Jean-Jacques Cornish

African News Agency to challenge Western wire service dominance

Africa’s first syndicated multimedia content service has begun operations in South Africa.

The African News Agency rises from the ashes of the South African Press Association (SAPA). It has a start-up capital of $20 million and plans to expand into 15 countries around the continent by July.

The African News Agency is publishing international news stories from the Chinese service Xinhua and the German News Agency DPA.

National content comes from a team of reporters in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria – many of whom are drawn from Sapa which winds up operations at the end of the month.

ANA CEO Chris Borain says they’re excited to be embarking on the first step of providing African news by and for Africans.

African business leaders – including Ghanaian Ladislas Agbesi and Iqbal Surve, owner of the Independent Group of Newspapers in South Africa – are among those behind the formation of ANA.

An editorial in the Cape Times, which is one of his newspapers, says yesterday that ANA will challenge the domination of the major Western wire services in Africa.

The editorial says it’s a matter of anger and shame that it, like so many others, has had to rely on Europeans and others to provide news about its own continent.



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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.