Addis Ababa, Ethiopia -- A panel at the African Media Leaders Forum titled Funding African Media: An Overview of Financing Options explored access to funding for African media enterprises. Meredith Beal, a consultant with the African Media Initiative (AMI) and media owner in the USA, moderated the discussion, which talked about challenges that small and medium-sized media organizations in particular face when seeking funding as well as a look at what is required to successfully engage a financial institution or investor.
Panelists included Sadler Kamudyariwa, CEO of Southern African Media Development Fund from Botswana and Sylvester Ebhodaghe, Publisher of The National Daily Newspaper from Nigeria.
Kamudyariwa gave an overview of the types of funding mechanisms that exist and some of their pros and cons. He emphasized the importance of the business plan and also stressed the need for discipline and warned of the pitfalls brought by lack of discipline. Ebhodaghe shared his challenges in trying to get his newspaper off the ground in the tough competitive environment of Lagos, Nigeria and some of the decisions he had to make in order to maintain editorial independence. On a practical level, Beal shared the names of organizations funding various types of media enterprises.
Beal also has been conducting a series of regional workshops on financial proficiency for media executives around the continent as part of AMI’s Business Development and Management Program in partnership with African Development Bank to help build the capacity of media managers to run financially sound businesses.
The African Media Leaders Forum is the continent’s largest annual gathering of media owners and other stakeholders. The Forum celebrated its sixth year with its annual event in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, celebrating 50 years of the African Union. The Forum featured a public debate at Addis Ababa University, plenary sessions at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa facility and a Heads of State Roundtable Discussion between the Deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia, the Vice President of Kenya, the Chair of the African Union and media leaders.