At New Africa Analysis (NAA) we found ourselves in a position of needing to pause and reflect for the whole of 2013. We thought particularly about the pledge we made on our maiden edition of 2009, which came out on the day the dreamer, Barack Obama was sworn into office; the year we dared to kick-off our dream of striving to be a force for change in the continent, by supporting democracy, fighting corruption and reflecting the hopes and aspirations of Africans. We pledged, then, to do so by reporting and analysing news from Africa from a progressive perspective in order to give balance to the continent’s reportage particularly in the Western media, where almost all reports about Africa has to do with war, famine, disease and poverty.
Thinking back to our launch in 2009 reminded us of the long way we have come since then. Most of the progress is good – from a 16-page newsletter to a 52 page fully coloured glossy magazine with a website to boot that attracted approximately 500,000 hits monthly. We started in my backroom in London in 2009, and by 2012 with headquarters in London, we had branches in South Africa and Uganda, with plans still afoot to open our West African branch and to break the American market.
However, been a business concern and trying to expand in this way and with such rapidity, required huge investment, and we explored many options about this, to help us to follow our dream. Experiences in trying to organise this over the past couple of years have been unfortunately frustrated, and we have found ourselves at times assured of funds from investors, banking and other sources, which were then not forthcoming. These are hard economic times, for the whole world, and whilst we here at NAA understand that investors may come and go, one of our reflections has been about not relying on these people to help take our goals forward. This however has obviously had consequences, the main one being the forced retreat we found ourselves in.
However, our forced retreat has been surprisingly enriching and informative and provided us with other opportunities. One thing rings out clearly though, and that is, the mission we set ourselves four years ago is too important to let go of even in the face of enormous challenges. Another thing which came out in our reflection is that Western media will never be the catalyst to change in the continent, because it is not in their interest to do so.