Secretary General, APRA, Mr. Yomi Badejo-Okusanya
The African Union Commission (AUC) has given its full backing to the forthcoming 1st All African Public Relations & Strategic Communication Summit tagged: APRA Addis Ababa 2013, which will be held between May 8 and 10.
Secretary General, APRA, Mr. Yomi Badejo-Okusanya, who disclosed this in Lagos, noted that the choice of Ethiopia for this year’s flagship event was not accidental but strategic to enable the professional body get closer to the seat of the commission.
He said: “It was strategically chosen to enable APRA get closer to the seat of the AU, especially as the organisation marks 50 years of its existence. In fact, you will be pleased to know that the 1st All Africa Public Relations & Strategic Communication Summit has been designated as one of the official events to mark the 50th Anniversary of the African Union, a fact which we are immensely proud of.”
Badejo-Okusanya added that the ultimate goal of the conference would be to set a communication agenda for Africa, while a road map for positioning Africa in the global context would be produced at the end of the conference.
He said: “The conference will also produce and catalyse the much needed synergy between the AU, national governments, communications professionals, the media and of course the people of Africa towards the ultimate goal of a positively viewed Africa.”
Speaking further, Badejo-Okusanya noted that indeed it was a glorious moment for public relations in Africa to be recognised at the very highest of levels on the continent.
To this end, the 2013 APRA Summit, has earned the recognition and support of the African Union Commission whose Deputy Chairperson, Erastus Mwencha, opined that the summit was even more timely as the Commission is in the process of building a continental communication campaign that defines the true essence of Africa, Africans and the Union, an initiative he hoped APRA would play a significant part in.
In line with this, Mwencha called for greater collaborative effort between the AUC and APRA, asking that the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between both organisations should be executed swiftly.
According to Badejo-Okusanya, the theme of the summit ‘Rising Africa: The Imperative of Communication’ is very profound and apt against the background of the 50th Anniversary of the AU.
Delegates and speakers are being expected from all over Africa, Europe, Asia and North America and the conference will deal with such diverse topics as ‘Public Relations & Public Governance in Africa’, ‘Leveraging Modern Social Media Trends in Africa’.
Others are ‘Setting the Communication Agenda for Africa’, ‘Business Intelligence as a Tool of Public Relations’, ‘Setting the Communication Agenda for Africa in the Global Context’, ‘Media & PR in Africa’, ‘Enhancing National Security Through Communication’, ‘Engaging Communication in Financing Africa’s Growth’, and ‘Africa’s Positioning Through Sports, Leisure & Tourism’ etc.
The President of the Republic of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama, has accepted to deliver the Keynote address at the opening ceremony of the conference. He will be joined by top officials of the African Union Commission and members of the Ethiopian cabinet led by the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Desalegn.
The APRA Secretary General further stated that the conference will also witness the inaugural APRA Pyramid Awards for Professional Excellence and for Outstanding Leadership, respectively.
The Professional Excellence category is strictly in recognition of professional work, while the Outstanding Leadership category will be presented to deserving recipients nominated by members, who through their professional activities have projected APRA in a positive light and promoted our objectives.
In a related development, the Government of Ethiopia has also expressed its support for the summit through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The ministry promised to ensure that visa applications to the summit by intending delegates, are promptly dealt with. As such, a ministerial directive in this regard is to be forwarded to all its missions abroad, especially those in Africa. The ministry promised all delegates a warm and very memorable stay in Ethiopia.
“Similarly, The Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru, has also been quite exceptional by facilitating our entry into the African Union. In order to make room for greater participation by delegates, Ethiopian Airlines has graciously offered a generous discount of 15 per cent to all delegates flying Ethiopian Airways to the conference,” Badejo-Okusanya said.
He added: “Judging from the huge response and attention it is receiving from various quarters, APRA Addis Ababa 2013 is definitely the marketing communication event of the year on the continent.”