Beginning June 18, the the London-based broadcaster BBC will give new programming for Africa on TV, radio and online. This follows a move by the broadcasters’ BBC World Service’s African Service and BBC World News to merge.
The new programme dubbed BBC Focus on Africa will be featured on partner TV stations in Africa and on BBC World News globally.
BBC’s Focus on Africa presenter Komla Dumor says he is incredibly excited to be part of a new BBC programme that will provide solid coverage and analysis of Africa’s challenges and prospects.
“After decades of turmoil and uncertainty, a new Africa is emerging. The old stereotypes are being challenged and a new, compelling narrative is being written,” he said.
The programme will put emphasis on the effects of international events to Africa, continental news, the challenge of leadership in Africa among others.
Focus on Africa will also report on science and technology trends, the African startup boom and on environmental and health issues.
BBC already has a team of expert reporters in Africa and in London covering the continent and will therefore distribute them across the continent to cover African business leaders, innovators, sports, entertainment and cultural scene and random news among others.
This turn of events by the world’s oldest global broadcaster is not surprising. Many international media houses have been setting up camp on the continent pointing a finger to Africa as the next big frontier.
Solomon Mugera, the BBC’s Africa Editor, said: “Africa is now one of the fastest developing news markets in the world. This new investment will expand our services for African audiences”.
He added that while radio remains popular in Africa, TV is growing.
“Our partnerships with leading African broadcasters play a key part in these future plans. Mobile phone ownership is racing towards a billion, internet connectivity is rising and social media is empowering audiences. It’s essential that the kind of independent journalism the BBC does that isn’t slanted to one political or commercial viewpoint remains central to the new media landscape,” Mugera said.
BBC Focus on Africa will have correspondents in 48 African countries, production centres in Nairobi, Abuja, Johannesburg and Dakar, and a weekly audience of 77 million, the BBC already has deep roots in the continent.
BBC has for years had its reporters in major African countries, Focus on Africa will therefore draw from its own English, Swahili, Hausa, Somali, Kinyarwanda/Kirundi and French speaking reporters who have the continents working knowledge at hand.
BBC already has more than 70 newsgathering bureaus in Africa as part of its extensive global network. The media giant combined radio and television programming makes them largest international broadcaster in Africa.