The two co-chairs work to represent fragile states and development partners, providing strategic direction and leadership for the Dialogue.
H.E Kenyeh Barlay
Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Sierra Leone, co-Chair of the International Dialogue, and Chair of the g7+ group of fragile states.
Minister Kenyeh Barlay holds an MSc (Econs) in Social Planning from University College, Swansea, South Wales and a BA(Hons) Social Studies from Hull University, UK. She is a consummate development planner with over 35 years of experience in the area of planning and economic development, working with both Governmental and International organisations. Minister Barlay’s most recent assignment was as a member of the Executive Board of the African Development Bank (AfDB). As Executive Director on the AfDB Board, she represented the countries of The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Sudan. Her responsibilities on this board were to provide oversight and strategic direction to the Bank Group, as well as over the period of her tenure chairing two board committees, namely: the Committee on Administrative Affairs and Human Resource Policy (CAHR) and Board Committee on External Communications and Annual Meetings (ECAM). Minister Barlay commenced her career in 1984 at the Ministry of Development and Economic Planning (MODEP). In 1997, Minister Barlay became the Director of the African Development Bank Funded, Social Action and Poverty Alleviation (SAPA), which she had designed 5 years prior, whilst at MODEP and was subsequently transferred to the then the National Commission for Resettlement, Reconstruction and Rehabilitation (NCRRR). The SAPA Programme under Minister Barlay’s leadership was one of the most successful, post-conflict reconstruction initiatives of the Government of Sierra Leone.
The programme tackled the issue of poverty through the rehabilitation and reconstruction of social and economic infrastructure (including schools, health Centres and markets), access to finance and skills training interventions focused on women’s economic empowerment. Minister Barlay at the forefront of the microfinance movement in Sierra Leone, became the Director of the NaCSA Microfinance Programme after she successfully transitioned the SAPA programme into a National Microfinance Programme. From 2007-2011 she continued in the field of microfinance policy development and implementation as the UNCDF Country Technical Adviser to the Launch of an Inclusive Financial Sector project, in Liberia. From 2013 -2016, Minister Barlay coordinated the World Bank and JICA-funded West African Agricultural Productivity Programme(WAAPP) for the Mano River Union Sub-region. The programme objective being to contribute to rice productivity increase in the MRU countries through the generation and accelerated adoption of improved technologies, and regional rice market integration. Throughout her career, Minister Barlay has also carried out national and international consultancy assignments in the areas of poverty alleviation, access to finance, women’s economic empowerment and gender equality, land rights, agriculture, and strategic planning, human capacity development planning amongst others.
H.E. Ahmed Hussen
Minister of International Development, Canada, co-Chair of IDPS.
The Honourable Ahmed Hussen was first elected in 2015 to represent the riding of York South—Weston. He has previously served as Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, as Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, and as Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. Minister Hussen immigrated to Canada in 1993 and settled in Toronto. He began his career in public service after high school, working with the Hamilton-Wentworth social services department. Minister Hussen co-founded the Regent Park Community Council in 2002. As its president, he played a key role in securing the $500 million revitalization project for Regent Park, while advocating for its 15,000 residents to ensure that their interests were protected. He was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal for his leadership efforts in the Regent Park community. Serving as National President for the Canadian Somali Congress, Minister Hussen worked with national and regional authorities to advocate on important issues to Canadians of Somali heritage, strengthening civic engagement and integration. His results-driven reputation led to an invitation from the Toronto City Summit Alliance to join a task force for modernizing income security for adults.
As a result of his advocacy work, the Toronto Star recognized Minister Hussen in 2004 as one of 10 individuals in Toronto to have made substantial contributions to the community. After earning a law degree from the University of Ottawa, Minister Hussen practised law in the areas of criminal defence, immigration and refugee law, and human rights. He served as a director on the board of the Global Enrichment Foundation, an organization that has enabled women in East Africa to access education in colleges and universities in the region, and on the board of Journalists for Human Rights, an organization that empowers journalists in developing countries to cover human rights and governance issues objectively and effectively. Minister Hussen also previously worked as a Special Assistant for intergovernmental affairs to former Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, and sat on the Government of Canada’s Cross-Cultural Roundtable on Security.