Sky News Digital and ANA
FORMER Zimbabwean deputy prime minister Professor Arthur Mutambara is taking the African digital media space to new levels after he announced a R1.04 billion investment package to drive media technology innovation and partnerships across the continent.
Professor Mutambara, who under a September 2008 power-sharing agreement served in the Zimbabwean government as one of two Deputy Prime Ministers from 2009 to 2013, left frontline Zimbabwean politics in 2014.
He made the news in South Africa last year after he was appointed president of Africa’s syndicated multimedia news service, the African News Agency (ANA), tasked with driving media technology innovation and the development of strategic relationships and partnerships across the continent. see http://skynewszimbabwe.com/2016/09/15/president-arthur-mutambara-leader-of-african-news-agency/
Hundreds of readers on zimbabwedigitalnews.com have since been trawling platforms on our website and news forums, seeking news about what the former firebrand student leader is up to since he left the rough-and tumble of Zimbabwean politics. He remains tight-lipped about what has since become of Zimbabwean politics since he left the game to go into media.
ANA is the continent’s first news syndication service, and is was established by two African billionaires, Sekunjalo Investments Chair and Executive Chairman of Independent MediaDr Iqbal Survé, and the Chairman of the Pan African Business Forum, Ladislas Agbesi.
Prof Mutambara was quoted in the Business Report on Friday saying the content syndication service had raised $80 million (R1.04 billion) from China, the US and the Middle East. With this investment, ANA has in total raised $165 million since its inception.
Mutambara said he would use the capital to further the technology platforms and to integrate both business-to-business and consumer-to-consumer
“Technology is the great equaliser. The ANA multimedia technology platform will revolutionise the way Africans communicate among themselves, rebrand the continent, and ignite economic development,” Mutambara said, adding that the capital would also enhance engagement in social media platforms such as Facebook and to ensure it became the global primary provider for the African content by 2020.
In 2015, the entity raised $30 million and, last year, $55 million. The total placing has resulted in 15 percent of the shareholding now held by international investors, and 85 percent of shares belonging to the Sekunjalo Group.
Mutambara said the investment was a sign of confidence, firstly in an African company, but mostly in the technology platforms which led to ANA exceeding its first milestone three months ago of reaching one billion users.
He said he would use the capital to further the technology platforms and to integrate both business-to-business and consumer-to-consumer.
ANA is headquartered in South Africa with ownership structures in Mauritius and Switzerland for global expansion. It is also planning to set up commercial media bureaus in New York, London, Shanghai and Dubai, allowing it to continue penetrating global audiences, and furthering its strategy to becoming the go-to source for news, information and data about Africa.
Mutambara said ANA would make an announcement about a platform developed in Africa at the World Economic Forum meeting in Durban in May. Mutambara said he was excited with his role of ANA’s president as he was of the view that news about Africa should be by Africans for Africa and the world.
ANA chief executive Grant Fredericks said the agency had achieved its second strategic milestone, enabling technology-driven social media platforms for text, pictures and videos.
“This is an exciting future for ANA and technology in Africa as social media platforms are currently dominated by Facebook and others,” Fredericks said.
Dr Iqbal Surve said: “At a time when competition and hostility amongst media houses is at its most intense, we at Sekunjalo Investment Holdings have been completely open about our intention to incorporate diverse media into the ANA syndication service and to invest considerable resources into establishing a quality African News Agency. We remain committed to doing so, in the interest of the broader South African and African media industry.”