2018-02-04 15:13:13 UTC
According to Ethiopian government figures, the summit was attended by "more
than 10,000 delegates from all over Africa and observer/partner countries,
49 heads of state, the UN Secretary-General, and Arab League officials".
Someone should start telling Africans how much the summit actually costs
and why 10,000 people have to be flown in for the 2-day event.
One other untold aspect is that there were close to 680 journalists from
all over the world.
While all journalists are welcome, African journalists probably make a tiny
minority of the 680 journalists. Some African countries might not have even
sent a single reporter.
In my opinion there were some very interesting resolutions arrived at
during this summit. Issues that should have been celebrated, or at least
publicised more vigurously around Africa for the continents peoples to
comprehend and own. Yet it appears that our media barely glossed over these
Besides the summit theme on fighting corruption, a significant protocol on
the free movement of people (or travelling with fewer visa restrictions)
was signed. Also, a special summit was announced for March 2018 on the
Continental Free Trade Area which the AU is close to adopting.
More interesting was the Single African Air Transport Market, a flagship
project of Agenda 2063, which could change air travel within African
countries. It will for example make it easier to fly more directly between
African countries (and not via France/UK to connect to some African
As all economists know, the easier it ease for people, goods and services
to move within an area, the greater the economy of the area becomes.
Migration was on the agenda too. The AU "worked closely with the European
Union and the United Nations to repatriate illegal migrants and save them
from the kind of abuses reported in Libya last year" a report read.
Almost 13,000 migrants had been returned home since the AU-EU summit three
months ago (in November 2017).
What do Africans think about these issues? Why aren't the people being made
to own and comprehend the greater impact of some of the progressive issues
Why aren't Africans being made to get more involved in what takes place at
the AU? Why isn't the African media holding the AU more accountable for its
actions and costs yet the Organization recently adopted a new reform blue
print that is intended to increase administrative and political
efficiencies as well as make the AU more self-reliant.
Obviously the continents media is fragmented and not giving important
progressive African developments the attention and scrutiny they deserve.
Even when it comes to the continents problems, African media houses tend to
depend on the western media for a certain calibre of stories while local
journalists get constantly carried away by other sometimes unproductive,
irrational, or inconsequential issues which they then give endless
The simple advice to the African Union is to seriously consider creating an
independent, free to air African news network of global proportions
comparable to the BBC, RT, or Al-Jazeera English. One platform that serves
Africa's interests, helps unify the continent and is driven by some of the
ideals of the Pan-Africanist forefathers and the African Union core
In this age of new media and the technological novelties cheaply available,
such an enterprise, broadcasting under minimum international standards, is
not as costly as it might seem. It can be based anywhere on the continent
and not necessarily at the AU headquarters.
As a former media expert I know this can be achieved. It is not the
management knowledge or technical competence that lacks on this continent.
What it requires first is the political well.
More importantly, Africa needs to be able to start telling its own
important stories. Not to always be told about ourselves by other
continents neo-colonialist media agenda's.
By Hussein Lumumba Amin