AFRICA has been a laggard in infrastructure, and according from the African Development Bank (AfDB), the continent needs to invest around $100 billion a year over the next decade to meet its infrastructure shortfall, a third of which is needed for maintenance.
The need to accelerate investment is clear - one statistic alone illustrates the magnitude of the challenge that lies ahead: it will take Africa until 2080 to achieve universal access to electricity at the present rate of progress, says data from the Africa Progress Panel.
Much of the public sentiment around infrastructure is shaped by the stories in the media about it, and journalists have the ability to highlight the salient issues for public debate and participation.
This is what has prompted the African Media Initiative (AMI) and General Electric (GE) to partner in boosting media coverage in Africa of energy and infrastructure issues. Some 20 journalists drawn from the East African region this October underwent basic training on the energy sector in Africa, and on using sector data to tell impactful stories that will enrich media content and better inform citizens.
The training explored the importance of covering the energy sector, the weaknesses identified in coverage of infrastructure and energy-related issues, as well as the use of data and cutting edge technologies to craft media messages for audiences across all platforms.
Patricia Obozuwa, Director of Communications for GE Africa said the initiative was part of the company’s efforts to support developmental journalism through building expertise in energy and infrastructure reporting.
This workshop was the first in a series of regional training events that GE will sponsor to create an Africa-wide network of journalists specialising in reporting on energy and infrastructure.
Through the programme, journalists are encouraged to publish and broadcast stories that drive the development agenda and clearly outline the critical role that energy and infrastructure play in the growth of national economies.
The African Media Initiative (AMI) is a pan-African organisation that seeks to strengthen the continent’s private and independent media sector, to promote democratic governance, social development and economic growth.
AMI’s overall goal is to promote the development of pluralistic media as a necessary and critical ingredient of democratic governance, as well as economic and human development in Africa.
READ MORE AT: GE Reports Sub-Saharan Africa.