African broadcasters’ initiative to promote culture, music

A new initiative by African Union of Broadcasting (AUB), which was launched yesterday, is expected to promote music and culture across the continent.
Gnakouri speaks at the African Union of Broadcasting meeting in Kigali. Timothy Kisambira.
Gnakouri speaks at the African Union of Broadcasting meeting in Kigali. Timothy Kisambira.

A new initiative by African Union of Broadcasting (AUB), which was launched yesterday, is expected to promote music and culture across the continent.

It was launched during the first day of the 11th General Assembly of the union in Kigali.

Dubbed ‘Rise and Shine Africa’, the union’s flagship project is aimed to advance the continent’s current agenda to promote locally produced content, and it is expected that this will help change the wrong narrative about Africa.

While officially launching the initiative, Jean-Luc Gnakouri of Ivorian National Radio & TV (RTI), highlighted that the pan-African programme would also contribute to strengthen exchanges among African countries.

“The aim of this important initiative is to promote music and culture on the continent, but we want to ultimately reinforce the entertainment mission of broadcasters, encourage exchanges and cooperation between the AUB Member Organisations, and enhance the reputation and the visibility of the union,” he said.

According to the official, Rise and Shine Africa will be a musical event which will be hosted in Ivory Coast. To this effect, the signal of the event will be made available to all member organisations via satellite for live or delayed broadcast.

The programme will be in form of a competition in which public broadcasters from different countries in Africa will select representatives after which they will travel to Ivory Coast to compete. The whole programme will take up to four months.

“We chose music because we believe it is a universal language that every African can easily understand. It is also something that has the power to truly portray what Africa is about,” Gnakouri noted.

The jury that will choose the top competitors will be made up of renowned artistes and personalities in the music industry representing the five geographical and linguistic zones of the continent. They include Alpha Blonde, Fally Ipupa, Sarkodie, Lokua Kanza, and Yemi Alade.

African radio and television broadcasters, throughout the deliberations which started on Monday, said it was time Africa tells its own story.

Gnakouri said the initiative was fitting into the commitment that the broadcasters had given themselves to up their game in realising the urgency of telling the continent’s story.

But to realise this, participants from 46 African countries were pushing for rapid transition from analog to digital broadcasting that most believe could give African broadcasting a competitive edge.

AUB’s director-general, Grégoire Ndjaka, said that the transition to digital broadcasting would address culture and content concerns, allowing the broadcasting of more channels and opening for more options of content production.

“It [the transition] would accelerate the supply of African content and consequently ease the cost of production. But, more importantly, we would easily promote African values and identity,” he noted.

Rise and Shine Africa is just one of the several ambitious projects that the union is planning to pursue. It was disclosed that ‘AUB Bouquet’ would soon be set up. It will be a satellite bouquet that will enable African Diaspora households to be equipped with a satellite dish to easily access African TV programmes.

At the meeting which ends this Friday, participants also emphasised that Africa ought to change its economic plot when it comes to the increasingly changing broadcasting business.

“While we continuously speak about [radio and television] programmes, our competitors are speaking about products. While we speak about viewers, they speak about markets. This is also the economic thinking that we must have in the broadcasting sector,” said Kwame Akuffo Anoff-Ntow, the president of AUB.

Members also suggested setting up a pan-African media outlet, an idea that gained momentum after President Paul Kagame, the current chair of the African Union, agreed to support it.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

 

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