Telling the other side of Africa’s story

25 November 2008

Unlike the countless publications that try to explain what went wrong in Africa, the latest book on the continent to hit the shelves, Africa – The Good News, looks at what is going right.

Published last week by South Africa: The Good News, the book gives voice to Africans – and non-Africans – who have a different story of Africa to tell.

“It explains why a growing number of journalists, investors and academics are starting to look at Africa differently and describe the continent as one of growth and not just of despair,” says Steuart Pennington, CEO of South Africa: The Good News.

David Fick, author of Africa – Continent of Economic Opportunity, cites the lack of quality information about the continent as the biggest challenge to doing business in Africa.

Africa, Pennington notes, comprises 53 independent countries, five major languages groupings – English, French, Arabic, Portuguese, and thousands of African dialects – and a diverse population of 900-million. In other words: Africa is complex.

“With a geographical size that could house China, the US, India, Argentina, Western Europe, the UK and Scandinavia, Africa is a continent of endemic conflict and growing democracy; of death, disease, despair but also of considerable hope and untapped potential; of desperate corruption and tremendous business opportunity,” says Pennington.

“Importantly, it is not one country, and for every failed state that grabs the news headlines, there are countless success stories waiting to be told.”

Africa – The Good News looks at where Africa is today, where it is planning to go, and its economic, social and political position in a global world. It looks not only at opportunities and success stories, but also investigates what is being done to address the continent’s many problems, from leadership to poverty “and almost everything in between”.

When South Africa hosts the 2010 Fifa World Cup, the world’s focus – that of 208 soccer-playing nations and an estimated 26-billion cumulative television viewers – will be on South Africa and Africa.

And South Africa’s stated aim, from the outset, was to host an African World Cup. “Ke Nako. Celebrate Africa’s Humanity” is the official slogan for an event that offers Africa a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to show the world what it is really about.

Africa – The Good News is fundamentally about hope, says Pennington.

“In that context we have attempted to make this book readable to anyone who is interested in Africa’s perception of itself, the new winds of change that are gusting over her nations, and the growing opportunity in arguably the most ethnically diverse, biologically rich, scenically beautiful continent in the world.”

The book was sponsored by the International Marketing Council of South Africa (the lead sponsor), Dimension Data, Edcon, First National Bank, Microsoft and MTN.

MTN will also be sponsoring the Africa – The Good News website, which will go live in early 2009.

SAinfo reporter

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