The African media has a key role in ensuring that people from the continent regain their Pan-African consciousness and positive attitude about their continent.
The statement was made by the Minister for Local Government, Francis Kaboneka, while addressing the Pan-African Movement conference in Kigali yesterday.
He said that it was high time African leaders found a way of empowering the local media to change the narrative about the continent.
“We should use our media to tell the true African story contrary to foreign narratives that portray Africa as a poor continent full of all misfortunes and can only survive on Western aid,” Kaboneka said, adding that the concept had gone into people’s minds who feel they were incapable yet the continent is the most resource-rich in the world.
There was a common agreement that media shapes the culture of a given society and therefore African media should position itself in a way that African content dominates the continental market to benefit Africa’s transformational agenda.
“No nation has ever dominated another until it can culturally dominate it,” said Brian Kagoro, Regional Programme Advisor for UNDPs Africa Governance and Public Administration Programme.
Sports and Culture minister, Julienne Uwacu, noted that it was imperative that the African community consumes content “that is beneficial to us.”
However, Arthur Asiimwe, Vice-President of Africa Union of Broadcasting (AUB), challenged leaders to make required investments in the media if the continent is to have an influential media base that will shape the African conversation and culture.
“If we are to have something like CNN or Aljazeera of Africa, a substantial investment is needed,” Asiimwe said.
Experts in governance have argued that there was also need for African countries to stick to home-grown solutions in addressing transformation impediments rather than copying practices from other continents that do not necessarily apply to the local context.
Prof. Adebayo Olukoshi, an expert in international relations, governance and human rights, noted that there was need to redefine the African history, curriculum and the policies and ensure that they best suit the African context and capture the reality and needs of the continent.
“We should regain our Pan-Africanism consciousness and we will then see very positive repercussions to our own development. Pan-African Movement Rwanda Chapter is a good example. It reminds us that a politicised Pan-African Movement, which talks about consciousness, ideological framework of Africa, solidarity and trade between African countries is important,” Adebayo said.
“We should cut the copy-paste mentality on governance models from Western countries. There’s a need to revise the governing models we currently have in Africa. If you think, breath and dream Africa, it should not be difficult for you to communicate, trade and interact with other African countries. If we Africans see nothing good about ourselves, no one else will do it for us”.
Rwanda Governance Board’s CEO, Anastase Shyaka, echoed Adebayo’s comments saying that once home-grown solutions become part of the African culture, the continent’s prospects of addressing its own problems will become a reality.
“Home-grown solutions will bring about internal mechanisms to addressing them and self-reliance of our minds. Home-grown solutions should not be a matter of paper and design but concrete solutions to be implemented by the people in addressing our own issues. That is Pan-Africanism,” Shyaka said.
Minister Kaboneka added that: “We continue to look outside for solutions which have led us to laying ourselves bare to forces that may not necessarily wish us well”.
He noted that for the continent to succeed in terms of political governance and stability, there was need to jointly work together to promote visionary, selfless and inclusive leadership.
The conference was organised by the Pan-African Movement - Rwanda Chapter (PAM-Rwanda) as part of the weeklong activities to celebrate the Africa Day, which was marked yesterday.