African Public Relations Association (APRA) is preparing the African continent for impending economic boom, especially as Europe faces economic challenges and Africa with untapped abundant resources becomes the cynosure for international investors
The first leg of the groundwork is the association’s conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, early May at the headquarters of the African Union with the theme ‘Rising Africa: The imperative of communication.’
The topic was well considered when viewed against the background of Africa’s growth potential. “Often described as the last frontier, no other part of the world is experiencing the current double digit growth that Africa is recording,” Yomi Bodejo-Okusaga, secretary of the association, told BusinessDay.
It is his belief that as Western economies continue to falter, there are bound to be even more investments from the West and Asia, especially China flowing into Africa. “In APRA, we believe that it should leave us on top. Our engagements with foreign investors should be mutually beneficial and we must not make the same mistakes of the past. In order to achieve this, communication, both internal and external will be key,” Badejo-Okusaga said.
According to him, the ultimate goal of the conference where the President of Ghana John Dramani Mahama will deliver the keynote address will be to set a communication agenda for Africa. The conference will produce a roadmap for positioning Africa in the global context, he said.
For Badejo-Okusanya, the choice of Ethiopia for this year’s flagship event is not accidental. It is strategically chosen to enable APRA get closer to the seat of the AU, especially as the organisation marks 50 years of its existence.
“In fact, you will be pleased to know that the first All Africa Public Relations & Strategic Communication Summit has been designated as one of the official events to mark the 50th Anniversary of the African Union, a fact which we are immensely proud of,” he said.
It is a very glorious moment for public relations in Africa to be recognised at the very highest of levels on the continent, he noted, saying to this end, the 2013 APRA Summit had earned the recognition and support of the African Union Commission whose deputy chairperson, His Excellency, Erastus Mwencha opined that the summit was even more timely as the Commission was in the process of building a continental communication campaign that defines the true essence of Africa, Africans and the Union, an initiative he hoped APRA would play a significant part in.
In line with this, Mwencha called for greater collaborative effort between the AUC and APRA, asking that the memorandum of understanding between both organisations should be executed swiftly.
Delegates and speakers are being expected from all over Africa, Europe, Asia and North America, and the conference will deal with such diverse topics as ‘Public Relations & Public Governance in Africa,’ ‘Leveraging Modern Social Media Trends in Africa,’ Setting the Communication Agenda for Africa,’ ‘Business Intelligence as a Tool of Public Relations,’ ‘Setting the Communication Agenda for Africa in the Global Context,’ ‘Media & PR in Africa,’ ‘Enhancing National Security Through Communication,’ ‘Engaging Communication in Financing Africa’s Growth,’ Africa’s Positioning Through Sports, Leisure & Tourism,’ among others