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Time to change perception of Africa

Tuesday 8 December 2015, by SIGNIS

Cape Town, Brussels, December 8th, 2015 (SIGNIS/IOL News). South Africa Minister in the Presidency, Jeff Radebe, said the time was ripe to change the perceptions of Africa as just a continent of “doom” and said journalists had a key role to play helping the continent take its rightful place in the world.

Delivering the opening address at the inaugural China-Africa media summit in Cape Town, Radebe welcomed visitors to “one of the best tourism destinations in the world due to its very rich history and diverse heritage as the ‘Mother City’, scenic landscapes, unique biodiversity, meshing of different cultures, unlimited business and investment opportunities, special Mediterranean climate, and many other features”.

Jiang Jianguo, the Minister of State Council Information Office of China, was among several hundred guests which included journalists from Africa and China.

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Jeff Radebe,

Radebe said: “Media owners, editors, journalists, and intelligentsia, you are here to deliberate on a very important and fitting subject matter, that is: A new Win-Win Media Co-operation between China and Africa. As you discuss this topic, you should always remember the critical role and value of media in society as the ‘fourth estate’. At a political level, as most African leaders we appreciate the increasing diplomatic and trade relations with China. I am therefore hoping that as media activists you will be able to strengthen the relationship between Africa and your Chinese counterparts in terms of deepening a new type Sino-African Strategic Partnership”.

“For a very long time, Africa has been branded as continent of doom; only characterised by malnourished babies, poverty, crime, conflict and squalor. Yes, these problems do exist in our continent like in many other parts of the world and their adverse impact is severe to individuals and communities across our land.”

He added: “However, it is also our duty to tell the good story that would help change the negative narrative to an Africa that is land of opportunities and potential; rich with unique cultural diversity and resources that could be harnessed effectively for the benefit of all our people and contribute to a better world.”

He then urged all types of media to take advantage of the new ‘Information Technology Revolution’ that has emerged in Africa. Indeed, more than 80% of African citizens are now connected to cell-phones and related mobile technologies.

Radebe said Africa was one of the few continents that was experiencing continuous economic growth as measured through average GDP of about 5%.

Referencing the African Union’s Development Agenda 2063, Radebe said: “Media leaders are encouraged to draw from this new energy to contribute in their special way to the emancipation of Africans from the chains of poverty, inequality, conflict, crime, corruption, illiteracy, disease, economic plight, and vulnerability to socio-economic risks and environmental hazards”.

He added: “We also invite our Chinese friends to partner with us in championing development in the continent through new business ventures, infrastructure development, media capacity development and many other areas of mutual interest. Together we can take Africa and China forward in positive ways that have never been imagined before.”

He described the media as an invaluable source of independent voice and information for ordinary people and said “our citizens should have access to information that would empower them to assess options and opportunities that would make them determine their own freedom, development and prosperity. Again, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to be part of this historic moment whereby Africa and China are chatting new ways of co-operation towards strengthening and deepening media-to-media relationships”.

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