Cape Times and African News Agency
FORMER Zimbabwean deputy prime minister Arthur Mutambara has been appointed president of Africa’s syndicated multimedia news service, the African News Agency (ANA).
Mutambara, a chartered engineer and fellow of the UK-based Institute of Engineering and Technology, has been tasked with driving ANA’s media technology innovation and the development of strategic relationships and partnerships across the African continent.
Since its launch last year, ANA has made strides and expanded its global audience. Fredericks said ANA was on its way to realising its vision of reaching more than a billion viewers and readers globally.
Mutambara will be supported by ANA vice-president Djenaba Bathily and a highly skilled editorial team based throughout the continent.
The creative and innovative use of technology, smart deployment of both human and financial resources, as well as leverage already on the continent, has set ANA apart from its competitors, said Mutambara.
“Africa is rising. Africa is the last economic frontier. Africa is the latest region of high economic growth and high business growth. “If all these things are true, it means the information and news about Africa is very important. The information and news about Africa is potential serious business,” he said.
Arthur Mutambara, centre, when he was serving as Zimbabwe’s deputy prime minister, seen here with Morgan Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe
Mutambara said there must be context and an understanding of the environment, the community which the information was extracted from, as well as impartiality, accuracy and balance.
Mutambara said he was excited to take on the role of ANA’s president as he was of the view that news about Africa should be by Africans for Africa and the world, adding that with globalisation and advances in information technologies, news and information about the continent were “much sought after commodities”.
“We have all seen the narrative that Africa is rising, that Africa is the last economic frontier and is poised for high economic and business growth,” Mutambara said at a press conference.
“How are we covering news on Africa?” he asked. Saying that it was not enough to simply have news that was “impartial, balanced and accurate”, Mutambara said the time had come for Africans to tell their own story.
“Does everyone understand the culture, the politics and history of Africa?” he asked. “There is a need for news about Africa, by Africans and for Africans and for this to be told to the rest of the world. We need to hear the voices of Africans.
“This is not charity, it is economics, “ he added. “It allows one to make better decisions and make more money because the information is nuanced and authentic.”
Mutambara said he was excited to join the ANA project as it was the perfect vehicle to tell the African story. “Africans understand themselves better and even if the narrative we have about Africa is not correct, then it is the duty of Africans to tell that story.”
He said part of his role was to make ANA the “go-to source” for African News.
“ANA provides a platform where Africans interpret their own stories for the world,” he said. “Consequently, ANA gives the world nuanced and authentic news about Africa, while maintaining the traditional values of truth, accuracy, balance and reliability.”
He added that meaningful news and information would lead to effective business, investment, social and political decisions about Africa.
ANA CEO Grant Fredericks welcomed Mutambara, saying ANA had made “significant strides” since its inception in March 2015 and was well on its way of “realising our vision of reaching more than one billion viewers and readers globally”.
Fredericks said ANA had grown its membership base to over 25 countries and had in excess of 40 media partnerships across the continent.