The African Union Commission took journalists from across the continent on a tour of the largest hydropower project in Africa, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) today.

The GERD, which is one of the projects under the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), is at an advanced stage with an installed capacity of 6,000 MW. Construction of the Dam started in April 2011 and is currently employing 12,000 jobs.

The visit to the Dam was preceded by a third media workshop held on 5 and 6 November 2018 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to hone the skills of 24 journalists to effectively cover the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA).

PIDA Journalists Network visiting the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

“During the two days, the overall assessment of journalists was that all were ready and willing to give off their best in writing / reporting about PIDA Projects,” said Mr. Yagouba Traoré, Head of Information Unit in the Department of Infrastructure and Energy of the African Union Commission.

Mr. Traoré affirmed that from the questions asked, it was clear that many write about PIDA but struggled to adapt to new media, get content (data in particular) and leveraging on social media.

The workshop brought together 24 media practitioners from across Africa. The journalists were exposed to the workings of PIDA, how to analyze the impact of its work, and where to find the right data and information for news and features stories.

The low internet penetration levels were mentioned as one of the growth inhibitors as many said it is, at times, out of reach or not reliable especially while on PIDA site visits. The interest by journalists to participate in PIDA also showed that many had the quest for knowledge in personal improvement, particularly in infrastructure. This interest, honed can be a great asset for stakeholders to not only add on media exposure but also boost content for PIDA’s Virtual site (http://www.au-pida.org) which is a resource tool kit for a great international audience.

It was concluded that the PIDA Journalists’ network has the potential to be elevated to be one of Africa’s media database of professionals who can be equipped with knowledge and skills on business reporting in Africa. The interest drawn from this training is a testament that there is great potential in this with the help of PIDA stakeholders.

The event is part of the PIDA Capacity Building Project (CAP) supported by the African Development Bank and whose main objective is to strengthen the capacity of the African Union Commission, the NEPAD Agency and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) for planning, facilitation and coordination of implementation of regional infrastructure programmes and projects necessary for enhancing Africa’s physical and economic integration and socio economic development.

The Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) is an African Union Commission (AUC) initiative, in partnership with the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA) the African Development Bank and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. There are 51 programmes and projects divided into 433 projects covering various sectors including transport, energy, information and communication technology (ICT) and trans-boundary water sectors.

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