African journalists begin workshop on emerging powers’ footprints
The workshop will specifically focus on an independent inquiry into these emerging actors’ footprint in Africa by African media sources, distinct from the views and opinions of the West, which have always largely influenced the outlook and perceptions of key players in the business climate.
Convener of the workshop, the Fahamu’s Emerging Powers in Africa, said it seeks to strengthen the voice of African media in investigating and reporting the impact of such emerging actors like China, India, Brazil, South Korea and Turkey, among others, on Africa’s external engagements and development landscape.
One area of key interest, it noted, is the need to examine how these emerging powers define their roles and stakes in aid, bilateral trade, investment and diplomatic ties with African states.
The project also seeks to examine the overwhelming need for African media to be able to hold these actors as well as African governments accountable to the obligations and action plans signed in bilateral and multilateral agreements.
More so, the workshop will seek to assist media practitioners with important insights and reporting techniques on the general coverage of the emerging powers’ footprint on the continent, especially on how to evaluate outcomes from meetings like the India-Africa Forum Summit and the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit, which come up in China later this year.
Furthermore, the workshop aims to nurture the development of more nuanced insights into how ordinary Africans form their views about these emerging powers. Within this context, the need for greater collaboration and interaction among African journalists for analysis, interrogation and investigation will become more pertinent.
Coordinator of Emerging Powers Project, Sanusha Naidu, said during the opening of the workshop that there has been overconcentration on China in Africa while attention has been shifted from other emerging powers like India, Turkey, South Korea and others in desperate desire to share of the continent.
According to her, there is need not to concentrate only on the bi-lateral agreements between the emerging powers and African countries but also journalists should begin to examine the community-based impact these emerging powers have on their host countries, while also examining the environmental impacts.
She said that stories should reflect the challenges faced by these emerging powers in their bid to invest in Africa and also highlight the kind of businesses that Africans are doing in those countries, especially China.
She queried whether the foreign direct investment (FDI) is achieving the desired goals, such as providing employment and transfer of technology, adding that journalists should begin to ask if these powers’ investments are taking the place of aids.
Equally, Naidu stated that the narrative of bi-lateral agreements with African countries should begin to be broader and address areas of women in business, noting that over 70 per cent of African women transport goods across the borders, since cross-border trade, as it relates to gender, is a serious issue that should be brought to the limelight in order to expose what women go through traversing the continent’s different borders.
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