"We are custodians of a narrative that can inspire and give wings to the dreams of the younger generation," African Development Bank Director of Communications, Victor Oladokun said at the opening session of the first ever journalism training hosted by the African Development Bank.
"In the midst of the challenges, we have to give the young people hope," he added.
The three-day training delivered on a pledge that Bank President Akinwumi Adesina made at the Bank's Annual Meetings last year in Busan, South Korea, where he promised to provide development training to journalists.
The course, presented in conjunction with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was attended by journalists from 21 African countries. The programme was designed to help media practitioners report more effectively on the Africa's development issues, the Bank's strategic High 5 priorities and the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
Oladokun said journalists had a critical role to play in helping Africa reach those targets and also needed to improve its image if it wanted to attract much-needed investment.
"Money only goes where it's comfortable. There is money out there that is ready to come to a continent that is at peace with itself."
Between 2015 and 2018, the Bank had furthered the continent's development agenda by extending electricity, agricultural technology, as well as water and sanitation to millions of people.
As part of the three-day rigorous classroom course, trainees also visited a Bank-funded agricultural project outside the administrative capital, Yamoussoukro, which seeks to revive crops and foods like rice, maize, cassava, vegetables, pork and fish.
The project's total cost of $134.42 million is financed with an African Development Bank loan of $70 million, an African Development Fund (ADF) loan of $36 million, and ADF grant of $4.2 million, bringing the Bank's total commitment to $110.86 million.
"Before coming here, I didn't know about the High 5s. For me, the High 5s summarize the Sustainable Development Goals. With these Highs 5s laid out, as journalists, we shouldn't have problems when taking stock of the SDGs in 2030. The African Development Bank and Reuters have helped us better understand the needs on the ground," said Umaru Sanda Amadu from Citi FM in Ghana.
Sainey Marenah from Gambia Radio and Television Services said the training was in keeping with the regional integration theme of the Bank's upcoming Annual Meetings in Equatorial Guinea.
"This training has taken one big step towards Africa's integration by bringing together journalists from 21 African countries to discuss sustainable development," Marenah said.
Lara Afolayan, from TV Continental in Nigeria, said the programme had inspired her to "think outside the box".
"For the first time in my career, I saw a project funded by the Bank first-hand ... I now see myself as a change agent in my society, more than ever before."
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