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 the senior journalists and media parishioners and 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 an environment that is conducive for frank and open discussions targeted at clarifying what NEPAD means and suggesting specific steps for effectively promoting it at the regional, sub regional and national levels, according the conveners of the meeting.
This will also be an opportunity for the media and partners of NEPAD projects to seek ways of measuring and reporting progress made by NEPAD as well as improving the 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.
The NEPAD, set up by the African Union, provides a holistic and integrated strategic framework for addressing Africa's development challenges. Its primary objectives are eradicating poverty, placing African countries individually and collectively on a path of sustainable growth and development, halting the marginalisation of Africa in the global economy, and accelerating the empowerment of women.
Two of the cardinal pillars of NEPAD 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, championing democracy, embracing human rights, adopting sound macro-economic policies and increasing space for civil society engagement. Also, 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 African media which could explain the overall absence of NEPAD in media.
The Johannesburg Regional Media Dialogue is part of a continuous process of seeking ways to keep African governments and peoples abreast with 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