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AU engages press attaches’ of member states

…aims at broadening knowledge about the AU in view of Agenda 2063

June 7, 2016 By Joseph S. Margai

In an effort to broaden the outreach and expand the knowledge of the African Union’s view about Agenda 2063, the Directorate of Information and Communication (DIC) of the Union has held a two-day pre-summit workshop with press attaches’ and focal persons in communication.

The aim of the workshop was to strategize ways of implementing the AU’s communication strategy 2014-2017, as well as broaden knowledge about Agenda 2063, which is the unique framework for Africa’s development and integration.

According to the Director of the Directorate of Information and Communication (DIC), Ms. Esther Tankou , the Agenda 2063 covers a wide range of issues gearing towards the development of Africa.

 She added that there were seven aspirations in the Agenda 2063 and flagship projects that the AU hopes to achieve in the next 50 years.

“The aspirations include the socio-economic developments covering agriculture, youths and women’s empowerment, girl child education, among others. The AU is a people’s centered organization and the press attaches’ will be engaged on how to package the AU’s view on Agenda 2063 in order to help it reach to the rural communities in their respective African countries,” she said.

She said whenever Heads of States meet to discuss issues that benefit the people of Africa, resolutions derived from their discussions should be taken to the common man in rural communities of Africa.

The AU’s DIC Director said Western Media used to tell Africans stories that they didn’t have knowledge about, adding that it was now time for Africans to tell their own stories in a way that would bring unity and progress to the continent.

She said the pre-summit workshop held in Sierra Leone was a symbolic one because Sierra Leone has once held the AU conference at Bintumanu Hotel in 1980.

Representing the Chairperson of the Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC), Doradji Ketong  said it was important to recall with satisfaction that despite the Ebola epidemic, Sierra Leone continued  to stand tall in her development strides.

He said the Heads of State during the 50th golden jubilee, while acknowledging the challenges that the continent faces, made solemn pledges which included  the integration agenda, social and economic development, peace and security, determining Africa’s destiny, among others, adding that the pledges should be imbibed into their national agendas  to achieve the AU’s vision.

“The AU’s objective of Agenda 2063 is the growth of Africa in the next 50 years as well as learning from lessons of the past 50 years. The effective implementation of the Agenda 2063 at national and regional levels is pivotal to the development of Africa. The national media as well as stakeholders at national levels have a role to play in this,” he said.

He said the level of Africa’s communication infrastructure was far from the wish of Africans but with determination, the level will meet the people’s wish.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Mohamed Gibril Sesay said the way   in which communicators of Africa’s premier institution and the African Union would tell the story of Africa, would reflect how the Union will be seen by the people of Africa.

He added that for far  too long, Africans have allowed others to tell their stories and most of them have told Africans stories badly to an extent that many people thought  only bad things happen in Africa.

“But what I see are also stories of good people who love their families, farmers who work hard to feed the continent, women leading the African Union, democracy taking roots, youths taking over their countries’ destiny by being the most technologically proficient Africans ever. Africa is not only about wars, diseases and corruption; it is also about resilience, progress, activism, development, and compassion. A continent of neighbours and families helping each other,” he said.

 “I have not seen other continents telling the bad sides of their stories more that we do. Every continent has its own mess but when we concentrate on the mess, you degrade yourself, you obscure your own goodness and lose confidence,” he noted.

He called on communicators to showcase the vision of the AU to Africans, adding that they should show that the AU is a union of African people and not just of states.

He noted that the AU was dedicated to ensuring that African rulers obey the voices of their people, uphold the tenets of democracy, and protect human rights and foster development.

Deputy Minister of Information and Communication, Cornelius Deveaux said Sierra Leone has played and still playing a leading role in the quest for one Africa, as has been eloquently advocated for by leaders including Kwame Nkrumah, Samora Machel and all those who weathered the storm to set the stage for today’s accomplishment.

“It is an obligation on this current  leaders of Africa to do things differently to take advantage of the current momentum towards realizing the full compliments of the Agenda 2063, which strives for an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena,” he said.

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