More Self-Reliance Needed in Africa

By Raynard Jackson NNPA Columnist | 5/23/2014, 4:20 p.m.

Africa continues to lack the understanding and sophistication for why they need to constantly engage with the American media. During the crisis of the kidnapped Nigerian girls, I have yet to see or hear of any engagement by the Nigerian Embassy or the AU with the American media.

Most of the so-called experts on Africa, as presented in U.S. media, have been White. The media is partly to blame for this because of their continued insular approach and not looking for non-White experts on Africa.

And there are plenty of Blacks who are experts on Africa.

Gregory B. Simpkins is staff director for the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations for the House Committee on Foreign Affairs; and one of the foremost experts on Africa in the U.S. He has both a journalism and public policy background. He also is Black.

But I put more blame on Africa for continuing to believe that any media outlet is going to do for them what they should be doing for themselves, i.e. telling their own story. If Africa continues to govern with a third world mentality in a 21st century world, they will continue to be ignored and marginalized.

Africa wants Americans to view their continent as a tourist destination and a developing haven for foreign direct investment, but yet they can’t or won’t protect young girls attending school.

Despite all this, I should be willing to take my family on a vacation to or invest my money on the continent? Really?

Africa gets most of its media coverage from their failure, not their successes. A simple Google of the word Africa brings up nothing but negative information. So, until African leaders truly understand the value of proactive media engagement in the U.S., they will continue to be viewed as third world and not worthy of serious business consideration.