It was a moment of pride for journalists from across West Africa who gathered in Accra over the previous weekend under one umbrella to celebrate and be awarded with Excellence in Journalism.
The occasion was the maiden edition of West Africa Media Excellence Conference & Awards 2017(WAMECA), which was organized to mark the 20th Anniversary of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA). The event took place at the luxurious Movenpick Ambassador Hotel.
With the award aimed at improving media professionalism and strengthening the media as partners for development in all sectors across all ECOWAS countries, certainly journalists whose stories have helped in the development of the sub-region could not miss out on the award.
As everyone at Business Day expected following the announcement of finalists, Sheila Williams, our regular author of the Tourism/Hospitality pages, grabbed the award for “Best Journalist in ECOWAS and Regional Integration Reporting for 2017.”
The write-up that won Sheila Williams the prize was titled “West Africa’s Single Currency: Is it a mirage?” In the piece Sheila informs those responsible that “if the convergence criteria are not revised to reflect the real macroeconomic situation in the sub-region, the single currency dream will remain work-in-progress for the unforeseeable future.”
The write-up was against the backdrop that the decision to create a single monetary zone for West Africa was reached by Heads of State of the 15-member countries at a summit of the ECOWAS, the region’s economic commission, in Lome, Togo in 1999.
This plan is to be made achievable in the year 2020, with the aim to create a single and harmonized monetary union for all West Africa by 2004.
In a brief speech after receiving the award, Sheila showed appreciation to Business Day Newspaper for the support and platform given to her to write, culminating in being named an ECOWAS award winning journalist.
Sheila walked away with a certificate of merit, a plague, year-round training by West Africa Media Foundation (WAMF) and a cash prize.
The Executive Director for MFWA – Mr. Sulemana Braimah said, “This is an event to celebrate and acknowledge the hard work of excellent journalism in West Africa; the efforts that journalists put into their job, sometimes risking their lives and those loved ones. The event showcases talented individuals who are dedicated to working to uphold this important tenet of democracy in a region that is still working to consolidate press freedom.
“We look forward to engaging with all of this year’s finalists, who have now become ambassadors in our profession,” he added.
Other awarded journalists include; Seth Kwame Boateng – Ghana (overall West Africa best journalist), Femi Asu – Nigeria (Oil and Gas reporting), Fouseeuni Saibou – Togo (Health reporting), Alagbe Jesusegun – Nigeria (Anti-corruption reporting) and Manasseh Azuri Awuni – Ghana (Investigative reporting).