BBC Africa Debate, a new offering from the BBC World Service, will launch on Friday, with the topic under discussion: A sub-Saharan ‘African Spring’? It will be broadcast from Accra, Ghana.
In the inaugural edition from Accra, the presenter of BBC Africa Debate, Alex Jakana, teams up with Sam Farah, BBC Arabic presenter, to ask the panellists and the audience whether Africa is ready for a democratic leap forward, why there has been no “Spring” – and whether an “African Spring” would be useful or, indeed, necessary.
“BBC Africa Debate will focus on issues of pan-African as well as global significance. The theme of our very first debate is reform and political transition. Those issues are already being hotly debated across social-media platforms in Africa. Ghana, with its tradition of pan-Africanism, its media freedom – and its reputation for encouraging political and economic reform in Africa – was an obvious choice as a launch-pad for BBC Africa Debate,” says BBC Africa Current Affairs editor, Stephane Mayoux.
Prominent Ghanaian politicians, academics, civil society activists, media personalities and students will be among the audience. The panel includes:
- Dr George Ayittey, Ghanaian economist, author and president of the Free Africa Foundation in Washington DC who has championed the argument that “Africa is poor because she is not free”
- Anne Mugisha, Ugandan opposition activist and coordinator of the Activists for Change movement that organised the “walk to work” protests in 2011 in Uganda
- Kuseni Dlamini, South African political analyst, who believes that Africa has already had its spring during the 1990s.
To further expand social-media commentary on BBC Africa Debate, the BBC has teamed up with Vote4Africa which uses Twitter to educate people about the democratic process in Africa. While @bbcafrica will host the social-media discussion on Twitter, @Vote4Africa will provide commentary and analysis using the programme’s hashtag, #bbcafricadebate. Simultaneously, the BBC will be engaging in discussions with audiences via Facebook and Google+.
The first edition of BBC Africa Debate will be recorded at 10.00 on January 27 at Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre for Excellence in ICT, 2nd Avenue, Accra, and will be broadcast by BBC World Service at 19.00 GMT on the same day. Listeners can hear it on BBC 101.3 FM in Accra, BBC 104.7 FM in the Western Region and on any of the BBC’s 18 partner stations across Ghana.
Each edition of BBC Africa Debate will be broadcast from a different location in Africa. Issues to be discussed in the coming months include land grabs, religious divisions, China’s role in Africa, and International Criminal Court’s “African” trials.