IMG_0759Nairobi 16 April 2015—A group of Kenyan journalists drawn from various media houses on Thursday benefited from talks delivered at the Urban Journalism Academy.

The journalists heard from their counterparts from an American news agency Citiscope as well as the Director of the Regional Office for Africa at UN-Habitat Ms. Axumite Gebre-Egziabher.

Citiscope says it “seeks to fill some of the gap (of clear market failure) and act as a conduit of experimentation to public officials, administrators, and decision-makers of cities worldwide. We also aim to serve  the broader world of problem solvers and change-makers in business, nonprofits, academia, neighborhoods, foundations and the media — anyone sharing a stake in the urban future.”

During the presentation, the Editor in Chief Mr. Neil Peirce drew from his own vast experience to tip the journalists on how to improve their coverage of urbanisation issues.

A veteran of over 38 years, Mr. Pearce is the recipient of UN-Habitat’s “Scroll of Honour” for “a lifetime of journalism dedicated to reporting on cities for a better urban future.” His colleague Mr. Greg Scruggs also addressed the Academy.

In her presentation, Ms. Gebre-Egziabher said that Africa is in a transformative state, a situation which inevitable led to rapid urbanisation. “Africa’s urbanisation currently stands at 42 percent on the average. Admittedly there are those countries like Zambia and Ghana where urbanisation stands at 52 percent and then there are those like Ethiopia and Rwanda where the figure is 20 percent. But overall the continent is urbanizing fast,” she said.

According to the director, African governments need to harness the huge potential in their rural areas by offering markets for the surplus agricultural produce in their rural areas.