By UNDP writers
Nigerian pop star Yemi Alade was on Wednesday unveiled as the latest Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
She has joined a roster of UNDP Goodwill Ambassadors, which includes celebrities such as actor Antonio Banderas and footballer Didier Drogba .
Kicking off her new role as the COVID-19 pandemic surges around the world, Alade will help shine a spotlight on the disproportionate impact of the health and socio-economic crisis on the poorest and most vulnerable people, who are often women, especially in developing nations.
“Women are among the 4 billion people who are trying to survive COVID-19 without any form of social protection,” said Alade in a video.
“I want to lend my voice to these women and other vulnerable people who make up half of the world that’s struggling to make ends meet. They don’t have the luxury of working from home and are putting their health at risk just to put food on the table.”
“But as we address poverty and inequality in our COVID-19 recovery plans, we can’t put climate change on the back burner,” Alade said.
“Climate change and poverty go hand-in-hand, and neither is gender-neutral. Women in developing countries, such as my homeland Nigeria, are disproportionately affected by both.”
Alade was appointed UNDP’s Goodwill Ambassador by UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner.
“We can’t wait to hit the ground running with you, Yemi. We look forward to hearing and sharing the issues that you are passionate about — including women’s empowerment and tackling inequality,” said Steiner as he welcomed Alade to the UNDP family via video.
“We at UNDP will also be working to amplify your voice on the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 in developing countries and the importance of a green and equitable recovery for all.”
Alade feels strongly that responses to the pandemic provide an opportunity to build back better and greener.
She will advocate for transformational changes towards a sustainable future and a new normal: one where all people are able to live in harmony with nature.
This includes lending support to The Lion’s Share, a UNDP initiative dedicated to protecting biodiversity, which Alade feels is critically important as we battle a global pandemic and strive to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
With four albums and many hits under her belt, Alade is one of the biggest Afro-pop female artists on the African continent, and the first African female Afro-pop artist to hit over 100 million views on YouTube.
She is an award-winning artist: In 2018 and 2019, she won the Headies Award for Best Performer and made the Forbes Africa 30 under 30 list. In 2016, she won the Independent Music Award for Best Album and MTV Africa Music Award for Best Female.
In 2015, she won the Nigeria Entertainment Award for Female Artist of the Year. She also collaborated with Beyoncé and, in 2019, was featured on Beyoncé “The Lion King: The Gift” album.
Having participated in the launch of UNDP’s Mission 1.5 climate action initiative earlier this year and promoted UNDP’s COVID-19 response efforts, Alade has already proven to be a valuable and powerful voice for UNDP. Most recently, she joined UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner in delivering opening remarks at UNDP’s High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) side event focused on the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 on those without any social protection.
Alade joins UNDP during a milestone year that marks the UN’s 75th anniversary and the launch of a Decade of Action for the world to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.