Media and Development in Africa
The African Union Commission and the European Commission jointly sponsored the MEDIA & Development Forum from 11 to 13 September 2008 on Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), in partnership with the Commonwealth, the Community of Portuguese-speaking countries (CPLP), and the International Organization of the French-Speaking World (OIF).
On the basis of their discussions during several panels and contacts, the joint roadmap for action has been signed, which identifies principles and sets out practical lines of action for the short and medium term.
African Union Commission together with the European Union Commission and media experts had drawn up its 'modus operandi' and the time-table for its establishment in order to gather concrete proposals, assessment and critics that can be taken in account before delivering a final project. During the open consultation lots of valuable comments were received from interested organizations, institutions and individuals.
African Union Commission thanked all participants of the open consultation. The European Commission, as a partner within the framework of a joint Africa-EU strategy, is participating in reflection and supports this initiative.
From 23 to 25 March 2010 media experts have met in Addis Ababa to discuss the idea of a Pan Africa Charter and Pan-African Media Observatory project. Its objective should be to produce and to communicate information, to promote and to guarantee the pluralism and the development of African media. The report of this meeting presents the spirit of reflections and discussions that took place.
Media which benefits development
In today globalising world everybody agreed that media plays an important role in providing information. The question though remains what kind of information is spread out and what kind of information we need.
Media can play an important role in development and there are already examples which started since the Media and Development Forum in Ouagadougou:
- the EU will support Zambian government with €7,4 million during the period of 2009-2012 Zambian Electoral Cycle, focused on training for journalists on election reporting, media monitoring and peer review mechanism;
- in Madagascar, the rapid alert system through radio broadcasting has been launched to allow local populations to prepared better against disasters and to improve natural resources management and thus reinforce food security.
There are also other examples of what media can do for development, without the aid donors:
- in Ghana the trade portal NET offers price of agricultural products on mobile phones in various languages including local ones, settling a relationship between buyers and sellers;
- in Mali a partnership has been forged between local radio stations and the "Observatorie du marché agricole". Radios broadcast product prices, inputs and agricultural equipments and publish them on mobile phones.