JOHANNESBURG- African News Agency (ANA) partnered with other African media organisations in an attempt to construct a standard African agenda.
The agreements were signed between ANA and media entities from East and West Africa and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region in an effort to build a common news platform across the continent to take the African agenda to a world-class standard.
“Africa should tell its own story, and for many years, if not generations, Africa had relied on the West to define the narrative for Africa. When I was contacted by your agency, that we should become one of your partners and have an exchange of stories within Africa that can provide a narrative for Africa, I got very excited,” said Leonard Chikadya, managing director at Times New Media Group based in Malawi.
He added that being a partner with ANA would “give us a platform to be able to share what Malawi is offering to the rest of Africa and we can also benefit from some of the partners who are in the network and… share those stories; this West media that I’m talking about will start getting these stories from us and that can change the whole narrative”
Carol Annang of New Times Corporation in Ghana, expressed her excitement about the “brilliant idea and it was the best time to begin a partnership like this” where information about African countries could be shared.
“Because that’s what will let the rest of the continent know about what is going on on the continent. Africa needs to create its own platform where we can tell our African stories. What that means is that it will require us putting effort into looking for investments, because if we are going to depend on platforms that are created by others, they are created to suit them, but if we create our own platforms that suit our agenda and make sure that our story is told the way we want to tell it,” she said
Zambia Daily Mail managing director Chapadongo Lungu said: “It is time that we break away from the tradition of having a certain [section] of the media driving our social-economic agenda. It’s time that we own this agenda ourselves… because we understand the culture and everything else about Africa better than anyone else who tells the story of us.”
Aly Ramji, managing director of the Exchange in Tanzania, said it was a unique opportunity to form a relationship with ANA, especially given the fact that Africa today was in the “limelight” of the international community.
Namibia Press Agency (Nampa) chief executive Isack Hamata said: “We are signing a new agreement which is richer than the previous one. We are happy with the first one, but what we have agreed on is that instead of doing news exchange, we are going to incorporate the issue of staff exchange. In fact, for the past six months we have had somebody from Nampa attached to ANA to be trained in business reporting and now we would like to further that relationship beyond just news exchange,”
Grant Fredericks, the Chief Executive of ANA said they were attempting to open up doors to opportunity, partnership, innovation, and possibilities.
According to Fredericks, he believed that the partnerships were just a beginning of “something great and it forces us to stand together and share each other’s content about our respective countries and work together towards defining a clear African narrative and not allow our narrative to be defined by other media companies outside of Africa”.
“Let’s change the narrative. Let us tell our own stories, in our own way, that our people will believe us, trust us, and buy us. That the world will see news from Africa by Africans as being of world-class standard,” Fredericks concluded.