Last autumn, some of us were caught slightly off-guard with the launch of a pidgin digital service from the BBC. Depending on who you speak to, this was the greatest thing since sliced bread, or a regressive step back in time.

Building on this development, the BBC World Service has now made two appointments as part of their commitment to continue their expansion of their services in Africa.

The new appointees are Rachael Akidi Okwir (right) and Toyosi Ogunseye (left) as heads of language services for East and West Africa respectively.

BBC World Service presses on with expansion of services in Africa

Rachael Akidi Okwir, Head of East Africa Languages, is based in Nairobi, Kenya and oversees services in Afaan Oromo, Amharic, Somali, Swahili and Tigrinya.

Head of West Africa Languages, Toyosi Ogunseye, is based in Lagos, Nigeria will be starting in January 2018 where she will be managing Afrique, Hausa, Igbo, Pidgin & Yoruba.

Rachael was the Editor of the flagship radio programme Focus on Africa. She joined the BBC World Service as a producer in 2002 and has worked across various platforms and programmes including Network Africa, The World Today, Focus On Africa TV and the website bbcafrica.com

In recognition of her leadership qualities and potential, Rachael was selected for the inaugural BBC News Leadership Programme. Born in Uganda her career in journalism started as a freelance contributor to Ugandan newspapers and radio stations whilst a student at Makerere University.

Rachael says: “I am deeply honoured to be leading the BBC’s expansion and digital transformation in the East and Horn of Africa. The media landscape in the region is rapidly evolving. It is a vibrant, challenging and competitive market, but with massive potential and opportunities. I am excited to be part of the team that will be at the forefront of this transformation.”

Toyosi Ogunseye was the Editor of the Sunday Punch, one of Nigeria’s most widely read newspapers. She was the first female editor in the 45-year history of the company. An award-winning journalist with a passion for investigative reporting, she has won over 30 awards and was the first Nigerian to win the prestigious Knight International Journalism award.

Toyosi is a fellow of President Barack Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative and currently sits on the board of the World Editors Forum. She holds an MSc in Media and Communication and is currently studying for a PhD in Politics and International Relations at the University of Leicester.

Toyosi says: “It is a huge honour to be appointed Head of West of Africa for the BBC. I’m excited about this new role and I look forward to working with BBC’s amazing journalists in the region. I have no doubt that we will continue to produce the quality journalism that our audiences love us for.”

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