‘Commit resources to promote local savings and investments in Africa’

THIS year’s Data Journalism Master Class has opened in Grahamstown, South Africa with a clarion call on the media in Africa to commit greater passion and resources to promote local savings and investments on the continent, rather than toiling to woo foreign companies.

About 20 journalists selected from West, East and Southern Africa countries, including Ghana are attending the three-day event which is supported by Absa Group Limited and the Highway Africa Centre in collaboration with the Rhodes University, Grahamstown.

The workshop is expected to map out the different routes in the data journalism landscape, using cases as sovereign debt crisis, financial inclusion, and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth to social development, and also analyse data by calculating key figures and visualise trends in various graphs to produce stories for newspapers, television or online.

It coincides with the Barclays Africa Group brand and corporate name change event.

Presenting a paper on ‘Finance and Economics in Africa’ on Monday, Chief Economist and Head of Research of the Absa Group, Jeff Gable said that it was time journalists in Africa contributed to the growth of local businesses in their countries by highlighting the trade opportunities in the very simple language to the understanding of the ordinary man.

“Global financing conditions are tightening up, for which reason borrowing will cost us more and more of our taxes would only go to service loans.

“The rest of the world is focused on the negativities of Africa such as human tragedies in the Horn of Africa, migration crisis and other challenges, so let us rather encourage discussions make it easier for the local business to grow and keep the money in their own countries so that we do not borrow,” he told the participants.

Still on financial reporting, the chief economist of the Absa Group noted that the language used by African journalists in financial reporting had for far too long served little purpose as it was far beyond the grasp of the ordinary man.

For instance, Jeff Gable said that reporting on local business activities and taking bold steps to address their challenges would serve a much better purpose than reproducing International Monetary Fund (IMF) press releases which meant nothing to the people.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Absa Group, Ms. Maria Ramos has said that greater co-operation and collaboration among African countries would be the fundamental building blocks for sustainable economic development, accelerating industrialisation and the achievement of inclusive growth in the continent.

In her contribution to the 2018 Absa Africa Financial Markets Index made available to the workshop participants, she said that the recent signing of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement by most member states of the African Union has ushered in an era of enhanced intraregional co-operation.

“It is an important signpost on Africa’s journey towards building the institutions and financial infrastructure that will attract local and international investors,” she added.

From Alberto Mario Noretti, Grahamstown



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