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Annika Hammerschlag

Dakar, Senegal
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About Annika
Annika Hammerschlag is a French and English speaking freelance photojournalist, videographer and reporter who’s covered West Africa from Dakar, Senegal since 2019. She works primarily as a West Africa radio and video stringer for VOA and as a videographer for Al Jazeera English. Her work has also been published in The New York Times, The Economist, The BBC, Bloomberg and The Guardian, among others. She is most interested in environmental stories and has covered a variety of topics while on deployment throughout the region, including corruption and coastal erosion in Liberia, the jihadist insurgency in Mali and overfishing in Cape Verde. 

Annika received her master’s degree from Columbia Journalism School and her bachelor’s from UCLA. She’s a former staff reporter and photojournalist for the Naples Daily News/USA Today Network and a former photojournalist for The Daily Bruin. She’s a 2016 Overseas Press Club Scholar awardee.
English French
Video Package (Web / Broadcast) Audio package (Radio / Podcast) Interview (Video / Broadcast)
Politics Current Affairs Science & Environment

When a Tale of Migration Is Not Just Fiction

18 May 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
The film 'Io Capitano,' nominated for the 2024 Academy Award for best international feature film, portrays the perilous journey of two Senegalese teenagers migrating to Europe. The movie resonates deeply with Senegalese audiences, reflecting real-life migration challenges. Despite the dangers depicted, many young Senegalese still aspire to migrate due to limited economic opportunities at home. The film's director, Matteo Garrone, aims to highlight the harsh realities of migration without discouraging it. The actors, Seydou Sarr and Moustapha Fall, have gained international recognition, contrasting their current lives with the struggles depicted in the film.

Africa, the always forgotten continent

23 Dec 2023  |  EL PERIÓDICO
The article discusses the often-overlooked issues facing Africa, including conflicts, migration, and climate change. It highlights the war in Sudan, the challenges faced by migrants, and the political instability in North Africa and the Sahel region. The piece criticizes European border policies and the involvement of international powers in African conflicts, while also addressing the impact of climate change on the continent's future.

Fires Burn In Senegal's Capital After Two Days Of Protest Over Opposition's Arrest

02 Oct 2023  |  www.barrons.com
Fires ignited by demonstrators in Dakar's Ngor district mark the second day of protests following the sentencing of opposition leader Ousmane Sonko to two years in prison for 'corrupting youth'. The unrest has resulted in at least 10 deaths, prompting calls for calm from the United Nations and African Union.

Plastics, Waste Burning on Agenda at African Environment Conference

01 Oct 2023  |  www.voanews.com
Over 50 African environment ministers are convening in Senegal for the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment, focusing on plastic pollution and waste burning. The conference follows severe flooding and droughts that have exacerbated food insecurity and economic damage. Key discussions include developing an international agreement on plastic pollution and addressing waste management challenges. Notable attendees include Richard Munang from the UN Environment Program, Griffins Ochieng from the Center for Environmental Justice and Development, and U.S. climate envoy John Kerry. The event aims to foster global partnerships and solutions for environmental issues.

Guinea Trial for 2009 Massacre Begins on Anniversary

28 Sep 2023  |  www.voanews.com
On the 13th anniversary of the 2009 massacre in Conakry, Guinea, a trial began for 11 former security and government officials accused of murder, attempted murder, torture, and rape during a pro-democracy protest. The incident resulted in at least 150 deaths and the rape of at least 100 women. Moussa Dadis Camara, Guinea’s then-military ruler, returned from exile to stand trial, denying responsibility. The trial, which has faced numerous delays, is seen as a step towards justice by victims and human rights organizations, despite ongoing issues with sexual violence and impunity in Guinea.

The youth will fight: why children have joined Senegal protests

20 Jun 2023  |  the Guardian
Senegal has experienced widespread protests following the sentencing of opposition leader Ousmane Sonko, with significant youth involvement driven by high unemployment and systemic corruption. The government's response, including the use of children as human shields and the suspension of mobile internet, has intensified public anger. The protests have resulted in numerous deaths and arrests, with rights groups and analysts criticizing the government's actions. The situation remains tense, with fears of further unrest if Sonko is arrested.

