Public Relations veteran, Oluyomi Badejo-Okusanya visits THOP headquarters
The president of the African Public Relations Association (APRA), an umbrella organization for corporations in Africa, Oluyome Badejo-Okusanya, was visiting the office of The Holding Opinion & Public (THOP) in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
Speaking at Cocody II Plateaux, the THOP headquarters, Mr Badejo-Okusanya met with the Founder and Executive Chairman at Mr Kwame Senou to speak about an alternative image of Africa and telling a positive story about it. According to Mr Badejo-Okusanya, in order to improve the continent’s reputation, relationship professionals such as Public Relations Practitioners, are best suited to create a coherent and engaging story that sticks to the reality and mobilizes people. However, he says, this can only be achieved if the continent is united.
To succeed in this mission, the 47-year-old organization, APRA has commissioned an advisory mission to the African Union (AU). The association has members in all the 54 countries of the continent, and only 25 national sections are active to date, which are mostly English-speaking countries. For the French-speaking countries, Côte d’Ivoire is the most active country within APRA. It is eying to host the traditional annual conference in 2024, after Lusaka, in Zambia hosting it in 2023, May.
Mr Badejo-Okusanya has made it his mission to mobilize his colleagues in order to give a special cachet to the Lusaka meeting, in order to breathe new life into the Pan-African association. Introspection will be carried out to boost the creative sector, be it through digital and technology, and / or better managed public relations in Africa.
He further said that one of the big challenges we have on the continent is the integration between French and English speakers, due to language barriers. Mr Badejo-Okusanya and Mr Senou went on to discuss ways to build more bridges across these divides within the Public Relations industry.
The two businessmen also engaged with key stakeholders in Côte d’Ivoire such as the director of the National Advertising Council (CNS) and the president of the national organization of public relations professionals. Côte d’Ivoire, which is seen as the flagship country of Francophone Africa is ideal to drive the movement for more participation in the continental body of PR.
“Many misunderstand public relations sometimes think it’s like journalism or advertising; both in the management of the protocol or events planning. Public relations are a professional opinion management function. The discipline exists to advise leaders on trends based on expected effects and defining strategies to better get their message across. Thus, it is a strategic function,” concludes Mr Badejo-Okusanya.