coverage of the African continent constitutes only 5.6 percent of international news produced by US news media. This 5.6 percent offers for its intended audience little depth in the portrayal of an entire continent. Asya A. Besova, and Skye Chance Cooley, Foreign News and Public Opinion, 2010
While it is hard to fully explain the basis of African media exclusion, the results are devastating. They can be measured in lost investment, lost tourism revenue, lost opportunities to engage Africans in meaningful ways, and a resultant disincentive and demoralization of African spirit of entrepreneurship.
Also, this breeds “a patronizing, well meaning pity” for Africans, says Nigerian author Chimamanda Adichie in “ The Danger of a single story, ” (TED, 2009). The practice begets distortions, fear and discrimination based on ignorance about Africa.
Today, the positive news is that the internet and new forms of communications can help us reshape the image of Africa in the twenty first century.
Positive news is a forward looking attitude, optimism, encouragement, betterment and a progression towards good . Positive news does not mean a disregard for truth and reality. While the press may or may not reflect reality all the time, it does have a responsibility to report both sides of every issue. What is missing, albeit abundantly, is the plethora of positive news stories emanating from Africa? This is where Africa Agenda fits it.
What trillion dollar economy has grown faster than Brazil and India between 2000 and 2010 in nominal dollar terms and is projected by the IMF to grow faster than Brazil between 2010 and 2015? The answer may surprise you: it is Sub-Saharan Africa!, teased Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Managing Director, The World Bank, during a recent presentation at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government(May, 2010).
In recent years, a broad swath of African countries has begun to show a remarkable dynamism. From Mozambique’s impressive growth rate (averaging 8% p.a. for more than a decade) to Kenya’s emergence as a major global supplier of cut flowers, from M-pesa’s mobile phone-based cash transfers to KickStart’s low-cost irrigation technology for small-holder farmers, and from Rwanda’s gorilla tourism to Lagos City’s Bus Rapid Transit system, Africa is seeing a dramatic transformation. Shanta Deverajan, the World Bank’s chief economist for Africa recently wrote on his World Bank blog, Africa Can.
These two examples are not exhaustive of the evidence.
But change and progress throughout Africa; improvements in education, business and democracy, not adequately reported by local U.S. media or reflected in the daily news reports that ordinary Americans get at home, remains an important factor in global education.
Local American communities with strong ties to Africa and with thousands of African immigrant residents, the American nation and the rest of the world, have a right to this information.