Our Story

The Africa Institute for International Reporting (AIIR) and The AfricaPaper has two like-minded founders, Issa Mansaray, Director/Executive Editor, and Alieu Sheriff, Business and Political Editor. Both started their careers in journalism as teens covering civil wars in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Both were harassed, threatened, and persecuted by despotic regimes. Sheriff and Mansaray fled their native country, settled in the US, where Sheriff was granted political asylum and Mansaray eventually joined him from Europe, where he spent decades covering Press Freedom in Africa for the International Press Institute (IPI). At the IPI, he helped save many African journalists from prisons.



Sheriff and Mansaray decided to cover immigrant communities in the US that lack adequate coverage from leading newspapers. The AIIR’s publishing arms - The AfricaPaper was born against this backdrop in 2008 to cover all African immigrant and refugees communIties. AIIR also established The WorldPaper to cover immigrant and refugee communities in Minnesota, the Midwest, and worldwide.

The WorldPaper brings high-quality and high-impact professional stories - what AIIR at the time describes as “Serious Journalism.” The idea for The WorldPaper was shelved as the AIIR struggles to raise funds for its online newsroom. The AIIR continue publishing The AfricaPaper for more than a decade without any major funding or grants. The AfricaPaper originally started as an e-publications in 1998 and transformed into a website in 2008.

The AfricaPaper is known among many African immigrants in Minnesota and continues to gain followers and readers across the US and Africa. Leading US publications and television stations including MinnPost, the Philadelphia Inquirer, MN-Fox TV, and The Guardian newspaper, BBC, The Observer and others have referenced the AIIR’s publication - The AfricaPaper on several
key local and international stories.

Editors of The AfricaPaper have been subpoenaed to testify in human rights violations and war crime cases overseen by a US District Court in Philadelphia, PA.



Continuing Public Service

The AIIR partners with the City of Brooklyn Center on several media events hosted at the City Hall, and news outlets in post-conflict countries. As a nonprofit media organization, AIIR depends on grant funding to continue public service journalism in local communities.

The AIIR is a 501(c)3 nonprofit media organization established in Minnesota in December 2011. Its mission is to develop the media in underserved communities across Minnesota and the Midwest, recruit journalists to meet the needs of a rapidly changing media landscape in underserved and post-conflict communities.

AIIR provides media tools that help create high-impact and high-quality reports through investigative, collaborative, and entrepreneurial journalism.



Sharing the Story

AIIR supports this mission with reporting through The AfricaPaper, The WorldPaper, and PhotoWOX (AIIR’s Photojournalism Project). We strongly believe that local communities need vibrant news organizations to bridge the future information gap.

AIIR serves as a vehicle to also enhance human rights, investigative journalism, political reporting in the under-resourced and unequipped media outlets at the local regional and community levels, raise awareness and understanding of issues affecting people of color, immigrants, refugees, and minorities in Minnesota, the Midwest, and post-conflict countries while creating an avenue for the Black, unemployed, furlough, African immigrant journalists and media outlets to report their stories, analyze, share, collaborate storytelling.