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Africa Means Business in Ghana – Business Leaders

August 21, 2012 No Comments »

 A ground-breaking project to bring together journalists and economists to improve public debate on finance and business issues will be launched in West Africa on Thursday.

 Eight journalists and eight economists will swap skills in a series of three-day workshops at Ghana University’s School of Communication Studies.

 The project, called Africa Means Business, is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and run by the UK-based media development agency, Thomson Media Foundation.  The Thomson Media Foundation is the world’s oldest media development agency, having trained thousands of journalists and communication workers in more than 100 countries over the past 50 years.

Other partners in the project include Oxford University’s Centre for the Study of African Economies, the Financial Times’ Wincott Foundation and the Africa Economic Research Consortium.

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 “The idea is that journalists will learn from the economists how to ask searching questions of governments and companies about financial matters,” said the project director, Chaacha Mwita.

 “Economists will learn how to translate their ideas into language which will make their messages more attractive to the mass media, sparking greater public debate on economic issues. 

 “The idea is that, in the end, there will be more knowledge available to help the public hold politicians and companies to account.”

  A similar project was launched in Kenya in May at Nairobi’s Strathmore Business School.  By the end of 2013, a total of 32 journalists and 32 economists will have taken part across the two countries.

 Mark Webster, a former Africa correspondent of the Financial Times, who has devised the curriculum, said the results from the first cohort in Kenya were “very encouraging.”

 “The course has given radio journalists the confidence to launch new programmes discussing economic issues, and an economist has translated his research findings on corruption into a widely-acclaimed newspaper article.

 “Our aim is for the project to have a lasting impact on the way economic issues are discussed in Ghana and Kenya – and eventually across Africa.”

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