How eDNA can see the ocean's hidden life

12 Jun 2023  |  ca.news.yahoo.com
Environmental DNA (eDNA) technology is revolutionizing biodiversity monitoring by allowing scientists to detect the presence and diversity of species through genetic material in water, soil, or air samples. Biologist Nahi El Bar Jiyed, working at Mauritania's Banc d’Arguin National Park, is part of a UNESCO initiative using eDNA to study 22 marine world heritage sites. The technology offers advantages over traditional surveys, providing rapid results and noninvasive sampling, though it faces challenges such as standardization and the need for a global reference database. eDNA has applications in detecting invasive species, tracking endangered animals, and monitoring climate change impacts on ecosystems.

‘The youth will fight’: why children have joined Senegal protests

01 Jun 2023  |  ca.sports.yahoo.com
Senegal has experienced significant unrest following the sentencing of opposition leader Ousmane Sonko, with widespread protests involving youth and children. The demonstrations, driven by economic frustrations and political grievances, have led to violence, deaths, and government crackdowns on communication. The involvement of children and the use of force by security personnel have drawn criticism from human rights organizations. The political situation remains tense, with fears of further chaos if Sonko is arrested.

Senegal Protests: Dozens Arrested in Latest Flare-Up

30 Mar 2023  |  voanews.com
In Dakar, Senegal, dozens were arrested amid protests where demonstrators clashed with police. Opposition supporters claim their leader, Ousmane Sonko, is being falsely accused to prevent his presidential run. Sonko was found guilty of defamation but remains eligible to run for president, despite also facing rape charges. Protests have escalated since March 14, with over 130 arrests and three deaths. Critics accuse President Macky Sall of suppressing rights and potentially seeking an unconstitutional third term. More protests are expected.

Conflict in Senegal Displaces Thousands

15 Mar 2023  |  www.voanews.com
Senegal's army has initiated a new offensive against the separatist rebel group MFDC in the southern region, displacing over 2,000 people. The operation follows a recent attack by rebels that resulted in the deaths of four soldiers and the capture of seven others. The conflict, one of Africa's oldest, has led to significant displacement, with many fleeing to The Gambia. The region's distinct historical and cultural background contributes to the ongoing strife.

Security Experts Discuss Rising Extremist Violence

02 Mar 2023  |  allAfrica.com
Security experts are convening in Senegal to address the escalating violent extremism in Africa, particularly in the Sahel region. Despite significant investments in military resources and numerous forums, the problem has worsened, with deaths linked to Islamist militants rising by nearly 50% last year. The meeting, organized by the U.N. Office for West Africa and the Sahel, the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, and Senegal's Center for Advanced Studies in Defense and Security, aims to evaluate and improve the U.N.'s Prevention of Violent Extremism program. Key discussions highlight the need for regional cooperation and addressing socioeconomic factors to combat terrorism effectively.

Security Experts Discuss Rising Extremist Violence in Africa

01 Mar 2023  |  voanews.com
Security experts are convening in Senegal to address the surge in violent extremism in Africa, especially in the Sahel region, where Islamist militant attacks have increased by nearly 50 percent in the last year. The United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel, the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, and Senegal’s Center for Advanced Studies in Defense and Security are organizing the meeting to evaluate the U.N.'s Prevention of Violent Extremism program and improve regional implementation. Ghana's National Security Minister, Albert Kan-Dapaah, highlighted the importance of inclusive national frameworks to prevent attacks, while a U.N. Development Program report indicated that employment needs are a significant factor in individuals joining terrorist groups. Experts emphasize the necessity of a unified, transnational approach to effectively combat terrorism.

Senegal Opposition Promises More Protests Against Sall

01 Mar 2023  |  www.voanews.com
Opposition supporters in Senegal are planning more protests against President Macky Sall, accusing him of dictatorial practices and seeking an unconstitutional third term. The protests, which began with over 10,000 people in the capital, are driven by dissatisfaction with Sall's governance and economic issues. Opposition leader Ousmane Sonko, facing legal charges, is a central figure in the protests. Amnesty International has raised concerns about the reduction of civic space in Senegal, a country previously seen as a model for democracy in West Africa. Tensions are expected to rise as the presidential election approaches in February 2024.

