The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) launched a network for Francophone African journalists, dubbed “AfCFTA Media Network,” to enhance the visibility of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), following a three-day workshop held in Dakar, Senegal from 12 to 14 September.
The network of journalists, supported by the European Union, comprises editors, journalists and bloggers from newspapers, online media, radio and television networks. The overall objective of the network is to foster the development of a responsible and dynamic partnership with African Francophone media for the successful implementation of the AfCFTA. Through this partnership, UNECA seeks to actively involve these journalists in informing the population in the implementation process of AfCFTA and raise awareness and sensitize citizens in their own countries through their reporting.
According to Ibrahim Moussa, a journalist from Niger who is a member of this newly established network, “I have to confess that this workshop was very useful for me and for all the participants.”
“Despite the fact that I have been covering AfCFTA activities, it is through this training that I have discovered the real issues, and especially what is expected of us in AfCFTA implementation,” he said.
For Aichath Alédji, a journalist from Benin, said “the idea of establishing an AfCFTA Media Network is very interesting in the sense that it provides us with a platform to share all our stories on AfCFTA. We are used to saying that a journalist’s first source is his or her colleague and today it is a chance to have such a rich and diverse AfCFTA “Address Book.”
He said ECA Experts’ presence in the platform is an opportunity to seize “because we then have a continuous and reliable information that we can partake with our audience.”
ECA had already established a similar network for English-speaking media in March. Francophone journalists urged UNECA to provide a link between the Francophone and the Anglophone network so they can jointly work on enhancing the visibility of AfCFTA.
The establishment of this network is part of the European Union-funded project: “Deepening Africa’s Trade Integration through Effective Implementation of the AfCFTA to Support Economic Integration” with a total budget of 8 million euros.
The aim of the project is to: 1) advocate for the ratification and implementation of the AfCFTA by all AU member states; 2) support member states to develop and operationalize their national strategies and a national plan for effective implementation and monitoring of the AfCFTA; and 3) build the capacity of national and regional stakeholders to implement the competitiveness and structural reforms necessary for the AfCFTA to achieve its intended outcomes.