The African Union declared the year 2008 ‘Year of the Youth”. That’s an appropriate consideration, given the burgeoning statistics for Africa’s rising populations of young people. That African Union declaration is also the theme and focus for this year’s African International Media Summit hosted by the African Development Bank in Tunis on March 27-30th, 2008. 

This third in a series of five annual AIMS summits brings together Ministers of Information, youth, media magnates and media policy-makers with professionals in journalism, broadcasting, Internet media and management and marketing, from all over Africa and the Diaspora. Some of the issues addressed in previous summits were rooted in the past and past practices.

This year, AIMS 2008 looks to the future by taking up the African Union’s banner to make a critical examination of how Africa-based (and global) media impact and affect the self-perception and worldview of African children and youth.

“This is an important subject and the African Development Bank is proud to be a sponsoring partner of AIMS 2008 with African Union, ACA, ECOWAS and our other distinguished partners,” said a BANK OFFICIAL. “Misperceptions about Africa don’t end with concerns about Africa’s image in media. We also have much work to do in the ways Africa is perceived in the world of economics and high finance. But it all begins with information. And that’s where a committed and integrity-driven media comes into play. As we look forward,” we must all think about the African world that our children will inherit.”

To that, ACA Vice-chair, Dr. Erieka Bennett, questioned whether African entrepreneurs, media owners and Ministers of Information shouldn’t be investing more in original programs designed to help guide children and young people to a bigger worldview and healthier self-perceptions? We are delighted to have UNICEF (Speak Africa initiative) and Plan International, Association of Tunisian Mothers (ATM) involved in this critical conversation this year.

““Who is listening to today’s youth? Media has a responsibility to uplift the generations, not tear them down,” Dr. Bennett added. “Therefore, I suggest that any truly serious campaign to ‘rebrand Africa’ must look to the future of Africa, and the future of Africa is the African child. That’s a responsibility ACA, or any of the rest of us in media can ignore.”

As the agency with the responsibility of creating the AIMS concept, ACA is presenting this third annual conference in partnership with the African Development Bank, African Union, ECOWAS, the Diaspora Africa Forum, the African Business Roundtable, WIPO and others.

“The international media summit is a five-year running series,” explained ACA’s Bennett. “They’re designed to provoke a renaissance of Africa using the power of media in all its forms. We are seeing many good results across Africa and in the African Diaspora as a result of policies and pledges set forth in our previous summits. That lets us know that we are moving in the right direction.”

A major component of each summit is the annual ‘Living Legends Awards Dinner’ and the ‘passing of the torch’ ceremony from the legends to a new generation of achievers. This year’s honorees will be profiled and identified in a forthcoming announcement. This Gala will be held on March 30th at the beautiful Abou Nawas Tunis Hotel in Tunis, Tunisia



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