Deputy Minister in the Presidency, Nomasonto Motaung, says the communication sector is an important element through which people on the continent can have access to information and are empowered to make decisions on Africa’s development.
“Communicators are called to provide platforms at every possible opportunity for ordinary citizens to make their voices heard,” Motaung said.
Speaking at the Africa Communications Week event held at the Freedom Park in Pretoria as part of activities planned to commemorate Africa Day, Motaung called on communicators to support the national objectives by helping to understand each other’s past, appreciate uniqueness and recognise similarities.
Freedom Park in partnership with Africa-Silencing the Guns with Drums celebrated Africa Day under the theme: Opportunities in Challenging Times.
She said the continent’s progress is often hamstrung by nations operating in silos rather than through a common front.
This year’s theme for Africa Communications Week was informed by the 2023 theme for Africa Day from the African Union.
The annual commemoration of Africa Day marks the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1963.
Throughout the week, various events were hosted by academia, business, government and civil society organisations to foster greater collaboration for growth on the continent.
“Our efforts for this week and in the near future should be therefore viewed as a direct contribution towards the achievement of the AU theme for 2023.
“Today we need to double our efforts to make communicators voice’s heard on how we can use the science of communication to contribute the advancement of our country and the continent.
“Over the past few days, we have had enlightening and enriching discussions that have pushed us closer to the dream of a united Africa,” Motaung said.
Motaung said it is also important to reflect and clarify what the African Continental Free Trade Area is.
“This is a trade agreement to create a single market for goods and services of almost 1.3 billion people across Africa and also attempts to deepen the economic integration of Africa.
“Those who know our history, especially during the period known as the 'Scramble for Africa' between 1833 and 1914 will remember that, at one stage the entire Africa, except Ethopia and Liberia who were only two countries that were not colonialised by Europeans, was once colonialised.
“We however did not despair against Colonialism and never gave up for our freedom hence Africa is the continent of resilient people,” Motaung said.
Motaung said by harnessing the strengths of all 55 nations through the common trade area, African nations can take their rightful place in the world and help uplift up to 100 million people out of poverty by 2035.
“To be relevant and contribute towards the AU theme for 2023 it is probably vital that we must reflect on the role of Communication in Economic Development,” Motaung said.
Motaung said with the help of communication, many eyes have been opened to the resources that were lying fallow.
Africa Communications Week is observed annually during Africa Month, and it is a global campaign targeting and open to all communications professionals with African interests.
Discussions during the Africa Communications Week for communication professionals and thought leaders looked at impacting the current narratives in Africa, accelerating communications through innovation, Africa Free Trade Area agreement communications and effective media platforms.
Africa Day is intended to celebrate and acknowledge the successes of the Organisation of African Unity from its creation on 25 May 1963, in the fight against colonialism and apartheid.
This also includes fighting for progress that Africa has made while reflecting upon the common challenges that the continent faces in a global environment.
Various organizations were represented during the discussions which took place during the week.
Among the attendees was Dr Sello Galane and Freedom Park Chief Executive Officer, Jane Mufamadi.
Arts and craft stalls from various representatives of the African continent countries showcased their merchandise. – SAnews.gov.za
Source: South African Government News Agency