Dear KA Community,

Before I share some news, please allow me to encourage you all to take serious care during this global pandemic. My thoughts are with those who have already been affected – medically, economically or in any other way. The African continent may be especially vulnerable given the challenges in our infrastructure and economies. All of us need to be leaders now in encouraging our loved ones, friends and communities to be strong, to help each other and make difficult decisions.

While recognising that we all may be facing hardships and uncertainties during this precarious period, KA must continue to move forward. It is therefore my duty to share with you an important update about the transition of the Executive Management.

After serving three years in the management on different levels (starting in the branches), I will be leaving the Executive upon the end of my term on March 31st. My colleague Mo. Farid has been appointed to succeed in my place as the CEO starting April 1st. Please see the official announcement by the Board for more information.

Please be assured that my departure is not a sudden decision and has been carefully discussed with the Board and my fellow Executive members for some time. In fact, even before this term started, I have made the commitment that it will be my last in the Executive Management. My professional life outside of KA has become increasingly demanding, making it extremely difficult to give KA the consistent operational attention it requires to overcome our organisation’s challenges and fully realise our opportunities. I have reached a point where I have to choose between KA and my job outside of it – I cannot continue to ride two very spirited horses at the same time.

Although our progress the past year has been slower than I hoped and many obstacles remain in our path, KA still has unrivalled potential to not only be a bridge between Japan and the African continent, but also between all our different countries in Africa. I dare say no other Pan-African organisation has such a large natural growing source of members from all African countries who share the common experience and strong bond of the ABE Initiative – while at the same time enjoying significant institutional recognition and support from the Japanese establishment. KA is thereby endowed with a uniquely powerful opportunity to make a massive impact on the lives of our people across the continent, drawing individuals from all nationalities and cultures together for our collective benefit. We just need to keep moving forward consistently with honest and reliable leadership, consolidating work that has already been done and taking new calculated leaps.

That said, my job outside of KA is also an unique opportunity to make a significant contribution to the relationship between Japan and Africa and bring new resources to our continent – albeit from a different angle. In order to be truly successful in this mission, I must dedicate significantly more focus to it (among other things seriously ramping up my Japanese language studies!) while also allowing myself to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Fortunately, I can leave the Executive Management to pursue my passion for our continent from this other angle, knowing that the new CEO is more than capable in driving KA closer to its potential and that there are many other talented people in our community that can support his efforts.

Although it may be important that we maintain institutional memory and continuity, I am a believer that we need to continuously make room for new leaders that can refresh the organisation and add new value. Both continuity and energetic innovation are necessary for KA to succeed. Therefore, I would like to encourage those with energy, time and skills to take co-ownership of KA and apply for positions that may open up in the new term, not only on the Executive but also on Chapter levels and in the Pioneer Programme.

Thank you to everyone who has given me the opportunity to be part of this great vision. I have learned greatly and made precious friends. More than ever before, I am because you are.

Kind regards,

Nico de Wet


200324 KA Board Communiqué re the appointment of the new CEO