Today speaks with Ms. Solome Lemma, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Africans in the Diaspora (AiD). In the podcast we discuss Ethiopia’s economic, political and social transformation from the fall of the Derg regime to present-day Ethiopia. We also discuss the legacy of Mr. Meles Zenawi, the late Prime Minister of Ethiopia. Is it too soon to talk about a post-Zenawi Ethiopia? In light of the recent news regarding remittances to Africa and how they outweigh Western aid, Ms. Lemma provides some insight on the future of aid, how we should redefine remittances and how we can break the cycle of dependency (both from aid and remittances) in Africa. Ms. Lemma explains the role of the African Diaspora and the increasing influence it has in shaping the future of the continent. She also explains how we can shift the role and perceptions of the Diaspora from one of just financial capital to real influence and support. We also briefly touch on US-Africa relations and how the US should cultivate its relationship with Africa going forward.  

Ms. Lemma is a philanthropist, activist and organizer. Prior to co-founding AiD, Ms. Lemma was a grantmaking program advisor at The Global Fund for Children (GFC), a public foundation that invests in innovative grassroots organizations that work directly with vulnerable children that include trafficked children, refugees and child laborers. At the GFC, she served as Senior Program Officer for Africa for five years where she managed a portfolio that included work with 100 grassroots organizations in 25 countries. She was also the co-founder and coordinator of HornLight, an online platform that promotes a nuanced presentation of the Horn of Africa. Ms. Lemma has previously worked with the UNDP in Ethiopia, Human Rights Watch in New York City and the International Rescue Committee in Liberia. She as been recognized by the White House as a Champion of Change.

She received a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School and a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in international relations at Stanford University.   

You can follow Ms. Lemma on Twitter: @InnovateAfrica 

Picture: Solome Lemma


Podcast: East Africa Today: An interview with Solome Lemma

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