There is another scramble for Africa according to international media, but this time it is about who can best profit from the continent’s business opportunities. And the charge is being led by foreign powers, with 70% of coverage about business in Africa referencing China, the USA, Russia, France, and the UK, according to the newly launched The Business in Africa Narrative Report, by Africa No Filter and AKAS.
The report shows that the keywords, stories, frames, and narratives associated with business on the continent are dangerously distorted. There is an overemphasis on the role of governments, foreign powers, and larger African states alongside an underappreciation of the role of young people, women, entrepreneurs, creative businesses, smaller successful African states, and Africa’s future potential.
Moky Makura, Executive Director at Africa No Filter, said: “We wanted to understand why Africa is seen as a high-risk business destination and why the cost of money is at a premium. The report gives us an insight into why. It shows that business opportunities on the continent are both underrepresented and misrepresented, and now that we know this, we can work on educating the media and changing the narrative around business in Africa.”
Richard Addy, report author and co-founder of award-winning international audience strategy consultancy, AKAS, added: “This ground-breaking report offers a detailed data analysis on the narrative around business in Africa. This rigorous research is important because narratives, frames and stories are the lenses through which we perceive and experience Africa. They inform beliefs, behavior and ultimately dictate policy.”
In addition to the dominance of foreign powers in business stories featured in international media, the report highlighted a number of other key frames dominating dangerous distortions played out in stories, and the underrepresentation of businesses across the continent, including:
- More negative coverage: International media are more likely to have a negative tone. African media are twice as likely to reference corruption in their coverage of business in Africa compared to international media, with corruption featuring in 10% of African media stories.
- Africa is Nigeria and South Africa: Nearly 50% of articles in global media outlets reference South Africa or Nigeria, crowding out business stars like Mauritius, Namibia, and the Seychelles. Mauritius is the highest-ranking African country in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index.
- Silencing creativity, amplifying technology: Nollywood is the world’s second-largest film industry, and music genres like AfroBeats and AmaPiano are influencing pop culture globally, yet creative businesses were only featured in 1% of all business news articles across African and global media. Additionally, while 22% of Africa’s working-age population started new ventures between 2011 and 2016, the highest rate of any region globally, African start-ups received declined coverage.
- Youth and women are underrepresented: African countries claim the top three spots in the Mastercard Index for the highest concentration of women business owners globally, but business news and analysis on gender equality issues have declined. Africa also has the youngest population globally. However, youth and women are underrepresented in business stories. In fact, online news coverage of young people has declined between 2017 and 2021. In addition, stories about African youth globally are often framed through negative stereotypes, invoking images of inactivity, violence, and crime.
- Government, policy, and regulations dominate: 54% of business news in 2021 was framed through government action and policies. Additionally, African media focused more on themes related to government than on those related to entrepreneurship. Yet, African countries make up six of the top 10 countries whose populations were most likely to search for the topic of entrepreneurship in 2021.
- Missing Free Trade Area and investment: The African Continental Free Trade Area is the largest free trade area in the world by the number of countries taking part, yet it makes up under 1% of business news and analysis while mentions of Foreign Direct Investment fell from 3.2% in 2017 to an even lower 1.9% of coverage in 2021.
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Nigeria’s Presidential CNG Initiative Allocates N100bn for CNG Buses and EV Adoption
The Presidential Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Initiative has allocated N100 billion to expedite the deployment of CNG buses nationwide, according to a statement released on Wednesday.
The initiative, designed to catalyze an Auto-gas and Electric Vehicle (EV) revolution in mass transit and transportation, aims to enhance sustainability and cost-effectiveness.
The statement revealed that the fund would be instrumental in supporting the adoption of auto-gas and electric vehicles, signaling a commitment to a more sustainable and economical future in the transportation sector.
The Presidential CNG Initiative plans to leverage over 11,500 CNG and electric-fueled vehicles, along with the deployment of 55,000 conversion kits.
This strategic approach is intended to reduce transportation costs for Nigerians and mitigate the challenges posed by the rising cost of living.
Under the Renewed Hope Agenda, the Presidential CNG Initiative is dedicated to realizing the President’s vision, guided by its steering committee led by FIRS Chairman Zacch Adedeji.
The statement highlighted recent achievements, including strategic technical partnerships and the ongoing commissioning of CNG Conversion centers in key states such as Lagos, Abuja, Kaduna, Ogun, and Rivers.
Several more centers are slated for commissioning in the coming weeks, reflecting the initiative’s momentum and commitment to achieving its objectives.
Nigeria’s Power Transformation: 53 Projects Worth N122bn on Track for May 2024 Completion
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in collaboration with the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and power distribution companies, is set to complete 53 power projects by May next year.
Valued at N122 billion, these projects aim to add over 1,000 megawatts to TCN’s wheeling capacity.
During a recent tour of three ongoing projects in Lagos, TCN’s Programme Coordinator, Mathew Ajibade, assured that the projects were not abandoned, refuting speculations.
He confirmed that work is progressing smoothly and is expected to be completed by May 2024, as initially planned.
Assistant Director/Head of Infrastructure Finance Office at the CBN, Tumba Tijani, highlighted the CBN’s support for the power sector, revealing that the bank released a loan at a 9% interest rate in August last year for the projects.
The funding, part of the Nigeria Electricity Market Stabilisation Facility-3, amounts to N122,289,344 and aims to address transmission/distribution bottlenecks, enhance supply to end-users, and unlock unutilized generation capacity.
Tijani disclosed that N85.43 billion has been disbursed into the Advance Payment Guarantee account of the 53 contractors responsible for executing the projects.
The comprehensive project list includes the delivery of power transformers, re-conductoring existing transmission lines, upgrading existing substations, and constructing 33KV line bays.
The initiative reflects a concerted effort to enhance Nigeria’s power infrastructure and meet growing energy demands.
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