Initiative and Business Africa get wider distribution


Launched in 2000 and 2003 respectively, Business Africa and Initiative Africa are two 30-minute long magazine-format TV programmes produced in French, English and Portuguese by People TV press agency. Both shows are broadcast every two weeks on 45 national African channels. Sylvain Beletre interviewed its chief editor and presenter Oumarou Barry to find out more.

The magazines are watched by over 32 millions viewers (approx. audience according to TNS) all around the African continent, but also in Europe (RTP in Portugal, BenTV in GB, TeleSud in France) and the United States. The programmes were on ABN America and People TV is now looking for new US channels such as the Africa Channel. Usually broadcast after 18h, the magazines are often repeated twice.

Oumarou pointed out that “the purpose of the magazines is to project a different, more positive, accurate and dynamic image of everyday Africa, a continent which has a growth rate of 5% per year and where innovations and developments are taking place. Topics include environment, health, culture and education for Initiative Africa and business and economy for Business Africa.” Viewers can also click on and to catch the latest shows.

Sources of finance are a mix of rights from TV channels and barter – a 2 minute-slot within the programmes where the producer needs to find sponsors such as Western Union, Total. The company also gets funds from co-production series with international organisations (i.e. The African Union, the World Health Organization African Bureau). On top, People TV also provides paid media training; news feeds on Africa, custom TV programmes for a few stations and corporate film production.

Oumarou Barry, originally from Guinea is both editor in chief and  bilingual presenter (in French and English) of the two programmes. Oumarou explained: "Our Initiative Africa show highlights initiatives taken on the continent and features newsmaker interviews ( such as Jean Ping, the President of the African Union Commission, Cheick Sidi Diarra, the UN Under Secretary General and High Representative for the least developed countries, Donald Kaberuka, the President of the African Development Bank).  We dialogue with prominent guests who have a pertinent view on the African continent and who can share positive aspects and exchange ideas on the present and future of a brighter Africa."

Each edition of Initiative Africa covers original and inspiring Pan African stories reported by People TV correspondents. At the end of the show, the viewers vote for their favourite report. And at the end of each year,  the best stories from those chosen by the viewers are rewarded with  an Initiative Africa Award - a cash prize money to help the people featuring the winning reports continue their work.

Business Africa is a current affairs magazine covering economic news and featuring in-depth reports from the African continent (such as single currency , regional integration, telecommunication, infrastructure or commodities issues). At the end of the programme a quizz allows a lucky viewer to win 150 US dollars if she or he answers correctly.

 “Headquartered in St Ouen on the outskirts of Paris, People TV has 15 regular correspondents across Africa and we  regularly travel there to record special editions and interview personalities (Blaise Compaoré, the President of Burkina Faso). We regularly provide media training to a selected correspondent within each of our channel partners” mentioned Oumarou, who adds “we are a private entity; as such and even if our magazines are very popular, we need extra supports from sponsors (banks, airlines and other large firms), donors and TV channel to be able to continue. We are also keen on receiving more press releases from anywhere in Africa.”