Africa Tour Important for Macron: Experts

28 Feb 2023  |  www.voaafrica.com
France’s President Emmanuel Macron is on a four-nation tour in Africa to express 'profound humility' and strengthen relations while countering Russia's growing influence. Experts highlight the need for France to win over the youth and address its historical dominance and support for dictatorships. Russia's increasing presence, particularly through the Wagner Group, is noted as a consequence of France's failed policies. Macron's trip aims to align Europe and Africa in the face of strategic threats like the war in Ukraine and economic shocks.

First-Ever Africa Vegan Restaurant Week Held on the Continent

30 Jan 2023  |  voanews.com
The first Africa Vegan Restaurant Week was held with participation from 15 restaurants in Senegal, including Casa Teranga, Senegal's only fully vegan restaurant. The event aimed to promote plant-based dining as a sustainable and ethical choice, countering traditional meat-heavy African dishes. Despite challenges in changing local perceptions, advocates like Dakar native Bashir Niang, Anna Touré, and Nabaasa Innocent argue for the affordability and historical precedence of plant-based diets in Africa. The event saw participation from over 50 restaurants across at least 20 countries, highlighting a growing interest in veganism on the continent.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Yellen Kicks Off Africa Tour in Senegal

21 Jan 2023  |  allAfrica.com
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen began her Africa tour in Senegal, emphasizing the U.S.'s commitment to expanding trade and investment in Africa. She highlighted the interconnected histories of Africa and America, and discussed infrastructure projects, pandemic preparedness, democracy strengthening, and anti-corruption partnerships. Yellen criticized Russia's actions for exacerbating food insecurity and announced U.S. plans to support African climate resilience efforts. The visit follows the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, where President Biden committed $55 billion in aid to Africa. The article contrasts U.S. investment with China's approach, emphasizing transparency and governance reforms.

Senegal Traffic Fatalities Indicative of Problem That Spans Continent

13 Jan 2023  |  www.voanews.com
Two major traffic crashes in Senegal, resulting in 62 deaths, highlight the continent-wide issue of road safety. Africa has the highest rate of road fatalities globally, attributed to poor infrastructure, inadequate driver education, and low-quality vehicle imports. Experts suggest that shifting public transportation business models, improving bus inspections, and better urban planning could enhance road safety. Examples of successful measures include Kigali's speed cameras and Dar es Salaam's dedicated bus lanes.

Senegalese Journalist Arrested On National Security Charges

08 Nov 2022  |  allAfrica.com
A Senegalese journalist, Pape Ale Niang, was arrested on charges related to national security after publishing articles on rape allegations against opposition leader Ousmane Sonko. The arrest has sparked condemnation from press freedom organizations and raised concerns about the decline in press freedom in Senegal. President Macky Sall's potential bid for an unconstitutional third term has also been a point of contention. The incident highlights the tension between investigative journalism and government actions in Senegal.

Historic Senegal Fishmeal Factory Lawsuit Dismissed

04 Nov 2022  |  voanews.com
A Senegal court dismissed a lawsuit by the Taxawu Cayar Collective against the Touba Proteine Marine fishmeal factory, which was accused of polluting Cayar's environment and harming the livelihoods of local fishermen. Despite video evidence and lab analysis showing toxic metals in the local lake and tap water, the collective is considering an appeal or new litigation to shut down the factory. The factory's lawyer, Boubacar Cisse, denies the pollution claims and plans to retaliate against the collective for defamation.

Security Forum Focuses on Stability Challenges in Africa

25 Oct 2022  |  voanews.com
Policymakers worldwide met in Senegal to discuss Africa's pressing security challenges, focusing on redefining international partners' roles in promoting stability. The International Forum of Dakar on Peace and Security, in its eighth edition, saw over 1,000 participants, including heads of state and high-ranking officials. Senegalese President Macky Sall highlighted the need to address the economic crisis and create opportunities for Africa's youth. The forum occurred after France's military withdrawal from Mali and criticism of U.N. missions. With militant Islamic violence on the rise, experts emphasized solutions defined and implemented by local actors. The forum also discussed reducing Africa's reliance on international food aid and increasing resilience to external shocks like the war in Ukraine.

