March 15, 2014

Covering Business in Africa: A good or bad story?

Per Talking Biz News last week, the Wall Street Journal recently listed an opening for a business reporter in Africa, describing the position as “the most entrepreneurial of beats.”

The ad was intriguing for two salient reasons:

1.  The ad is for a business reporter in Africa, yet the description clarifies that the beat would be “Silicon Savannah” in Nairobi, Kenya. (Suppose the WSJ ran an ad for a “business reporter in Europe”?)

2. Is the investment/business climate in Africa truly accelerating?

With 54 African countries, it was a bold move to infer that a reporter covering the startup scene in the 11th largest economy was covering “Africa,” but the gist of the posting – that the beat is ripe for growth —fits a popular narrative of a burgeoning business climate in Africa.Generally speaking, and while cautiously optimistic, many economists, academics, and others versed in international finance agree that the African continent—with significantly more democratically elected governments and fewer violent conflicts than the 1990s — is poised for growth. But…

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By Bill C. Smith

Bill Smith is a senior account executive at Dukas Public Relations.