By Nosa Garrick | July 11, 2012 - 12:00 GMT
When you think of Africa what comes to mind? Go ahead give it a go, and honestly say the first things that popped into your head. Your answers will probably cluster around the same topics and images — the obvious ones that have become representative of a continent that seems to lack borders, countries and identities. Issues in Africa are usually referred to as issues in Africa. Being country specific is optional. Could the African experience be unilateral? How did we get to cover Africa in such general terms?
Ernst & Young recently conducted the Africa Attractiveness Survey, in which they interviewed over 500 business leaders, with some doing business in Africa and others not. Their findings highlighted a significant perception gap between the two groups. Those not doing business on the continent had a largely pessimistic view of the prospects for doing so, while those already doing business there were confident in the region’s growth. The survey pointed to an attractiveness based on perception versus reality.
For the average person who has never ventured to Africa, their information is largely sourced from the news media. They gather images of poverty and war, which are the typical context in which Africa is discussed. The most obvious contributing factor is the presence of few news correspondents in the region. For a continent containing 54 countries, tracking every notable story is quite a feat for one individual. So the usual happens — the headlines tend to be the same, and you find a correspondent covering a story about Lagos from Dakar, a four-hour flight away. Newspapers around the world pick up stories from the Associated Press, which delivers a singular story told over and over again, and these shared headlines are rarely positive in nature. To read the full article click here .
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