In The Field

AU summit: final thoughts

Readers following the AU summit on national TV news could be forgiven for wondering if the event on their screens is the same as that being described in this blog and on the pages of SciDev.Net.

It ‘was’ exactly the same event, only my colleagues from the broadcast media who came to Addis in their hundreds mostly ignored the discussions on science and climate change. They focused instead on conflicts: conflicts between heads of state for top jobs in the AU; conflicts between Ethiopia and Somalia, in Sudan and even in Rwanda where the country wants to heal and move on from the genocide.

This is not to say that Africa is conflict-free. But that the clips on our TV screens did not reflect the bulk of what was discussed at the AU this week, nor did the broadcasts convey much of a sense that Africa is on the move — the overwhelming impression that delegates went home with. This week’s summit showed that a confident and emboldened AU (with its planned new parliament and court of human rights) will be key to the continent’s future. It is unfortunate that many viewers and listeners inside and outside Africa will never know, because broadcasters chose to turn their cameras elsewhere.


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