From August 1-5, 2023, the Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI), in collaboration with the University of Ghana School of Public Health, successfully organized the first of its kind Pan-African Legal Symposium in Accra, Ghana. The event brought together 33 lawyers from 11 African countries to discuss legal strategies to improve food and nutrition policies on the African continent. Participants encompassed a wide spectrum of backgrounds, including legal experts, academia, civil society organizations and NGOs working in the food and nutrition space across sub-Saharan Africa.

The symposium featured a keynote address by Dr. Veronica Schoj, Vice President, Food and Nutrition Policy, GHAI and a welcome address by Professor Kwasi Torpey, Dean of the University of Ghana School of Public Health. Many of the participants shared their experiences from their national and/or regional legal work, providing an important opportunity for knowledge sharing and exchanging experiences and challenges advancing healthy food policies in Africa.

Participants showed great enthusiasm and active engagement throughout the symposium, noting that the event responded to specific knowledge gaps among lawyers in Africa. Participants also expressed their determination to sustain the momentum of the event and implement the lessons learned in their respective countries. William Kivuyo Esq., Executive Director of Pan African Legal Empowerment Initiative, noted:

“The event is a successful commencement of a Continental revolution in the food industry as lawyers now have access to more tools in the fight for a healthy African population."

In response, GHAI committed to continue its capacity strengthening efforts in Africa to improve legal normative standards, local expertise, and overall public health. A key component of the symposium was identifying future opportunities for participants to support each other.

This symposium marks a significant step forward in empowering African lawyers to shape the future of food and nutrition policies across the continent. With a diverse range of participants and engaging sessions, the symposium not only bridged knowledge gaps but also ignited a shared commitment among legal experts, academics, and civil society organizations to drive positive change. As GHAI pledges to further its capacity-strengthening initiatives, the resounding determination of participants to apply their newfound insights in their respective nations signals a promising future for a healthier Africa.

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