Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Highlights From The African Renaissance Festival 2014 Held In Durban

The 16th Annual African Renaissance Festival: Africa in Motion

“When Africa is in motion, there is the loud sound of thunder,” said Prof Ngubane, Vice Chairperson and Organising Committee Chair for the African Renaissance, during his opening remarks at the 16th Annual African Renaissance Festival held at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre.

In his opening address, Dr Sibusiso Ndebele, Chair of the African Renaissance commented that this year’s theme, “Africa in Motion”, captures the current, visible state of constant flux which the continent produces, and is produced by it. He added that, “The theme speaks more to the progress that we, as Africans, consciously elect to be involved in to move our countries, and continent, forward.”

Africa is indeed in motion and theme was further expanded under the topics of maritime integration in Africa and infrastructure development as well as in the media and communication sectors.  A constant message by the speakers was that progress means that opportunities exist for entrepreneurs, investors and business people, which should not be ignored.

The important role of the maritime sector in Africa was highlighted by Mr Don Mkhwanazi who said that shipping is an enabler of trade and the future of Africa lies in the ability to trade more effectively and efficiently with the rest of the world. In order to benefit we need to take ownership of the maritime domain. Commander Tsietsi Mokhele, CEO:  SA Maritime Safety Authority  emphasized that the South African government is taking its ”Blue economy” seriously and will unveil a South African Marine Strategy later this year.

The “blue economy”  has huge potential to create jobs and opportunities include  ship building and repair, the building of infrastructure, transport and allied services. Of significance, South Africa needs to build ships which sail under the Southern African flag.

Chris Magagula MD of Bulk Africa Terminal, emphasized that, ”Opportunities exist, the environment exists”, and that entrepreneurs, “need to drive the process, if you wait you are not going to go anywhere”.

Phil Molefe, Executive Chair of the Africa Media Institute, stated that digital migration from analogue transmission is the biggest change that the African broadcast media is currently facing.  Digital transmission offers many opportunities in the increased number of broadcasting channels available. These allow for investment opportunities in new programmes and provide the space to communicate more effectively to niche audiences.

Paula Fray, MD Fraymedia, commented that we also need to ensure that more people including women and people in rural economies have a voice and tell the African story. Journalists need to be trained to write about Africa as well as be taught how to market their stories effectively. She concluded that “We have the opportunity to redefine how we talk about Africa.”

Tim Cohen, Editor of the Financial Mail commented that the media is changing from traditional print to include digital and social media. He emphasized that the media has a role to play in Africa and that, “We live in extraordinary times. Change brings about fabulous opportunity”.

Other highlights included
  • There's nothing that travels further than a good story - Paula Fray
  • The number of female sources in the media is very low - Paula Fray
  • Journalists have to become entrepreneurs - Paula Fray
  • If you ever have the opportunity to visit two continenets make sure you visit Africa twice - Craig Drysdale (Thompsons Africa) 
  • Passengers at Airports want free wi-fi, prayer rooms, exercise rooms, gyms and yoga classes amongst other things. 
  • If you are interested in Airports or Air Travel look out for the 23rd ACT Africa Region Conference Durban 12 - 14 October.

For more information

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