African lobby targets western media as G8 looms

A lobby group for African development run by former United Nations staff and academics from the continent is attempting to take advantage of interest in the forthcoming G8 summit.

Avenir-NEPAD wants to mobilise African-born professionals around the world into taking a more active interest in the continent's development issues.

'We want to get more African voices into the media, to offer a range of people who can talk on tourism, oil and gas or women's issues in Africa,' said Jane Smith, MD of Cheshire-based Smith & Smith PR, hired as the group's first agency.

The campaign will launch with an international press conference in London on 1 July to coincide with the opening of the G8 summit at Gleneagles.

Smith & Smith will present Avenir-NEPAD spokespeople to the media as interest intensifies ahead of next month's summit.

Smith reports to Avenir-NEPAD UK development specialist and president Emmanuel Argo.

As well as targeting staff and freelance journalists who write on African development issues in Europe, the US and Latin America, the agency will bid to engage people of African origin in Sao Paulo, Paris, London and Washington.

Formed three years ago, Avenir-NEPAD lobbies western governments to form policies that do not stifle economic development in Africa.

More than 30 African countries are to have their debt to the West cancelled, it was announced last week.

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