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Conference challenges Africa’s PR professionals on positive narratives

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Public Relations practitioners across Africa has been charged to use the influence of great African stories to propel the continent to the next level of global competitiveness.

PR experts and scholars agreed that their African communicators need to do more in enhancing the image of the country at the annual conference of African Public Relations Association (APRA) in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.

Speaking on “Africa’s Competitive Edge – the PR Practitioner’s Voice in Enhancing the Continent’s Resilience”, the Head of Public Relations and Corporate Communications, Kenyan Tourism Board, Wausi Walya pointed out that Africa is a sleeping giant.

She insisted that the PR practioners should redefine the continent’s synergy and bring out the tools to tell its own story

“The use of digital space has given us a lot of opportunity to do this, so how far can we stretch the continent on the global stage?,” Walya wondered.

According to her, the COVID-19 pandemic gave Africa an opportunity to prove the world wrong in terms of its own narrative and data is at the heart of it all.

“Give data and value for PR, learn how to stick to data, activate events that showcase Africa. We have a lot of great stories and as we tell this stories, the role of media in this journey can’t be overstated,” she emphasised.

Speaking on the same theme, a Communication Lecturer at St. Augustine University of Tanzania, Dr David Mrisho said that reputation, branding and identity are key to positioning Africa for global competitiveness.

Mrisho said that media literacy is a tool for value creation for PR professionals.

He said: “We need to know what we want in terms of power in Africa. We need to ensure we are proactive enough and are able to see things outside the box,” Mrisho said.

He believed that despite the challenges in Africa, the continent has a vision which it can harness by turning itself to the large and small challenges that happens everyday.

“Trust, resilience has to be connected to moral reformation which will help us bounce back and send us where we want to be. It’s about thriving, resilience and quality that keeps us going. Resilience in terms of communication and global competitiveness,” he said.

He however clarified that PR is not only about sending and receiving messages.

“It’s about creating meaning in life. We need more than information, we need meaning that transform life and that is why we talk about reputation, branding and identity. The way you talk and do things should be connected to meaning

“APRA is here today not only to send the message of resilience but to bring meaning to Africa,” he enthused.

He tasked PR practitioners to always communicate because they want to see and trigger change.

“Africa needs change, we need to cause the emotion, we need to cause the movement that will trigger the change.

“It’s about understanding, creating hermony and relationship with organisations and stakeholders.

“We should care about the choices we make and skills we use when creating message through the media and how it connect to reality,” he further said.

PRNigeria reports that delegates in the communications industry converged in Tanzania to discuss how Public Relations as a profession can be effectively utilised as a tool to reshape the continent’s narrative in order to meet global competitiveness and glory.

The conference, which featured Africa’s biggest and best, included practitioners across PR disciplines, including corporate communications, crisis management, reputation management and the academics.

The occasion also witnessed the annual African PR awards that recognised Special Achievements in Branding, Reputation and Engagement (SABRE). Outstanding PR firms and their clients in Africa bagged different categories of certificates of excellence and trophies at the event.

Source: PRNigeria

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