African Media to Chart Course for NEPAD News Coverage
Johannesburg, South Africa, 19 February 2009 – Some 50 senior media executives from across Africa began meeting on Thursday in Johannesburg, South Africa, to discuss ways of increasing understanding of and support for NEPAD as a development framework through targeted journalistic coverage.
The two-day dialogue will achieve this by creating opportunities for direct contact between senior journalists and media practitioners, senior officials and decision-makers from the African Union Commission and the NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa’s Development) Secretariat.
The conference is expected to provide a conducive environment for frank and open discussions aimed at clarifying what NEPAD means and suggesting specific steps for effectively promoting it at the sub-regional, regional and national levels, according to the conveners of the meeting.
The meeting also is an opportunity for the media and partners of NEPAD projects to seek ways of measuring and reporting progress made by NEPAD as well as improve understanding of its Secretariat’s functioning.
The meeting has been convened by the UN Advocacy and Communications Cluster in support of NEPAD, with participants drawn from media organizations in all the five regions of Africa.
Set up by the African Union, NEPAD provides a holistic and integrated strategic framework to address Africa's development challenges. Its primary objectives include eradicating poverty, placing African countries individually and collectively on the path to sustainable growth and development, halting Africa's marginalisation in the global economy, and accelerating the empowerment of women.
Two of the NEPAD's cardinal pillars are African ownership and “deep participation by all sectors of society”. The second principle feeds on the first: participation depends on “ownership” which is predicated on a clear understanding of the NEPAD initiative – its goals, priorities, vision and mission.
Over the past six years, NEPAD programmes and priorities have been implemented in many respects. African leaders are managing conflicts, embracing democracy, respecting human rights, adopting sound macro-economic policies and increasing space for civil society engagement. 27 African countries have, so far, acceded to the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), although only three have completed all of the phases.
However, there are clear indications that a large proportion of the African population still lacks clarity and understanding of NEPAD. Furthermore, there is little awareness of the connection of many initiatives in African countries with the NEPAD.
This is largely because, in many African countries, there is little reporting on, and even much less advocacy on NEPAD, its priorities and implementation. This has a direct impact on the goodwill and understanding that the programme needs and requires for its popularisation and sustainability.
On 9 October 2007, a brainstorming session on Regional Media Dialogue identified some of the general challenges faced by the African media which could explain the overall absence of NEPAD in the media.
The Johannesburg Regional Media Dialogue is part of a continuous process of seeking ways to keep African governments and peoples abreast of NEPAD, its achievements and challenges.
For more information, contact:
Bankole Adeoye, NEPAD Secretariat firstname.lastname@example.org
Cheryl B. Larsen, Office of the Special Advisor on Africa (OSAA)
Tel: 1 212 963 8401 email@example.com
Yinka Adeyemi, Information and Communication Service (ICS - UNECA)
Tel: + (251-11) 544-3537 Fax: + (251-11) 551-0365, firstname.lastname@example.org
Emmanuel Ngwainmbi, External Relations and Communication Unit (AfDB)
Tel: +216 7110 3568 email@example.com
Rawda Omar-Clinton, NEPAD and Regional Integration Division (NRID - UNECA)
Tel: + (251-11) 544-3363 Fax: + (251-11) 515-3005, firstname.lastname@example.org