Africa’s Media Must Be Reshaped To Project Continent’s Successes — Adesina

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The President of the African Development Bank Group, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, has called on African financial institutions to support the emergence of a globally respected African media company that will position the news of Africa to the world.

Speaking during the media leaders’ summit convened by AllAfrica Media in Kenya, Adesina said “Africa must shape its own narrative, and not depend on what others think about it or the perspectives they prefer to share about it, its achievements, and opportunities.

“Positive stories of African investment opportunities need to be well showcased, as they unfortunately do not get sufficient coverage, if any at all, in western media.”

He said there were many positive developments in Africa yet the continent continues to suffer misrepresentations which undermine its economic progress and investment potential.

“Despite the significant progress within our continent, the prevailing media narrative often focuses on negative stereotypes, overlooking the substantial advancements and resilience Africa demonstrates,” he added.

Adesina said there was plenty of positive news to report about and highlighted the continent’s economic resilience regional and amid global challenges.

He said that in 2023, Africa’s growth rate surpassed the global average, with 11 African nations ranked among the world’s fastest-growing economies.

Adesina referenced a 2021 Africa No Filter Report, which revealed significant adherence to outdated and negative clichés in media reports about Africa. “It’s time for change,” he declared.

“We must reshape the narrative about Africa to reflect its true spirit and potential,” he said.

He emphasised the critical nature of information and its ability to have a profound negative impact on development and investor perceptions even though an in-depth investigation by Moody’s Analytics had shown the continent was much less of a risk than many other continents.

“We must promote a balanced view that highlights both the challenges and the many successes of Africa. It’s about changing perceptions and showcasing Africa as a continent rich with opportunity and innovation,” he said.

He proposed that the African Development Bank, Africa Import-Export Bank, and all regional financial institutions pool resources to support the emergence of a globally respected African media company that will position the news of Africa to the world.

“The media has a critically important role, by being fair, objective, inquisitive, investigative yes, but also by being a catalyst for development, and promoting positive news about tangible African accomplishments, achievements, and developments,” he said in his address.

Dr Adesina also called on development institutions in Africa to set up a joint repository of verified and standardised stories, videos and content that will make it easier to aggregate and write stories on what is being achieved in Africa.

He also pledged that the African Development Bank, working with partners and the African financial institutions would also help establish the African Journalists’ and Correspondents’ Fellowships to help build and strengthen the capacities of journalists and correspondents working in Africa.

Adesina said the African Development Bank would work with the AllAfrica Media organisation and African financial institutions to establish the prize as part of efforts to promote more positive reporting of developments on the continent.

“Together let us continue to promote Africa. I call on you as leaders of the media, become the vuvuzelas for Africa! Tell Africa’s positive stories,” he urged his audience of media executives from across the continent.

The summit on the theme of “Re-engineering African Media in Times of Critical Transformation” brings together over 300 African media owners and operators, government officials, corporate leaders, academics, civil society champions, and development partners to discuss the business of media and the critical role it must play in shaping Africa’s future.