News from Africa

African Union strives to reach out to its population through its Member States to popularize its activities

“Information is power"

Témoignages.re / 2 October 2012

A better understanding of the objectives of the African Union and its activities is essential for the African citizens to believe in the Union and claim its ownership as well as take active part in its activities.

For this goal, a lasting, strong, dynamic and beneficial partnership between AUC and AU Member States is of crucial impacts. The reflection was at the center of a workshop that kicked off today 1st October 2012, at the African Union (AU) headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, under the theme: “Engaging the AU Directorate of Information and Communication (DIC), with Press Attachés and focal persons responsible for communication at Embassies of AU Member States in Addis Ababa to broaden outreach and expand knowledge about the AU”.

Organized by the DIC, this two-day workshop aims to enhance collaboration between the AU Commission and the AU Member States, through the Press Attaches and focal persons responsible for communication related issues in the various Embassies.

Officially opening the conference, Mr. Erastus Mwencha, Deputy Chairperson of the Commission, said “Information is power, information is what carries the world 24 hours, 7 days, Information is a human right… Africans have the right to be informed ".

The Deputy Chairperson further emphasized that the Union has an obligation to inform its citizens on its activities and urged the AUC to work closely with its Member States through their Embassies to strengthen the AU communication strategy and enhance information flow.

Speaking earlier the Director of Information and Communication, Mrs. Habiba Mejri-Cheikh assured the willingness of her Directorate to narrow the bridge between the African population and the Continental organization and to effectively nurture a sense of ownership among Africans Citizens. "It is our responsibility to come out of this workshop with a clearly outlined framework that will enable us carry out joint popularization activities with a common understanding of promoting our common interest: the African Union", She said.

She added that the two-day workshop is an opportunity for the AU and the PRC to reflect on how best to reach the audience through this partnership using the existing national dissemination mediums. (Complete speech of DIC Director is on the AU website: www.au.int ).

Mr. Ferdinand Montcho, Chairperson of the Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC) and Ambassador of the Republic of Benin, stressed the need to improve the communication strategy between the DIC and the Member States Embassies not only to build awareness among the people of Africa, but also to disseminate information to the Member states.

Mr. Montcho said the Permanent Representatives Committee is fully committed to work closely with the Directorate of Information and Communication to popularize the different activities of the African Union Commission and create a strong network to strengthen the relationship between the DIC and the PRC.

The workshop was also informed among others by the Secretary General of the AU Commission, Amb. Jean Mfasoni as well as some resource persons of the AUC who presented the different flagship projects of the African Union under their respective departments. (see complete speech of the Secretary General of the AU Commission on the AU website: www.au.int .

Its worth noting that the Workshop on engaging the DIC with Press Attachés and focal persons responsible for communication at Embassies of AU Member States falls in line with the DIC Communication Strategy for the AUC which aims at using all different types of existing tools to communicate the vision, missions, strategic planning and activities of the African Union, and to ensure mass popularization of the activities of the Union,

Apart from the focal persons in communication at the Embassies of AU Member States, the Communication Officers from international organisations based in Addis Ababa, Communication Officers of UN agencies, European Union Information officers, focal persons in communication from AU departments, the staff of the Directorate of Information and Communication, and information officers of AU Partner organisations based in Addis Ababa, among others, were also in attendance.

The workshop will conclude tomorrow 2nd October 2012. Its recommendations will be included as part of the action plan of the African Union Communication Strategy 2013 -2016, for implementation.

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, October 2, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)

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