Joan Baxter is a Senior Fellow with the Oakland Institute. An investigative journalist, anthropologist, and award-winning author, she has lived and worked in Africa for more than 25 years — in Niger, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Mali and Sierra Leone.
In 2010 and 2011, under the direction of the Oakland Institute program staff, Ms. Baxter researched and wrote the OI's country reports on large land deals in Mali and Sierra Leone, and contributed features on the issue of large-scale foreign investment in African land to Le Monde Diplomatique, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, BBC Focus on Africa Magazine, and Pambazuka News. For many years, she reported from various African countries for the BBC World Service, Associated Press, and many other international media outlets.
For four years, Ms. Baxter was Senior Science Writer at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), and traveled extensively on smallholder farms throughout Africa and as far away as Indonesia, writing about agricultural development and research. Since that time, she has undertaken research on mining issues in Sierra Leone for Partnership Africa Canada and the Diamond Development Initiative, written about and edited reports on the work of Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in Africa, and worked as a development consultant for German International Cooperation, or GIZ. She has also served as Executive Director of the international non-governmental organization, Nova Scotia — Gambia Association and its Nova Scotia — Sierra Leone Programme. She is a Board member of USC-Canada and its global Seeds of Survival Program.
Her latest book, Dust from our eyes — an Unblinkered Look at Africa, was a finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize in the United States. She is the author of four books on Africa, including A Serious Pair of Shoes – an African Journal (2000), which won the Evelyn Richardson Award for non-fiction at the 2001 Atlantic Writing Awards.