“Distance cannot separate true friends”

Friday, July 27, 2018

Vice President of China’s Shandong Foreign Trade Vocational College Zhou Houcai has told African Union journalists and media professionals that despite the far distance between China and Africa, it cannot separate true friends who feel so close when they are thousands of miles apart.

Addressing African media practitioners at the closing of a seven day seminar at Fu Run Ge Hotel in China’s Shandong province, Mr. Zhou said friendship and cooperation has just begun between them and the African media, saying he hoped all the participants could be envoys of cultural exchange and trade development between China and Africa to deliver the voice of friendship and cooperation to better promote bilateral exchanges.

The seminar was sponsored by Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China and organised by Shandong Foreign Trade Vocational College. Forty-five media practitioners from African Union member countries participated in the seminar.

Wynne Musabayana, African Union Commission head of communications division said, “As journalists and communication professionals, we are at the forefront of informing, educating and entertaining the public. What we say plays a big part in forming public opinion and perception. The work we do matters to the lives of our brothers and sisters in Africa. It is therefore important that we do it well. Courses like this are helpful to keep us on the point and to benefit from new trends, methods and technologies.”

Mrs. Musabayana said looking at the various areas covered during the seminar, it is clear that one of their biggest take aways is the need to take charge of their own (African) narratives.

He said this means journalists and communicators telling their stories truthfully, in a timely manner, and using ways and means that are easily accessible to their audiences.

“We know our experiences and it is only us who can tell them with the right motives and passion. This imperative is well elaborated in Agenda 2063,” she said.

She said unfortunately the individual media organisations on the African continent are not big enough to reach all of the nearly 1.3 billion Africans alive today with the same message, saying, “as a result, the biggest issue for us going forward is to use our enhanced knowledge and understanding to promote the new narrative for Africa; one that celebrates our great past, learns from the present, and uses that to promote an Africa that is united, peaceful and prosperous.”

On behalf of participants, she thanked the government and people of the People’s Republic of China through the Ministry of Commerce. She also thanked Shandong Foreign Trade Vocational College, the president of the college, Mr. Diao and his team for expertly putting the seminar together. 

Author: Cherno Omar Bobb from Qingdao, China