Nigerian President Mohammadu Buhari has implored public relations practitioners in Africa to fashion out practical ways of turning the negative narratives about Africa all around.
Delivering a goodwill message at the opening of a four-day conference of the African Public Relations Association (APRA) in Calabar yesterday, President Buhari said one key problem centres on the negative narrative that shapes the perspective of Africa.
Buhari, whose message was read by Mrs. Nkechi Ali Balogun of the Lagos chapter of the Nigeria Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), stated, “for this new Africa to emerge, her citizens will have to embrace change. We can no longer do things the way we used to and expect different results. We must modernize by embracing knowledge. Knowledge means education and technology.
The president therefore charged APRA to fashion out practical ways of changing the narrative about Africa, aiding her to fulfill her potentials especially in the area of attracting investment and good balance of trade.
“Africa is often perceived as a continent of strife, war, pestilence, anarchy, corruption and massive poverty .Yes, a lot of these are prevalent but the truth is that there are also good stories about us. Across the globe, Africa and Africa are achieving phenomenal feats in their various endeavors. It is therefore time for us to change that narrative. It is time for us to sell a positive Africa, one that is full of hope for a brighter tomorrow.
‘’I am also charging you to find meaningful ways of advocating the very painful but necessary changes we must make for us to succeed.”
Delivering the keynote address on the theme, ‘Leapfrogging Africa: The Role of Communication,’ the President of the Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote said it is not only exciting but also poses a challenge to practitioners in a key development sector of any modern society.
For too long, he said Africa and its citizens have endured negative profiling by the international media and other communication outlets, largely owned and controlled by the powerful advanced nations, as part of cultural imperialism
Dangote was represented by the Director, Public Communications, Dangote ,Group Mr. Tony Chiejina.