New Senegalese channel to launch


MARTIN CHEMHERE writes… A new free-to-air terrestrial television channel, Africa7, will launch in Senegal in September. The channel will also be available on satellite throughout Africa and Europe and will offer educational, cultural and sports programming in English and French.

Africa7 operates out of Dakar (Senegal) and is currently setting up offices in Accra (Ghana), Douala (Cameroon), and with offices in East and South Africa planned in the future. The channel has been in the testing phase since 7 July.

Owned by Senegal’s Citizen Media Group, Africa7 vows to exercise independence in its editorial content. A slate of more than 30 shows will be broadcast daily from 7am until midnight.

Says channel president Oumou Wane: “The broadcast licence, awarded in August 2010, represents a wonderful opportunity to diversify and develop what we have already been doing, providing education through entertainment. Africa7 programming is a balanced mix of entertainment and culture. There is space for this kind of concept in Africa today. Many people are extremely supportive and enthusiastic about the channel, as there seems to be a real need for the content that we plan to broadcast.

“Africa7 is a modern, independent and straightforward channel that offers an exhaustive list of easily accessible programmes. Our presenters come from at least 20 different countries, so viewers will find many points of view on the channel.’

More than a hundred people from all over Africa and Europe work for the company, which include directors, editors and technicians. The station is equipped with Thomson, Sony and Newtech technology.

According to Wane, the Africa7 name comes from a play on words around time and space. “We will be broadcasting in the five African regions: West, Central, East, North and South Africa. Africa7 will create customised content for the African diaspora, which we consider a sixth audience. The rest of the world is the seventh.’

Wane stresses that launching a television channel at continental level is a huge responsibility — from a financial, technical and human resource point of view. “It has been a long, difficult and very costly process, but every single day we are inspired by the ambition to create an innovative and state of the art channel.’

Citizen Media Group has been involved in the local production industry since 2006, producing educational television programmes for the national channel, Radio Television du Senegal (RTS). These include Citizen Match, a game show popular with students across the country. Citizen Media Group also created Citizen Dictees, a programme aimed to improve the quality of writing. In 2008 the Group launched Citizen TV Jobs to help facilitate access to employment.

Wane notes that Citizen Match was an immediate success and led to the creation of a countrywide club known as the Young Citizens Club. The programme’s popularity even reaches Europe.


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