The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation is pleased to announce Dr. Joseph Asunka, currently Program Officer with our Global Development Program, will join Afrobarometer, based in Accra, Ghana, in early 2021 as their new chief executive officer. Asunka will lead the pan-African survey research network into its third decade as the go-to data source on African experiences and evaluation of democracy, governance, and quality of life. Asunka will also be teaching at the University of Ghana. The foundation, which is committed to cultivating strong long-term partnerships with grantees, will work to make the transition smooth for our partners and ongoing work in Asunka’s portfolio.
“Joe has made a mighty contribution to Hewlett’s mission, and to improving governance and accountability in so many communities and countries around the world,” said Program Director Dana Hovig. “He has been a wonderful colleague, an outstanding partner to Hewlett grantees and other donors, and an intellectual leader at Hewlett and in the governance community. We will miss Joe, but are so pleased that he will remain a partner with and friend to Hewlett as he takes on this important role leading Afrobarometer. We wish Joe and his family well.”
At Hewlett, Asunka has led a portfolio of grants to increase government transparency and responsiveness to citizens in decisions about how public resources are allocated and used. He previously worked at the Ghana Center for Democratic Development, an Afrobarometer core partner, and was a lecturer in political science at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) where he taught courses on research methods and data analysis, political institutions, and economic development.
The following is an excerpt from Afrobarometer’s announcement of Asunka’s appointment:
From his academic and field experience, Asunka brings extensive research insights on the interplay between government policy, politics, and civil society; a detailed understanding of the policy and funding ecosystem; and a strong commitment to Afrobarometer’s mission of making African voices count in policy development.
“When I was growing up in a remote corner of northern Ghana, government was very far removed from the daily lives of people in my community,” Asunka said. “The only regular experience of government in many communities like mine was through loudspeakers mounted on vehicles of the Information Services Department. …
“That Afrobarometer makes it possible for ordinary Africans, and not just economic and political elites, to influence decisions, actions, and processes at national, regional, and global levels is revolutionary, powerful, and reassuring. Deepening these core contributions and positioning Afrobarometer for greater impact in the next generation will be a major focus in my role as CEO.”