CNBC Africa launched in SA

Date Published: November 14, 2006
Sub-Saharan Africa’s first international business news channel, CNBC Africa, will begin officially broadcasting from its Sandton (Johannesburg) headquarters facilities in May 2007, the channel’s chairman Zafar Siddiqi told the media yesterday, Monday 13 November 2006, at the Park Hyatt Hotel in Rosebank, Johannesburg. “This is a milestone in African television broadcasting,” said Siddiqi.
Gauteng Premier Mbhazima Shilowa and CEO of Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) Mvuleni Geoffrey Qhena also attended the event.

“CNBC Africa will bring African business closer to the decision-makers of other parts of the world, thus helping them to make quick but consistent decisions and filling the gap in the information needs of audiences,” Siddiqi said.

“By focusing on the financial, business and economic news of the region, we aim to provide a platform to an ongoing inter-African discussion on globalisation, employment, career, business and investment opportunities, living standards, infrastructure development and other relevant issues,” he added.

Over 130 jobs

It is believed that just over 130 jobs will be created and the entire workforce will be recruited locally, giving the full management of the channel at the hands of South African citizens.

CNBC Europe, which is currently airing on DStv’s Channel 54, will disappear come May next year, paving the way to CNBC Africa to broadcast 24/7. Talks are also under way with the SABC in the view of offering the public broadcaster “some piece of the cake”.

The channel will broadcast African news business bulletin hourly starting in the morning, coupled with a comprehensive current affairs programme and cross to CNBC Europe between 1pm and 3pm. In the evening, viewers will be served with something “appealing, lighter and exciting” related to education and entertainment. CNBC Africa will also cross live to the US (New York) and Asia (Tokyo and Singapore) later in the night, and finally come back to Africa in the early hours of the morning.

News bureaux

CNBC Africa will open news bureaux in Cape Town, Botswana, Nigeria, Kenya and Tanzania in phase one, and have its own correspondents in London and New York.

Apart from educating and informing viewers, the channel also aims at enhancing skills for local people. Currently, the company is in discussions with other media houses to sponsor a media training institute that would train South Africans on various aspects of media, as well as on the growing significance of convergence between the media, telecoms and IT.

South Africa’s IDC will own 28% of the venture made in the form of local equity investment through its Media and Motion Pictures Strategic Business Unit.

IDC CEO Qhena said that his company is a value-added investor that will create significant job opportunities in the industry and assist in developing a platform which will serve to improve financial literacy on the African continent.

Cutting-edge news

“We are excited about this project that will not only provide significant financial returns to IDC, but also offer cutting-edge news. It thrills that it will transform the African economy and improve business interaction between African countries,” Qhena said.

In the past few years, the number of multinational companies establishing their African headquarters in Gauteng has grown considerably. And Shilowa attributes this successful string of investments to the stability of the province in the past 12 years and its crucial role in the global and continental economic stage.

“On behalf of the government and the people of Gauteng, I would like to welcome CNBC Africa into our province and our country,” Shilowa said.

“The decision to set the CNBC Africa head office here in Gauteng is yet another confirmation of the importance of our province in the global economic stage and the political stability we have experienced since 1994,” he added.

Fourth economic powerhouse

Currently, Gauteng is ranked as the fourth economic powerhouse in Africa after SA, Egypt and Nigeria. Alone, it provides close to 35% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

CNBC is part of NBC Universal, which is owned by US giant General Electric (GE), Siddiqi told shortly after the media briefing.

For more information, contact:

  1. Rakesh Wahi, CNBC Director,<span style=”unicode-bidi: bidi-override; direction: rtl; display: inline;”>moc.acirfacbnc@ihaw.hsekar</span>
  2. Dante Mashile, IDC’s head of corporate affairs,<span style=”unicode-bidi: bidi-override; direction: rtl; display: inline;”>az.oc.cdi@metnad</span>or
    Chris Mullin (IDC),<span style=”unicode-bidi: bidi-override; direction: rtl; display: inline;”>az.oc.cdi@mrehpotsirhc</span>