Paradise Untouched: Could Ecotourism Replace Guinea's Mining Industry?

20 Oct 2022  |  Voice of America
Guinea, with its rich natural beauty, has potential for ecotourism that could provide an alternative to its mining industry, which contributes to environmental degradation and poverty. Despite being the world's second-largest producer of bauxite and having other mineral resources, over half of Guinea's population lives below the poverty line. Human Rights Watch reported on the negative impacts of mining, while the Belgian development agency Enabel has launched an ecotourism project in Kindia to develop tourist sites and train guides. Local advocates believe that with proper development, ecotourism could surpass mining in economic benefits.

Guinea Trial for 2009 Massacre Begins On Anniversary

30 Sep 2022  |  allAfrica.com
A trial has begun in Guinea for 11 former security and government officials accused of participating in a 2009 massacre during a pro-democracy protest, where at least 150 people were killed and over 100 women were raped. The trial, which opened on the 13th anniversary of the massacre, has faced numerous delays despite international pressure. Guinea continues to struggle with high levels of sexual violence, and the trial's commencement is seen as a significant step towards justice, though many believe more needs to be done.

US Pledges Support for Climate Change Mitigation in Africa

15 Sep 2022  |  Voice of America
John Kerry, U.S. special envoy for climate, pledged support for Africa's climate change mitigation efforts at a conference in Senegal. He emphasized the need for partnerships and highlighted the disproportionate impact of climate change on Africa. Kerry's visit to West Africa, which included meetings with officials like Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari, aimed to support green energy transitions. Collins Nzovu and Leila Benali expressed their appreciation for U.S. leadership and recognition of Africa's challenges. The U.S. plans to announce further commitments at an upcoming climate conference in Egypt.

Africa: Plastics, Waste Burning On Agenda At African Environment Conference

14 Sep 2022  |  allAfrica.com
More than 50 African environment ministers are convening in Senegal for the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment, focusing on plastic pollution and waste burning. The conference follows significant flooding and droughts across Africa, exacerbating food insecurity and economic damage. Key discussions include developing an international agreement on plastic pollution and addressing the harmful effects of waste burning. Notable attendees include Richard Munang from the UN Environment Program, Griffins Ochieng from the Center for Environmental Justice and Development, and John Kerry, the U.S. special presidential envoy for climate. The event aims to foster global partnerships to tackle environmental issues.

Guinea's Military-Appointed Government Dissolves Opposition Group

12 Aug 2022  |  allAfrica.com
Guinea's military-appointed government dissolved the main opposition group, the National Front for the Defense of the Constitution (FNDC), citing threats to national unity. Critics, including Human Rights Watch, argue this move jeopardizes Guinea's return to democratic rule. The FNDC had called for peaceful demonstrations to demand dialogue among the military, opposing parties, and civil society groups. The dissolution follows the FNDC's protests against former President Alpha Conde, who was ousted in a coup. Human rights defenders and political activists are at risk, and the decision sends a negative message to other West African countries. Guinea's interim president, Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, pledged a return to civilian rule within three years, but this timeline is contested by ECOWAS and the FNDC.

Senegalese Separatists Sign Peace Deal With Government

08 Aug 2022  |  allafrica.com
The Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance, led by Cesar Atoute Badiate, signed a peace deal with the Senegalese government to end one of Africa's longest-running separatist conflicts. The agreement was signed in Guinea-Bissau, though other more aggressive rebel factions along the Gambian border did not participate. Amnesty International Senegal's director Seydi Gassama commented on the need to include these factions for comprehensive peace. President Macky Sall had prioritized peace in Casamance for his second term, but the deal's announcement did not affect recent legislative elections. The conflict has lasted 40 years, causing thousands of deaths and recent displacement of villagers due to military offensives. This is the first time a faction has agreed to disarm, sparking optimism from civil society leader Dame Beye. Casamance is geographically, culturally, and historically distinct from the rest of Senegal, and the rebels are suspected of funding their movement through trafficking.

