African scribes receive public debt reporting skills

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Rosario Braganza

BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
THE African Forum on Debt and Development (Afrodad) has launched a media reporting programme that will see journalists from different countries in Africa monitoring public finance management in governments and State institutions beyond their countries of origin.

The programme, named Media Debt Network Africa (MDNA), was launched last week in Nairobi, Kenya and was attended by journalists from 20 African countries, including Zimbabwe.

Speaking during the launch of the MDNA programme, Afrodad executive director Jason Rosario Braganza said the programme was aimed at capacitating journalists with skills that will enable them to find sustainable solutions to Africa’s debt, and resource management challenges.

“Freedom of the media is still elusive in most sub-Saharan Africa countries,” Braganza said.

“One of the mechanisms that have served as a solution has been cross-border reporting. This is especially crucial for the dissemination of findings from investigative journalism among others.

“If crucial information is available in a country where it cannot be published, it can be shared with another journalist who is able to publish it. MDNA envisions an Africa whose journalists are able to report on public debt and related issues despite limited freedom of the Press.”

Afrodad identified Zimbabwe as one of the three countries considered to be in debt distress, together with Congo and Mozambique, while Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Gambia, Guinea, Ghana, Kenya, South Sudan, Togo and Zambia were considered to be at high risk of debt distress.

Braganza urged African journalists to actively play their role in improving public understanding of the public debt status in their respective countries to promote public participation in policy-making processes.

He urged African countries to develop solutions to the debt issue.

“Though the context may vary by country, the unified solutions can be customised in application as media continue setting the right agenda by Africans and for
Africans.

“MDNA envisions Africa speaking in one voice in making demands and developing solutions to address the debt crisis and other related issues like trade and development,” Braganza said.

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