Davos, 25 January 2011 – The African continent continues to suffer from a major reputational challenge according to in-depth assessment of leading global televi-sion news. “While this is certainly due to a lack of political will on the side of many African leaders, it is also a consequence of media focusing extensively on crises, but failing to continue the story by reporting on improvements” says Wadim Schreiner, Managing Director of Media Tenor South Africa and one of the editors of the 2012 Africa Growth Report released in Davos. The media research institute, Media Tenor, has been analysing the coverage of leading global media since 2000.
2011 saw widespread excitement about the investment opportunities in Africa, as portrayed in leading media, e.g. the December edition of the Economist entitled ‘Africa Rising’. Better corporate governance, improved regulatory frameworks, are slowly being reflected in the media as well. This is a good sign for a continent that is in much need of the ‘free’ publicity generated by global media. But while foreign direct investment is important and necessary, “the disempowering feeling of de-pendence will remain until structures have been put in place that not only foster African entrepreneurs, but provide regulatory frameworks that allow for sustainable growth and development” says Schreiner. Additionally, those in charge of country branding need to look at using existing resources and budgets more effectively in a media environment even more fragmented than before.
The example of Rwanda, which currently leads the 2012 Africa Growth Index, demonstrates how leadership and international co-operation are bearing fruit for a country still emerging from a painful past. Some of the improvements displayed in the Index are an indicator for hope that eventually, Africa will rid itself of the burden of negative stereotypes. It also signals that with new leaders emerging, political systems are starting to change. “Undoubtedly, the changes in the global economy have proved an opportunity for Africa, one it seems ready to accept” says Schreiner.
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