A British citizen of Nigerian origin is providing a voice for Africa in Brussels where few are heard.
Uzo Madu left her consultancy job to launch a program called What’s in it for Africa (WIIFA) in 2015.
“What really spurred me to create WIIFA was that there were communication gaps when it came to talking about African interests in the EU context,” she says.
Madu says that managing the European Union (EU)-Africa relationship effectively will shape how foreign direct investments are made on the continent, the extent of trade preference for African countries to enter the EU and the protection African states may get in terms of competitiveness.
WIIFA is a useful information resource for Africans to gain a better grasp of the opportunities and challenges posed by EU policies.
“The central focus of the online program and blog is to produce an African narrative around what is occurring around the EU. Not only to feed into debates taking place in Brussels, but to inform an African audience about the policy landscape playing out in that city which can have economic and political implications for them.”
However, Madu’s rewards come with challenges.
“The biggest issue I have faced was getting the buy-in from potential interviewees. If you are not a big media outfit, people tend to approach you or react to you with a fair amount of caution.”
“Because WIIFA is still building a name for itself, it made it difficult to push the boundaries in approaching a topic, for fear of alienating a potential interlocutor or partner in the future.”
Although the project has received positive feedback, it operates without any external funding. This limits her content to one or two videos a month.
This hasn’t diminished Madu’s belief in the project.
“I am very excited about what is yet to come, which is much more in-depth policy analysis, upfront debates tackling the tough questions and events.”
Madu might be the only person who presents Africa’s concerns in the EU environment. This is one of the reasons she is becoming a recognized figure in the heart of Europe. Will WIIFA become known in Africa? Time will tell.