Ghana has been announced as the next of host of the annual African PR Conference and Award in 2020. The President of African Public Relations Association (APRA), Yomi Badejo-Okusanya made the announcement at the 31st Annual Conference of the professional body which took place in Kigali, Rwanda.
According to him, a consensus was reached at the Executive level of the association in granting Accra, the capital city of Ghana to host the annual event in 2020. Speaking on this year’s theme of the conference on ‘Africa and Storytelling: Changing the Narrative,’ the President said the conference is aimed at inspiring professionals and committed individuals working in public relations, media, brand management, advertising, and integrated marketing to communicate in an ethical manner so that they contribute towards the African narrative. He said the greatest challenge of Africa lies in her story and how it is being told.
He said: “The Governments of Africa must take the task of re-telling the African story a priority. The private sector must create content that tell a compelling story through African brands. The media must work to really counter hard the negative narratives. Thanks to technology, there is no limit to spreading the word to the world because we deserve a place there “But more importantly, we as PR practitioners on the continent must re-invent ourselves to meet the challenges of today’s practice.
We must champion the course of telling this compelling story about Africa. We must know who we are, our purpose and what we bring to the table in very clear terms,” he said. Also speaking at the event, the Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Richard Sezibera, said though Africa is still heavily defined as a dark continent in the media landscape, the negative stereotypes about the continent can still be countered if African Public Relations (PR) experts and practitioners tell the continent’s story compellingly well.
Mr. Sezibera said “if we truly want to change this narrative, we should start by telling the African story, by Africans, in Africa. And it is not enough to just tell our story; we also need to tell it well.” He added: “For far too long, our story has been told by outsiders in traditional media or through today’s digital media. But retaking the control of this narrative will help us counter negative stereotypes that often impede our development.
“Thus, it is crucial that all the key stakeholders involved in telling the African stories meet in conferences like this one to brainstorm on a way forward to empower African PR practitioners as we continue to strengthen our Pan-African voice. “One way to strengthen this African voice is linked to the rise of new technologies on our continent as a tool to redefine the way we are perceived by the rest of the world.
African population has embraced digital technology more rapidly than any other population. The prominence of new technologies on our continent not only affect how we access the news, but also shape our everyday life more broadly.” At the Conference themed, “Africa and Storytelling: Changing the Narrative”, the Rwandan Foreign Affairs Minister, also noted that being able to change the narratives of the African continent is key in ensuring that we achieve our common objectives as stipulated in the “Agenda 2063: the Africa We Want”.
The digital revolution, he said, has created a powerful platform for African PR practitioners to create and tell African stories, adding that the new ways of communicating could ignite a news Afro-positive sentiment through different and multi-directional narratives about our continent.