Communicators around Africa have an important duty to take forward the message of a continent of hope, promise and vast potential.
This is according to the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS), Director-General Phumla Williams, who opened the Africa Communications Week 2022 on Monday.

Africa Communications Week is a week-long series of events in 20 countries across Africa. It kicked off today under the theme: “Ahead of the Curve: What’s Next for Comms in Africa?”.

Addressing fellow communicators across the continent, Williams said in preaching the message of hope they can ensure that Africa regains its rightful place in the world.

“It begins by us working together as communication professionals to change the narrative of our continent. The coverage of disasters, famine, terrorism and corruption alone has created a distorted view of Africa.

“It has created the impression for many that the continent lurches from one crisis to another and this has a huge impact on the development of the continent and its people,” Williams said.

She emphasised that the role of communicators is to find ways to shift Africa’s narrative to one of hope.

The Director-General added that there are exciting developments on the continent that need to be communicated to citizens and the world.

“More people need to know that Africa is working hard to improve its capabilities in vaccine and medical supplies manufacturing.

“Earlier this year, we saw NantAfrica, a division of global entrepreneur Dr Patrick Soon-Shiong’s Nantworks, launch state-of-the-art medical infrastructure to accelerate domestic production of pharmaceuticals, biologics and vaccines that will reach users across the African continent,” she said.

It is the largest genomics facility on the African continent and an important milestone in the development of advanced healthcare on the continent. “It places Africa at the forefront of genome research and bolsters the continent’s epidemic and pandemic public health response,” she said.

The Director-General urged communicators to shift their emphasis towards more proactive communication on African issues.
She said this will result in claiming the communications space on key issues facing the continent and is an opportunity to re-frame how Africa moves forward in a post-COVID-19 environment.

Williams further advocated for the communication of Africa’s changing landscape represented by the 462 infrastructure projects on the continent valued at $521 billion.
Touching on several projects across the continent, Williams said the highest number of projects were in the transport sector with 197 projects, the energy sector registered 88 projects while there were 85 real estate sector projects.
“African governments owned 73.8 percent of projects and they were top funders at 31.8 percent. South Africa recorded 37 projects valued at $54.7 billion. It includes the Kusile power plant, Waterfall City Development, Baywest City Precinct, Steyn City development and the Roggeveld wind power project,” she said.
On the economic front, African nations have a chance to build back better as they leverage advances in green and low-carbon energy in pursuit of their growth objectives.
Williams said the African Continental Free Trade Area presents enormous opportunities and the recent adoption of the AfCFTA Rules of Origin covering 87 percent of goods on the tariff lines of African Union member states is a historic breakthrough that demonstrates a commitment to dramatically scaling up intra-African trade.