Convening Leaders

Across the African continent, media owners and operators face common and extraordinary challenges locally and globally. These include adaptation to new technologies, the increasing rise of global competitors, particularly social media, the loss of revenue, driving the need for new revenue models, all occurring within the backdrop of a pandemic, dramatic changes in the structure of African and global economies, and an acceleration to digital, remote and online technologies.

The Africa Business Media Innovators is an annual convening launched by the Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa (BMIA) to assist media leaders on the continent to better understand, adapt, and address this unprecedented period in journalism and media. The convening focuses on accelerating development of a globally competitive media and financial reporting industry and creating more dynamic new media businesses in Africa.

Each year, invited guests include media executives, cross-industry CEOs, public policymakers, technology founders, business innovators, investors, and civil society leaders from around the world. It is a unique and intimate space where guests can exchange ideas, identify opportunities to collaborate and develop actionable strategies to help the media sector flourish. These conferences have been held in South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Zambia and Senegal, attracting more than 500 leaders from across Africa and around the world.

The conference sessions are informal and interactive, drawing extensively on the knowledge of participants, as well as the eminent speakers attracted from around the world.

Recent convenings have examined topics such as:

  • developing business strategies for the new African media landscape
  • harnessing new digital technologies to sustain successful media companies
  • building new media infrastructure and updating public policy impacting the media sector
  • capitalizing on the globalization of the media
  • understanding artificial intelligence and augmented reporting
  • preventing misinformation and protecting journalistic integrity and,
  • preparing the media workforce of the future, and
  • the impact of Covid-19 on the media industry in Africa and globally.

The Africa Business Media Innovators is hosted by Bloomberg Media CEO Justin Smith, Bloomberg News Co-founder and Editor-in-Chief, Emeritus, Matthew Winker, and BMIA Director, Erana Stennett.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, BMIA has provided past forum attendees with valuable information from Africa and globally to help them understand, report on and provide public education about COVID-19.

Due to pandemic, the in-person ABMI 2020 was replaced by a series of virtual, “Innovator Chats”, or conversations, with leading media, technology and business executives.

ABMI is generously supported by Bloomberg, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and the Ford Foundation.

Underwritten by

Africa Business Media Innovators (ABMI) 2020

“Africa will build back faster by harnessing and better managing its natural resources, including minerals, metals, biodiversity, blue economy, forests, resources, agriculture or gas in order to boost domestic savings…More transparent governance must form a key component of financing Africa’s growth.”
–Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President, African Development Bank

“Covid-19 has helped us accelerate the movement from the hard copy to the digital platform…we are so excited of the movement in terms of technology…the pace was very slow in Ghana, COVID-19 helped us to move to digital paid subscriptions.…”
–Dr. Edith Dankwa, CEO, Business and Financial Times Limited

“It is the most dynamic I have seen the media business…as hard as this year has been, it has been one of the most dynamic, challenging in a good way, stimulating and innovative time for our business and media as a whole….we are living in an era of change….”
–Almar Latour, CEO, Dow Jones and Company

“Suddenly everyone has recognized how important it is to have reliable information in a crisis, particularly in an age in which we’re seeing so much misinformation that can actually cost people their lives if they if they get the wrong information.”
–Heba Aly, Director, The New Humanitarian

“The pandemic has fast-tracked technological innovation, which will be a key driver of South Africa’s and the continent’s economic recovery. As Africans we have to begin to look into being able to the use the African Continental Free Trade Agreement to become innovative, to invest into developing our own technology and trade among ourselves.”
–Honorable Pinky Kekana, Deputy Minister of Communications, South Africa

“Interesting findings [in the ABMI 20 Innovator Chats report] that are inspiring us to do follow-up stories for our audiences. Thanks for sharing.”-
–Christian Amoadu Ohen, Editor Adom FM

“COVID 19 has been apt testimony to the old adage of ‘let no crisis go to waste’ taking advantage of opportunities as they presented themselves as advertising budgets had shrunk, rendering bigger, legacy media organizations less viable propositions for advertisers, creating space for media start-ups to exploit.”
–Bilal Randeree, Program Director for Africa and MENA, Media Development Investment Fund

“We have an obligation to ensure that truth prevails and that we have responsible journalism, because all these falsehoods actually a danger to society.”
–Pamella Sittoni, Executive Editor Nation Media Group

“I’m optimistic about the fact that (the media) was declared an essential service. And we’ve seen that people turn to us for quality, trusted information in this time and we’ve managed to hold on to a lot of those readers.”
–Styli Charalambous, Publisher and CEO, The Daily Maverick

“The forum was great, the topics relevant and current. It gave me a lot of hope for the future.”
–Survey respondent