Experts Say Africa Needs Better PR

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Communication professionals from across Africa are resolving to

project a positive image of the continent.

Experts gathered by the 40-year-old Africa Public Relations

Association (APRA) say the Western world mostly focuses on negative

issues in Africa, even while there are so many positive things

happening in the continent.

Bernard Solo, lecturer at the University of Calabar in Nigeria, said

Africa's image has been painted by Western media outlets in particular

as that of a continent that is riddled with strange diseases, poor,

heavily indebted, conflict prone and ablaze in war.

"We have been [seeing] unfortunate stories on Africans drowning in the

Mediterranean, but what we don't [see] is success stories of African

flying back from Europe with PhDs, with MBA's and with Bachelor's

degrees to come back to Africa and start companies that contribute

positively to the development of GDP's of our respective economies.

Let's takeon the few positive aspects on Africa and build up that then

people will start having a different perspective of what is happening

in Africa," said Solo.

Charles Nklonzo from Day Star University in Kenya said the darkimage

of Africa is a result of many of its leaders' failures to assure

governance and accountability and to practice democracy.

He said many African leaders care more aboutmaintaining power than

attending to pressing needs of the people they are supposed toserve.

"When you look at what is happening in Africa, we have Boko Haram, in

east Africa we have al-Shabab, Mediterranean issues around there and

in the south we have the xenophobic issues. These are issues that

leaders must not sit back and assume that somehow they will fade away

tomorrow. For example in Kenya, where al-Shabab is a big issue, how

does my government work to ensure that Kenya is portrayed not just

like everywhere in Kenya is hit by al-Shabab? And the same happens in

Nigeria, the same happens in Mediterranean, even South Africa," said


Tousse, a Cameroonian-born public relations expert, said Africa is

given a horrible image because African states and organizations pay

particular attention to negative issues and neglect to communicate

positivedevelopments on the continent.

He said the Africa Public Relations Association (APRA) meeting in

Yaounde has decidedto work with governments to build a positive image

of the continent.

He said that after more than 50 years of independence for most African

states, it is high time for its people to communicate positively and

sell the image of their continent.

He said there is need for all countries, all civil society

organizations and all African enterprises to manage their reputations

by setting up image building structures managed by Africans for an

efficient practice of public relations.

Bogwa Djeroge, an APRA official in Kenya, said experts are unanimous

in believing that the reality of much of Africa is quite different

from the perceptions outsiders have, and have resolved to work with

the African Union to tell more positive stories about their continent.

"What we want to do is to come up together, telling our own story. Go

to West Africa, there are so many projects that are being initiated,

our tourism industry is booming. We have the most ambitious

infrastructure in Kenya today. If you look at our education system, it

is superb.

We are sending out so many graduates and these are the stories that

we want to talk about. Stories of hope, stories of success, not

stories of despair like have beenexercised by the foreign media,"said


The International Monetary Fund predicts Africa will have the highest

rate of economic growth in the world over the next decade, and

domestic industries and foreign investors are already taking advantage

of this growth by investing in the continent.

Credit: Moki Edwin Kindzeka

Kofi Oppong Kyekyeku

I am a Ghanaian Broadcast Journalist/Writer who has an interest in General News, Sports, Entertainment, Health, Lifestyle and many more.

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