The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Representative in Ghana, Dr Angela Lusigi, said the media is an important bridge between policymakers and the public, as well as the national and regional institutions in the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
She said, “you are the gateway to enabling businesses and the public to better understand and leverage the benefits that the AfCFTA offers,” adding that the media had an important role to play in advocating for and influencing the policies and additional investments required to make the AfCFTA work for all.
She said this at a one-day training for the media on AfCFTA, which sought to enhance the knowledge of journalists on the agreement, as well as opportunities available for businesses.
The training was also to increase media advocacy on the AfCFTA so businesses can explore opportunities towards sustainable development.
According to Dr Lusigi, the training was an important step in closing the AfCFTA knowledge gap, adding that the goal was to improve the understanding on the AfCFTA agreement and create a vibrant network of practitioners.
She promised to provide the media with an up to date content to help them engage Ghanaian businesses and the public to leverage on the agreement in order to expand access to continental markets, regional value chains, create jobs, and advance Ghana’s industrialisation agenda.
The Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, said it was important to ensure there were clear channels through which facts, truth and real issues were properly disseminated as disinformation was common.
He said if we are going to push back against the emerging threats of disinformation and against the challenges that come with the lack of information on key issues such as security and economic resurgence, there was the need for the media to understand the key technical issues of each sector and the professional requirements to deliver.
“We at the Ministry of Information believe that media capacity enhancement is key and we are going to get the media to play its role effectively across all sectors,” he stated.
According to Mr Oppong Nkrumah, because of the importance of the media, it could not be left to its own devices or left to the whims and caprices of interested parties, who would swing them where they desire.
He said it was, therefore, important for all stakeholder groups to come to the aid of the media so that the media is supported and equipped to deliver on its mandate in various facets.
He said the ministry had started the media enhancement programme which would ensure that about 250 practising journalists were supported with scholarships for the on-the-job-training in various aspects of media practice this year.
“In addition to that, we are partnering with organisations like the UNDP, AfCFTA Secretariat, Ministry of Trade and Industry to ensure this particular training which is focused on the AfCFTA also takes place,” he added.
BY JEMIMA ESINAM KUATSINU