APRA 2015 to interrogate Africa’s reputation, crisis management
THE 27th edition of the African Public Relations Association (APRA) Conference, with the theme, Africa Trending: Contemporary Challenges, Opportunities in Reputation and Crisis Management, has been scheduled for Yaoundé, Cameroon, from May 12-14, 2015.
Announcing this in Lagos last week, the Secretary General of APRA, Yomi Badejo-Okusanya, said that this year’s conference is unique in three ways: it coincides with the 40th anniversary celebrations of our great association; it will strengthen the capacity building of members as this particular conference will be Workshop-driven and it is the first time that the conference will be held in a Francophone country after a long time.
According to him, the theme of the conference is apt because of the image crisis plaguing the continent from time to time, with an allusion of the most recent, the outbreak of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease and the recent Xenophobic attack on foreigners of African descent in South Africa.
“We believe that the African continent stands on the brink of a rise, but has been plagued with several challenges, including lack of development at all levels, even as the continent gains ground demographically as the second most populous continent and economically as the next global frontier.
“There is no gainsaying the fact that Africa is a bright continent with adequate human and material resources. However, after decades of independence, Africa remains the least developed continent in the world. It is often discussed with emphasis on the narrative of the continent as one of war, poverty and disease. It is even referred to as the Dark Continent and African people, no matter their standard of education and achievements, are looked down upon and ridiculed everywhere.
“Africa needs a voice of her own to overcome the negative voices that have overshadowed her own for decades. Africa’s failure to have a voice of her own, tell her own story, sing her song, paint her own images, gives the rest of the world and even Africans a distorted view of the African continent. This has impacted negatively on the socio-economic growth and eventual development of the continent.
He stated that the conference, which is expected to draw attendees, speakers and facilitators from all over Africa, Europe, Asia and North America, will deal with such diverse topics as Global Tendencies in the PR Industry, Developing Communication Strategy, Reputation Management, Effective Internal Communications/Employer Branding, Leadership and Communication as well as Crisis Communication Theory, Case Study and a group crisis simulation exercise.
Enlisted to give talks at the conference are an array of renowned speakers, including HE Mr. Erastus Mwencha, the Deputy Chairperson, African Union Commission; Folake Ani – Mumuney, a seasoned marketer and communicator, who heads the marketing and corporate communications function globally for FBN Holdings Plc, the leading financial services provider in Nigeria, with 12 subsidiary companies spanning Commercial Banking, Investment Banking and Asset Management, Insurance, Microfinance, Private Equity, Mortgages and Pension Fund Custodian Services – making it one of the most diversified financial conglomerates on the continent; Lampe Omoyele, Managing Director, West Africa, The Nielsen Company. Also speaking at the conference is Jeremy Galbraith who, in 2014, was named by The Sunday Times and Debrett’s as one of the UK’s 500 most influential people, and ranked among the top 20 influential professionals in the PR field.
Nkechi Ali-Balogun is a multi-talented industry expert with over 20 years of professional experience in the client and services aspect of Public Relations and Training consultancy proffering value-adding solutions to managerial problems thereby turning issues as they arise into opportunities.
“Professionals in public relations, advertising, branding, broadcasting, publishing, film making, print journalism, new media, and communication generally are expected to make up about two hundred delegates drawn from across the continent and beyond.”
Badejo-Okusanya revealed the group, in better positioning Africa, has conceived a multidimensional initiative tagged ‘Campaign Africa’ to drive home the African narrative; a narrative of hope, renewal and of endless possibilities. He further said the initiative would draw stakeholders from around the continent and beyond in order to facilitate the journey towards a more positively perceived and prosperous Africa.
“To drive this narrative and frame the vision and reputation of the continent for generations yet unborn, the duty has fallen on APRA as reputation and image builders, to steer this ship; to gather under one umbrella, the crop of thriving African corporations and individuals who represent what Africa stands for and the possibilities that abound on the continent and preach the gospel of a positive Africa from as many platforms as possible.
“Campaign Africa is poised to re-introduce Africa as the next frontier for opportunities to investors and business prospects with the aim of showing them what they are liable to enjoy – for a lifetime, as benefits of our re-emerging continent
“We are happy to announce that the Conference is endorsed by the African Union and also enjoys the support of the Government of Cameroon. As a matter of fact, the Prime Minister of Cameroon, HE Mr. Philemon Yang will chair the opening ceremony and also declare the conference open, while the Cameroonian Minister of Communications, Mr. Issah Tchiroma Bakary will deliver the Keynote address.”