Photos: 30th edition of Saint Louis Jazz Festival

06 Jun 2022  |  www.aljazeera.com
The 30th annual Saint Louis Jazz Festival in Senegal attracted hundreds of music enthusiasts worldwide, featuring performances from nine main acts, including Senegalese griot Noumoucounda Cissoko and French-Martiniquais jazz bassist Sélène Saint-Aimé. Organized by the Saint Louis Jazz Association, the festival showcased a blend of conventional jazz and traditional West African instruments. Attendees experienced the event's magic and nostalgia, with the main events at Place Blaya and festivities continuing in local bars. The festival emphasized encounters, sharing, and community, deeply rooted in the city's heritage.

Senegal's Dakar Biennale: From red swimmers to floating teapots

23 May 2022  |  BBC
The Dakar Biennale, one of Africa's largest modern art events, has returned for its 14th edition after a four-year hiatus due to the pandemic. The event, themed 'Ndaffa' meaning 'to forge out of the fire,' features hundreds of artworks from global artists displayed across various venues in Senegal's capital. British-Nigerian painter Tunji Adeniyi-Jones and Nigerian artist Tyna Adebowale are among the participants, both expressing how Senegal's culture and spirit have influenced their work. The main exhibit at the Ancien Palais de Justice includes 59 artists from nearly 30 countries and is expected to attract 250,000 visitors.

Burkina Faso: Report - Jihadi-Linked Violence On Rise in Burkina Faso

19 May 2022  |  allAfrica.com
Civilians in Burkina Faso are increasingly affected by attacks from armed Islamist groups and government security forces, with violence escalating since 2016. The conflict has resulted in widespread killings, rapes, and displacement, with over 1.8 million people displaced by February 2022. Human Rights Watch reports new atrocities, including sexual violence against women and the use of child soldiers. The government's counterterrorism efforts have been criticized for corruption and inefficiency, and despite a military coup in January, violence continues. Transitional President Damiba has proposed a new strategy, and there is some consideration of peace talks.

Investor Interest in Africa at All-Time High, But Risks Remain

27 Apr 2022  |  voanews.com
The Private Equity & Venture Capital Association (AVCA) reports that Africa attracted a record $7.4 billion in private capital in 2021, with significant interest in financial technology companies and infrastructure deals focused on renewable energy, transportation, and communication services. Challenges for investors in Africa include currency volatility, small national economies, limited access to finance, and political unrest. Senegal has attracted international investment by passing a 'start-up act' to support innovative new businesses.

Protesters Demand Longer Prison Sentences for LGBTQ in Senegal

14 Feb 2022  |  www.voanews.com
In Dakar, thousands of protesters, organized by ultra-conservative Muslim groups, demanded harsher penalties for LGBTQ individuals, reflecting deep-seated homophobia in Senegal. The country, predominantly Muslim, already criminalizes same-sex acts, but activists seek even stricter laws. The U.N. and various human rights organizations argue that sexual orientation is innate and not a Western import. Historical evidence suggests pre-colonial acceptance of homosexuality in Africa. Despite international pressure, Senegalese leaders remain firm on their stance. LGBTQ activists face severe persecution, with some fleeing the country for safety.

Black Lives Matter Protests Spawn Push for Athletes to Attend Historically Black Colleges

22 Jul 2020  |  www.nytimes.com
Amid Black Lives Matter protests, a tweet by 16-year-old basketball recruit Mikey Williams suggesting he might attend a historically Black college or university (HBCU) sparked significant attention. Williams, a top recruit with offers from major programs like Kansas and U.C.L.A., received 14 new offers from HBCUs following his tweet. This movement reflects a growing push for elite athletes to consider HBCUs, highlighted by North Carolina Central University's offer to LeBron James Jr. earlier this year.

Annika Hammerschlag

15 Nov 2019  |  Annika Hammerschlag
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