Obaigbena Urges African Leaders to Remove Visa Restrictions to Promote Trade

Obinna Chima in Nairobi, Kenya

The Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of THISDAY and Arise Media Group, Prince Nduka Obaigbena, yesterday, charged African leaders to work towards removing visa restrictions in the continent  so as to encourage free movement of persons and goods in the region in order to promote development.
Speaking in Nairobi, Kenya, during the wrap-up session of a three-day AllAfrica Media Leaders’ Summit with the theme: “Re-engineering African Media in Times of Critical Transformation,” Obaigbena, who was one of the co-chairs of the summit, stressed that the media was essential in shaping the narrative in Africa.

He urged media owners and practitioners to also engage political leaders on the need to deliver good governance to citizens in the continent.
Obaigbena explained: “This is the time for dialogue amongst media. The time to engage our leaders in good governance is now.  It is a matter of shame that you are a Nigerian or a Kenyan or a South African, and you need visa to go across Africa; while in Europe, they cross borders without hindrances.
“If we cannot fix the issue of visa, how can we trade among ourselves? So, the first barrier, which is the visa barrier, has to be addressed in Africa, for there to be meaningful trade among African countries.”

Speaking further, he noted that there was need to build proper governance in the continent and encourage democracy among Africans.
“That said, we should salute the change coming from Senegal, where democracy is thriving. I urge all the sit-tight leaders and other leaders to retire. We need to build a new continent and make poverty an issue to be tackled. If we don’t tackle poverty, we would not be able to build the governance structure required to propel and we cannot be expecting the world to fix our poverty problem.

“Solution to our poverty problem has to come from home. It is a matter of shame that African leaders, 21, 30 and even 50 of them, go and sit with a Prime Minister in India, or in Italy or the President of China.
“Our leaders must fix Africa and give us the dignity that we deserve. Having said that, the media is the cornerstone for change and gradually we would use the media to improve governance and change Africa.”
Also speaking, the Summit Director,  Dr. Tendai Mhizha, who read out the key outcome of the conference, said it was pertinent to see the media play catalyst role in Africa’s development.

According to her, while there was need to tackle stereotypes in the continent, there was also need to highlight success stories by journalists.
“A partnership is to be developed between the AllAfrica Media Leaders’ Summit and the African Development Bank for the establishment of appropriate financing for the development of the entire value chain of the media centre,” she added.

Also, part of the outcome was the development of a narrative that gives young people a voice and raise awareness among young people about media transition and the proper use of Artificial Intelligence for impact and development and promote job creation potential of the media centre.
They are to develop certification training and a remind journalists of the ethics and professionalism required in the profession and the establishment of a journalism charter that would integrate the digital world.

Chairman of the AllAfrica Media Leaders’ Summit, Amadou Mahtar Ba, thanked all the participants and sponsors of the conference and assured that the summit has now returned as an annual event.

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