TELLING the African story in an authentic manner was not charity, but simple economics, says former Zimbabwean deputy prime minister and newly -appointed African News Agency (ANA) Africa President, Professor Arthur Mutambara speaking at his unveiling in Cape Town on Wednesday.
Mutambara, who is also a charted engineer and international consultant, said that with globalisation and advances in information technologies, news and information about the continent were “much sought after commodities”.
“We have all seen the narrative that Africa is rising, that Africa is the last economic frontier and is poised for high economic and business growth,” says Mutambara.
“How are we covering news on Africa?” he asked. Saying that it was not enough to simply have news that was “impartial, balanced and accurate”, Mutambara said the time had come for Africans to tell their own story.
“Does everyone understand the culture, the politics and history of Africa?” he asked. “There is a need for news about Africa, by Africans and for Africans and for this to be told to the rest of the world. We need to hear the voices of Africans.
“This is not charity, it is economics, ” he added. “It allows one to make better decisions and make more money because the information is nuanced and authentic.”
Mutambara said he was excited to join the ANA project as it was the perfect vehicle to tell the African story.
“Africans understand themselves better and even if the narrative we have about Africa is not correct, then it is the duty of Africans to tell that story.”
He said part of his role was to make ANA the “go-to source” for African News.
“ANA provides a platform where Africans interpret their own stories for the world,” he said. “Consequently, ANA gives the world nuanced and authentic news about Africa, while maintaining the traditional values of truth, accuracy, balance and reliability.”
He added that meaningful news and information would lead to effective business, investment, social and political decisions about Africa.
ANA CEO Grant Fredericks welcomed Mutambara, saying ANA had made “significant strides” since its inception in March 2015 and was well on its way of “realising our vision of reaching more than one billion viewers and readers globally”.
Fredericks said ANA had grown its membership base to over 25 countries and had in excess of 40 media partnerships across the continent. – ANA