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APRA BOTSWANA 2018: RE- Presenting Zimbabwe to the World

In today’s world, modern politics and socio economic relations are primarily influenced by the dynamics of public communication. In order to convey an accurate message and brand image, Public Relations practitioners need to use relevant advocacy platforms to speak on behalf of their country and business institutions to showcase the best of their policies and cultivate a more progressive concept of a nation in transition but ready to engage with the rest of the world to empower its people.

Archie Mathibela

A unique opportunity has availed itself through the continental African Public Relations Association’s conference happening in a few weeks’ time.

The African Public Relations Association (AFPRA), is hosting the 30th annual African Public Relations conference in Botswana from 9 -11 May in Gaborone Botswana under the theme: Re-presenting Africa. This year’s conference is about changing Africa’s narrative and telling the continental story exclusively through African lenses.

The indaba brings together more than 300 international Speakers and Facilitators in Public Relations, Media, Brand Management, Advertising, Government and other Marketing Communications professionals from Africa and the diaspora, Europe, and North America with top Moderators from global news networks CNN, BBC and Aljazeera.

As part of re-integration efforts, Zimbabwe, joins the fray to present a paper on deploying Public Relations strategies to advance Zimbabwe’s development Agenda. A progressive storyline about Zimbabwe in the new dispensation and the critical support of local, regional and international actors alike in shaping messages and moving against the grain to change perceptions.

The African Union Commission Head of Communication ,Wynne Musabayana writing in a 2018 Africa Communications Leadership Report featuring 50 communications experts from across Africa notes that,’ Good news instills hope and gives inspiration…Communication also helps to share experiences from different parts of the continent…one of the quick ways to  achieve this is to ensure that Africans tell their own stories while we work on unbalanced global media structures where Africans do not own global media outlets.’

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The Zimbabwean story has become somewhat of a topical issue lately and Communicators need to lend their voice to the goodwill from Government’s recent Public Relations efforts in the region and internationally to foster socioeconomic integration and cooperation.

The role of the private sector is critical to bridge the gap at this juncture and taking part in APRA Botswana 2018 will help Communicators better equip themselves for the various challenges in the modern world with its demands for quick turnaround strategies that keep brands top of customers’ minds and reputations solid. The meetup will also feature plenary sessions, workshops and trending case studies. More so, with the Conference’s major focus on storytelling as a tool of public relations and a re-evaluation of the ethics of the profession, with an emphasis on the issues of Fake News & Alternative Facts.

Further, Zimbabwe’s participation in the conference is an opportunity to reflect on the role of communication in achieving the continental vision and the strategic priorities of Africa’s framework for socio-economic and structural transformation – Agenda 2063.

It is imperative to monitor any ‘chatter’ about Zimbabwe in the public domain outside our borders and correct any misconceptions that reduce the country’s appeal to tourists, investors and human capital. By restoring the facts about the Zimbabwean narrative, communications experts have a unique opportunity to restore unity, peace and dignity to the country which are all necessary ingredients for sustainable development.

In changing the African narrative, the Zimbabwe Government’s support and buy in is critical in order to mobilise support for programmes that advance national interests. As a Communicator of a new Zimbabwean narrative, our involvement will not only engender goodwill, but promote people-to-people educational and cultural exchanges; entrepreneurship and business development, civic engagement and international cooperation.

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The African Public Relations Association (AFPRA) is a non-governmental, non-profit organization established to foster unity via interaction and exchange of ideas among public relations practitioners in Africa as a whole, and through communication, promote social, political and economic integration on the continent.

This Indaba promises to be uniquely sustainable with a long term positive impact; offering a perfect blend of business and goodwill as delegates also exchange notes on their home countries’ rich cultural heritage and business opportunities.  APRA 2018 also sets the Public Relations agenda for the year and launches Africa’s economic resurgence which can only be achieved through pan-African collaboration initiatives that are tailored to address the pressing UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and aiding initiatives for the continent’s economic growth.

APRA Botswana 2018, is endorsed by the top three global PR associations; International Public Relations Association, International Communications Consultancy Organisation and Global Alliance. Bringing the curtain down, the organizers, in partnership with the Holmes Report will also feature the second edition of the SABRE Awards Africa to showcase the best in public relations work from across the continent.

Archie Mathibela is a Public Relations and Marketing Consultant with Junechild Corporate Communications. He earned his stripes over 10 years working in Insurance and Financial services, Government Legislature, Telecoms, Sustainable Development and Arts and Culture sector. He holds B.A Hons and M.A in English degrees from the University of Zimbabwe, a Diploma in Public Relations and a Post Graduate Diploma in Marketing Management from the Institute of Marketing Management in South Africa. He writes in his personal capacity. Twitter @ramagiya


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