Barclays Africa Group Limited in collaboration with the Highway Africa Centre at Rhodes University’s School of Journalism and Media Studies gathered journalists from Africa to equip them with knowledge and analytical skills in a bid to help the media industry practice better economic and business reporting.
ABSA and Barclays Africa Group Regional Executive, Tshiwela Mhalantla, pointed out that Barclays have supported the Highway Africa Conference for 11 consecutive years now. She added that the conference is important because it adds impetus to the one bank in Africa strategy.
“More importantly, it signifies the role Barclays plays in the growth and development of an effective media across Africa where we have presence in 13 countries,” said Mhalantla.
She also stated that their long standing partnership with Rhodes University through Highway Africa demonstrates the commitment they have toward the economic and social development of African countries.
She said that they believe that an active and robust media will be best placed to tell the African success stories which characterise our great continent today.
She observed that although democracy is getting entrenched across many countries in Africa, it is still in transition in many other countries. She added that it is for this reason that the role of the media in good governance and democracy is even more pressing today.
“In an era of globalization that is based on the flow of information, in a global economy were knowledge and innovation drive profits, business reporting should no longer be confined to back page advertorials,” said Mhalantla.
She pointed out that it is worth noting that the role for the media as the Fourth Estate is assigned on the understanding that the media will always act in the public interest. She also added that Fourth Estate, like the other three arms of government, will subject themselves to account to the public to avoid the danger of pursuing narrow agendas.
“We believe our combined geographical footprint, our long history and unique capabilities across Africa give us a great opportunity to help facilitate economic growth across the continent,” said Mhalantla.
Facilitating the business journalism master class in Grahamstown, South Africa, Dr Peter Verwij pointed out that data journalism training for business journalists is key for negotiating the rocky landscape.
“The initiative will serve to equip business journalists with new and innovative skills and knowledge that will empower them to tell the African economic development story in a deeper and nuanced manner,” said Verwij.
The 17th annual Highway Africa Conference holds accolades for being the world’s largest annual gathering of African Journalists. The Highway Africa Conference is a project of Rhodes University Grahamstown, South Africa.