Media institutions and journalists throughout Africa face
enormous challenges ranging from the need to improve professionalism to
addressing issues of poverty in the media as well as legal and ethical
Participants at the just concluded inaugural meeting of the African
Media Leaders' Forum in Dakar, Senegal had been discussing these challenges facing
the media. The Dakar meeting was co-sponsored by the World Bank.
Cameroonian-born Eric Chinje, head of the World Bank's external affairs
division for Africa, told VOA the Bank and a coalition of donors working through the African
Media Initiative plan to support media sustainability in Africa.
Africa Media Initiative is a multi-donor initiative that will seek to create a
revolving fund that will, like any financial institution, provide loans at
little or no interest but with an administrative fee, may be. The initiative
will also result in the creation of a foundation that should hopefully provide
grants to media institutions, may be in countries coming out of conflict like
in the case of Liberia to help in creating viable media institutions in the
country," he said.
said the African Media Initiative would provide the platform for the
interventions of the World Bank and others. He said there would be a link
between the initiative and the African Media Leaders' Forum to provide some
said even though the media initiative is not a World Bank's own initiative, he
expects the World Bank to play a significant role.
am currently chair of the African Media Initiative Steering Committee which
obviously puts the bank at the center of this whole effort. But it is not the
World Bank initiative. The initiative would be advertising in the coming days
for the position of an executive director who will be based in Africa, will
have a secretariat ultimately in Africa and run the institution from there, but
with an important donor oversight," he said.
said steps have been taken to address the legitimate concern that the contents
of media institutions receiving financing under the initiative could be controlled.
is adequately addressed in the conceptual framework of the African Media
Initiative. As I said, it is multi-donor. It brings in the private donor; it
brings in foundations and so on. So there is no single institution outside or
within Africa that will be the dominant force within the African Media
Initiative. Contributors will include African players, non-African players,
donors and non-African donors," he said.
said clear criteria are being developed through which media institutions receiving
funding would be held accountable.
not going to be a free flow of resources. Requests would be studied and applied
against the set of criteria that have been agreed to. The ultimate objective is
to be able to ensure that, in all the countries in Africa, that we can have on
the policy an appropriate environment for media to operate, on the investment
side that basic access to capital is available to media, on the infrastructure
side, that every serious media house be in a position acquire and use adequate
infrastructure and equipment, and journalists have option when it come to
training. These options should be made available media professionals across the
continent," Chinje said.