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African journos meet in Dar es Salaam over urbanisation challenges

BY: Naa Lamiley Bentil

Seventy-five African journalists drawn from 42 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa have gathered in Tanzania's capital of Dar es Salaam to revisit rising challenges of urbanisation, one of the major setbacks for many African cities.

The four-day workshop led by the Chief Executive Officer of African Media Initiatives (AMI), organisers of the workshop, Mr Eric Chinje is funded by the World Bank.

Participants conceded that urbanisation was a crucial issue on the African continent, which now required more urgent but deeply researched reportage.
African Cities

Many African cities including Accra face challenges with urbanisation as its population continue to swell in already densed settlements with its attendant socio-economic stress.

Reports are rife in such cities of floods, human and vehicular congestion, environmental sanitation, squalor among others largely attributed to lack of planning.

In Accra, the June 3 fire and flood disaster is still fresh in the minds of many in and around the capital. Sodom and Gomorrah remain a blot on the conscience of the authorities while in the East African city of Nairobi, Kibera remains the biggest slum in Africa.

Mr Chinje was of the view that it was time journalists in Africa made themselves more relevant by getting a deeper understanding of the challenges that plague the continent.

"One of the things that affect our daily bread is the phenomenon of urbanisation which has been identified as one of the critical things in Africa's development."

According to Mr Chinje, "when we [journalists] become more relevant we will have a seat at the table. It's not good enough that all we are given is a press release."

"Our primary goal as journalists is to be the continent to develop. We have got to hold governments accountable but that's not the end goal," he stressed.

AMI Mission

AMI is on a mission to deepen reportage on all aspects of Africa's development - agriculture, energy, climate change, urbanisation, among others.