Help Change Africa’s Image – Nana Tells Journalists

President Akufo-Addo explaining a point to Matthew Winkler, Editor-in Chief, Emeritus, Bloomberg at the ceremony in Accra

Journalists on the African continent have been taken to task following its (continent’s) poor image presented by especially the western media.

President Akufo-Addo believes that African journalists can do a better job by changing the narrative about the image and reputation of the continent.

“Our writers, our journalists from the continent, the writers of the African story carry a great responsibility; when you write, what you write must be about the limitless possibilities on the continent. What is written about Africa by African writers must have the ultimate reference status,” he charged when he addressed the ‘Bloomberg Africa Business Media Innovators Summit’ in Accra yesterday.

African writers, the president said, played remarkable roles in the liberation of the continent from the hands of the imperialists, which set the tone for the discourse about African identity.

He therefore noted that African journalists have a duty to help change its image and establish a narrative which is more positive.

President Akufo-Addo acknowledged the strains that media practitioners on the continent have to go through in their quest to disseminate information, including a highly polarised media environment, lack of technological support, limited investment in the sector, poorly paid journalists, threats to their lives, corruption and lack of requisite training.

These challenges, he said, had led to the African media largely shirking their responsibility of telling the African story.

“As a result, the narrative has been shaped and told by foreign journalists through their own lenses and words. The projection of the continent, as a result, has often been about war, disease, poverty and famine,” he said.

The president charged, “It is now for you, our business and financial journalists, to set the tone for the economic development and prosperity of Africa. When our young people do not see a future in their countries, and cross the Sahara Desert on foot and drown in the Mediterranean Sea – in a desperate bid to reach the mirage of a better life in Europe – no amount of beautiful lyrics will change our image.”

“When African economies grow and improve, and its youth get educated and are self-confident and full of hope, the world finds its way to our doors, and the language and history of our countries become attractive to our own and foreign universities.”

In addition, President Akufo-Addo indicated, “When African economies improve and there is increasing prosperity, we will find that more and more people will become interested to invest in our continent, resulting in thriving economies, and the creation of progressive and prosperous nations.”

He was confident that technological advancement and innovations would help change the face of Africa’s media, and present the continent with even more greater control to tell its own story.

“When we master the narrative, we can, then, effectively tell the story about the looting of Africa, and the huge amounts of illicit funds that flow from our continent – funds which, if we are able to control, would be available to finance the development of the continent,” he noted.

President Akufo-Addo however, commended the Ghanaian media for being active in tackling the social ills of the country whilst pushing for the investment that would contribute to the sustainable development of the country.

By Charles Takyi-Boadu, Presidential Correspondent