4 February 2014
Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, in Johannesburg on Monday for the C40 Cities Mayors Summit, announced a US$10-million initiative to support pan-African business and financial journalism and advance transparency, accountability and governance on the continent.
The Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa, a three-year pan-African programme to build media capacity, convene international leaders and improve access to information on the continent, will initially focus on Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, financial news agency Bloomberg said on Monday.
“Timely and accurate reporting of business and financial matters play a critical role in advancing efficient markets and is a key driver in supporting economic and social growth,” the agency said in a statement. “Strengthening business and economic news coverage, expanding training programmes for journalists and providing greater access to reliable data about Africa are frequently cited as important enablers to the continent’s continued development.”
The initiative will provide cross-disciplinary education programmes and mid-career fellowships to increase the number of highly trained business and financial journalists, convene pan-African forums to examine worldwide media best practices, and support research to stimulate media innovations.
The former New York mayor and philanthropist, who founded the agency, said the initiative would “foster collaboration, support professional growth and nurture the leaders who are contributing to the continent’s very bright future”.
In developing and delivering its educational programmes, Bloomberg will partner with the University of Nairobi’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications and the Strathmore Business School in Kenya; the University of Lagos’s Department of Mass Communications and the Pan Atlantic University’s Lagos Business School in Nigeria; and Rhodes University’s School of Journalism and Media Studies and the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science in South Africa.
“The Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa is not only topical, timely, relevant and useful, but it is also contemporary both in structural and conceptual pluralism,” said Dr Ralph Akinfeleye, professor of journalism at the University of Lagos. “By providing rigorous training from best-in-class faculty, media professionals and other stakeholders from the south, east and west African countries, the initiative will positively impact transparency, accountability, good governance and sustainable economic growth on the continent.”
Bloomberg said it also plans to collaborate with the Ibrahim Foundation, as well as international institutions such as UN Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank, on a feasibility study to explore a platform for accessible, comprehensive, accurate and up-to-date economic data and information to promote African development.