THE African Media Initiative (AMI) has announced the appointment of Zimind Publishers executive chairman and executive deputy chairman of the South Africa-based Mail & Guardian Trevor Ncube, as co-chair of its board, according to a report in the Zimbabwe Independent.

Ncube will lead the newly formed board with acclaimed and award winning American journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault, former Africa CNN bureau chief.

Hunter-Gault and Ncube were appointed at the just-ended Africa Media Leadership Forum in Lagos, Nigeria, where over 120 media entrepreneurs and senior executives from over 42 African countries were represented. The meeting was also attended by the World Bank and African financial institutions interested in investing in media on the continent.

Commenting on the appointment, Amadou Mahtar Ba, executive director of the Initiative said: "I am delighted that Trevor Ncube, one of the most accomplished media personalities on the African continent, has agreed to join the AMI Board. I am honoured to have the opportunity to be working under his leadership for the years to come".

AMI is a pan-African effort to improve democratic governance, social development and economic growth in Africa by strengthening the continent's media sector. This continental initiative — supported by a broad coalition of respected African media entrepreneurs, executives, journalism experts and media academics — aims to support the development and leadership of a private media sector that is ethical, of quality, sustainable and adaptable so that it can fully serve the needs and interests of its audiences and citizens.

At the core of the AMI mission is a shared belief in the importance of professional ethics and sound management in the private media sector which is growing in importance on the continent. This includes the innovative and responsible adaptation of new technology and a commitment to reaching rural and other marginalised audiences that have long been sidelined in African media markets.

Ncube said: "I am pleased to join the AMI board as co-chair and to share my experience and knowledge with a highly talented and diverse group of professionals from Africa. It is time that the continent seriously addresses the core constraints which hinder the development of our nations and societies and we know that without a strong and professional media, economic and human development will remain stunted."

Hunter-Gault said this is an ambitious project towards strengthening the private media on the continent.

"The quality of management, availability of funds for new media projects and expansion and the restrictive political environment for media on the continent are issues that will receive our attention," she said.

Click here to read the full report, posted on the Zimbabwe Independent's website.