Seye Joseph and Lilian Ezejelue
According to Independent UK, Africa has been described as the second-fastest-growing region in the world with average annual growth of 5.1 per cent over the past decade, driven by greater political stability, economic reforms and technological advancement that have unleashed the private sector in many countries with about 60 per cent of the world’s unused cropland, providing it with a golden opportunity to simultaneously develop its agricultural sector and reduce unemployment.
These axiomatic facts among others are the major indicators that is responsible for diverting the attention of the entire globe to happenings in Africa.
Among those who have shown interest in economic development of Africa is Michael Blomberg, an American business magnate, politician, philanthropist and founder of Bloomberg LP who was 108th Mayor of New York City – Read More.
With the major role journalism is playing in economic development of Africa, Bloomberg has collaborated with a consortium of pre-eminent journalism schools and top business schools across three key African markets to deliver a highly innovative, integrated and practical world-class executive training program that is firmly rooted in African market realities.
According to him, African countries have started attracting investors and companies from within and outside the continent to create jobs which will help to raise living standard in the continent.
“We launched the Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa www.bmia.org to support great business and financial journalism in Africa and to bring more transparency to African markets by helping government and business the way they gather and use financial data.
“The program was founded on simple idea that financial information and data leads to more transparency to help investors make better decisions that leads to economic growth and opportunities, that premise has guided our companies for more than 30 years. Bloomberg today has more than 2400 journalists in 150 bureaus around the world”, he said.
He explained through a video podcast that the initiative executive training program offers unique world class education for practicing journalism and journalists students to shape global economy, media landscape and give participants the opportunity to learn from leader, academia, business and government.
“We are shaping African future. Bloomberg is committed to be part of that future and we are glad to be working with outstanding local partners on Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa.”
The program that is value at $20, 000 for each participant is being run concurrently in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, Ford Foundation under the consortium of University of Pretoria, Rhodes University, University of Nairobi, Strathmore Business School, University of Lagos and Lagos Business School.
Joe Agbro, a reporter from The Nation Newspaper is one of the participants who appreciates the effort of Bloomberg Initiative for setting up the idea to train journalists in financial reporting.
“One thing I’m taking away from this training is that there is more reliance on data which will differentiate the profession from those who are not in financial reporting because part of what we are being taught is how to present data for effective business reporting. This training makes us to know what professionalism mean in business reporting.”
To Patience Okhuese, journalist with Edo broadcasting Service revealed that all what she knew before coming to the training was just surface journalism.
“I didn’t understand what financial journalism was really all about. My expectations coming was to be grounded and to be able to do so much as a journalist in terms of holding the government accountable because that’s like a big issue in Nigeria.”
She said that what she got from the training is different from other training she has been involved in before.
“What we are being taught here is deep, it is a real classroom and it met my potentials. The content delivered by the lecturers is detailed, the assignments as well”, she said.
Marcel Mbamalu, News Editor at The Guardian commended the idea behind the initiative as what is needed in Africa at a time like this as it affect the economy and the common people in the streets.
“As an editor, I am learning new things here on how to gather data, analyse it and present it to the people in the way they will understand.”
He mentioned that he will return to the news room after the training to impact other people on what he has learnt from the training.
One of the facilitators at the training, Prof. Leo Ukpong, a Professor of Financial Management from University of Uyo said that the program is through the goodwill of Bloomberg that have been engaging in business news reporting, collecting reliable data to back business and financial news, with the intention to help Nigerian journalists upgrade their skills of financial reporting to back up their news, and to deliver it effectively to becoming useful and to help the public get information through the journalists to make better business decisions.
He said that participants will at the end of this program acquire knowledge that will make the citizens to take informed and better decision when doing their business through the skill they will be acquiring. According to Ukpond, the participants will be given a diploma certificate that will be jointly given to them by University of Lagos and Lagos Business School.
“We are hoping that through the knowledge they will acquire the citizens will be able raise the awareness of our people in scrutinizing public policy and again we don’t want some of them to be employed by Bloomberg.”