PLAYING AN EVER MORE CRUCIAL ROLE IN 2021
In October 2021, the French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs (MEAE) and the CFI Chair and Managing Director signed the new agreement outlining the agency’s goals for the 2021-2023 period at the New Africa-France Summit. This agreement reiterates CFI’s identity and role as the benchmark operator in media development aid, with initiatives geared around four priorities: fighting misinformation, promoting gender equality, protecting the environment and promoting democracy and civic engagement. A few months later, this very special role played by the French agency for media development was confirmed again by the French President at the Summit for Democracy in December.
2021 was also audit year, whereby an independent body reviewed the agency’s overall initiatives conducted during the 2015-2019 period. The auditors drew up a methodical, accurate and largely positive assessment of our initiatives and achievements resulting from our work in the field, in close collaboration with our long-standing partners. Lastly, in line with its quality approach, CFI also initiated a process in 2021 to measure the impact of its projects.
The very special role played by the agency goes hand in hand with growing responsibility given the multiplication of threats to our planet, our safety and the democratic values we share. Given how the news is being increasingly manipulated, CFI’s role was shown to be fulfilling an ever more crucial role in 2021.
Further to the Verifox Africa project, a second initiative was launched, called Desinfox Africa. This project aims to fight misinformation by conducting a training course on fact-checking for journalists from media outlets in six French-speaking African countries.
CFI also continued with its initiatives to encourage the inclusion of women and their participation in public debate, via Makanati, a project which bolsters women’s roles in the media in Iraq and Yemen, and MediaLab For Women, a project providing journalists in Africa with training on gender-related open data processing.
Confronted with environmental challenges, journalists have a crucial role to play in order to raise awareness among people and foster change in our behaviour. This is the logic underpinning the Afri’Kibaaru, MediaLab Environment and Dunia projects, which aim to reinforce the media’s capacity to take these questions on board and cover them in a way people can relate to.
Lastly, the promotion of free, independent, democratic news, especially for and by young people, remains one of our core focuses, especially with projects such as Citizen Connections 2 and MediaSahel in Africa, PAMT 2 in Tunisia and QARIB in Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine.
CFI’s total activity investment budget leapt by 20% between 2020 and 2021, thanks to our staff’s ever greater sense of commitment in designing, negotiating, implementing and analysing each of our projects, despite the strain of pandemic-related difficulties, security issues and political tensions (in the Sahel region, Sudan, Ukraine and Tunisia).
CFI’s challenge now is to operate according to the principles of accountability, sustainability and ongoing long-term improvement.