The Executive Director of Human Rights Reporters Ghana (HRRG), Joseph Wemakor was among the eighty-eight media practitioners and mid-career professionals across Africa who graduated from the Bloomberg Media Africa Initiative (BMIA) Financial Journalism Training (FJT) on Thursday November 10 2022 at a colorful ceremony held within the plush Adlon Ballroom 1 & 2 auditorium of the Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City in Accra.
Mr. Wemakor, a notable developmental journalist, a staunch human rights activist and a National SDGs champion who was part of the graduands was all joy when handed his certificate of completion by Prof. Kwamena Kwansah-Aidoo, the Rector of the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) amidst rapturous cheers from his colleagues.
The BMIA Financial Journalism Training Program is a core component of the BMIA, a Project funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and the Ford Foundation which aims to contribute to the advancement of business and financial reporting in Africa.
Launched by Mike Bloomberg in South Africa in 2014, the Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa (BMIA) is a pan-Africa program designed to accelerate the development of a globally competitive media and financial reporting sector to promote transparency and accountability in Africa to enhance the quality of financial coverage and the availability of reliable and timely data on the continent, and support initiatives contributing to the vitality of community media.
Addressing the gathering, the Dean of the University of Ghana Business School (UGBS), Prof. Justice Bawole observed the program fits into the strategy of his outfit and having recognized the media as a key to driving impact saw the need to collaborate with other partners to make it happen.
While highlighting the success of the program, he hinted that the partners are in the process of ensuring continuity of the program regardless of the ending of the Bloomberg funding after the two sessions, he called on the government to lend its helping hand to keep the programme running.
For his part, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Minister of Information averred that the program could not hold this year due to financial constraints. But, he however, pledged government support towards 2023.
He urged the graduands to make judicious use of the skills and knowledge acquired to advance egalitarianism and societal transformation.
John Ntim Fordjour, Deputy Minister of Education in a speech noted his outfit was proud to be associated with the training process right from inception to the time of completion and equally look forward to collaborating with the private sector to support the future cohorts and the subsequent programs to be staged.
He commended the Bloomberg Philanthropies, its partners, the education experts and seasoned academia for the wonderful investment in journalists which would go a long way to ensure that their financial literacy skills are enhanced so as to engender the right reportage backed by accurate analysis to be released into the public domain.
Prof. Kwamena Kwansah-Aidoo, Rector of the Ghana Institute of Journalist (GIJ), is optimistic the Bloomberg Media Africa Initiative (BMIA) Financial Journalism Training (FJT) would aid the beneficiaries carry out their reportage accurately and in clear and simple language but enriched with numbers, facts and figures to the understanding of the public.
Training Editor of Bloomberg News, Mr Cherian Thomas in his speech enlightened the graduates on the need to always embrace curiosity in discharge of their duties. According to him, curiosity is the foundation of journalism and the best way to obtain reliable data.
The Provost of the College of Humanities, University of Ghana, Prof. Daniel Ofori underscored the need for institutions to join forces to equip their staff with skills and knowledge required for work.
He assured of his outfit’s readiness to further strengthen ties with other schools as a demonstration of its commitment which exuded in the case of the BMIA FJT to build the capacity of African journalists and mid-career professionals.
The FJT program provides journalists with training to enhance their financial and business reporting skills and knowledge. It was delivered by leading faculty from distinguished business and journalism schools in participating African countries including University of Ghana Business School, the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ), University of Ghana and Strathmore Business School (South Africa).
Phase of the BMIA FJT was successfully implemented in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa between 2015 and 2017. By the end of 2017, more than 500 journalists and mid-career professionals had completed the 6-month certificate program. The success of the Phase 1 prompted the BMIA team to expand the training program to five more countries namely Ghana, Zambia, Tanzania, Cote d’voire, and Senegal.
Phase 2 of the program was launched in Ghana and Zambia in January 2019, and in Tanzania, the program was launched in September 2019. The two Intakes in Ghana, Zambia, and Tanzania have 255 delegates graduating this November.