African media practitioners have been asked to use intercultural communication to create a better understanding of the continent's wealth to promote greater integration, trade and investments for the mutual prosperity of the population.
Mr. Kamal Jabry, a communication expert and strategist in marketing, said this was necessary, given Africa's rich and diverse cultures combined with abundant material resources – making it the future of the world.
He was addressing African women leaders of news agencies, at a seminar in the Moroccan capital, Rabat.
Mr. Jabry, however, said to maximize the potentials, it was important to break the stereotypes and prejudices that had distorted the image of the continent.
The Atlantic Federation of African Press Agencies (FAAPA) is organising the leadership enhancement seminar for the participants, who representing 20 news agencies.
The five-day event, which opened on Monday, aims at developing the soft skills of the women, strengthen their knowledge, and competencies for the effective running of their organisations towards addressing the challenges the continent faces.
Mr. Kamal urged them to use their unique roles as leaders to facilitate the process of multiculturalism, saying, research had shown that the lack of understanding and appreciation of cultures was a major hindrance to external investments.
Intercultural communication, he added, must be based on the principles of mutual respect and acceptance of cultures, following a painstaking research into the history and experiences of the people.
"The culture of a people is like an iceberg as only about 10 percent is visible," he noted.
"The visible part includes the food, festivals, language and clothing but the depth of the software is hidden in their history, beliefs, experiences and other elements".
The national and continental elements, such as heroes, symbols, rituals and values could be marketed for others to embrace, while maintaining their own.
Intercultural communicators must have knowledge about their own cultures first, be objective and discerning in their presentations, mindful of the nuances in language and empathetic.
They must also guard against exaggerations, excesses and impositions to prevent conflicts.
The seminar, which forms part of FAAPA's human resource development programme, is under theme: "Women's Leadership: Needs and Strategies of African News Agencies".
It is being hosted at the African Center for the Training of Journalists, which is located at the headquarters of Moroccan News Agency (MAP).
The 21 participants, comprising journalists, editors and executive officers are from Ghana, Namibia, Togo, Cape Verde, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Benin, Morocco and other countries.
FAAPA, established in October 2014, is professional platform to encourage the exchange of experiences and to promote cooperation among news agencies in all areas of common interest, such as information, training and multimedia products.
FAAPA also strategizes to position news agencies to remain relevant with regard to the fast changing trends in multimedia technologies and is a champion of professional ethnics.
The GNA is an active member of this federation.