The annual CNN Multichoice African Journalist Awards took place last week at a Gala ceremony hosted by CNN and Multichoice at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre, in Nairobi. Amongst the winners was Paul Kelemba, a Kenyan who was presented with the GE Energy & Infrastructure award by President and CEO of GE Africa, Jay Ireland.

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Kelemba works as a freelancer for The Standard and was awarded the GE Eneregy & Infrastructure Award for his piece entitled “Sorting out Nairobi Transport”, beating 39 other entries spanning across different African countries. The judging panel at the 2015 CNN Multichoice African Journalist Awards, praised Kelembe saying that:

It is the first time we have awarded a piece of graphic journalism. Infrastructure is an important topic but it is very a difficult story to make interesting and Paul Kelemba has succeeded. He used a full-page graphic in the Saturday edition of the Standard to paint a scenario of how Nairobi’s epic transport problems could be solved. Maddo, as Kelembe is known, included trains, subways, buses and pedestrianised areas to illustrate the various transport options facing one of Africa’s leading cities. The graphic is deeply humorous as he pokes gentle fun at his fellow Nairobians and the people who run the city. A popular winner, we hope that by showcasing graphic journalism, more young artists will turn their attention to using their craft for this exciting new form of journalism.

When asked about the role journalists play in setting the right policy agenda for governments, Patricial Obozuwa who is the Director of Communications for GE Africa stated that:

[J]ournalists play a vital role in setting the right policy agenda for respective governments all over the world by their journalistic work. Paul Kelemba’s award winning entry is a typical example of the power of journalism to redirect public focus on the topical issues. We are glad to be associated with the Energy and Infrastructure category of the CNN Awards. By their respective entries in this category, journalists are certainly helping to highlight infrastructural issues that sometimes become a call-to-action for stakeholders and governments.

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The CNN Multichoice African Journalist Awards was established in August 1995 to encourage, promote and recognise excellence in African journalism and it has in the span of 20 years become the most respected journalism awards in the region. Every year, over 1,600 entries in 12 Categories are received from over 40 African Countries, including English, French & Portuguese-speaking countries and the Awards ceremony is broadcast across Africa via DSTV platforms, 66 terrestrial channels in 47 African countries .

As a mark of wide acceptance and spreading influence the awards have attracted sponsorship from global brands. Renowned technology and infrastructure leader General Electric (GE) is one of such brands. GE took a strategic decision to sponsor the GE Energy & Infrastructure Award of the CNN awards last year.

In 2014 when the new category was introduced, there were entries from 38 countries around Africa. GE wants to see even more entries in the years to come because Energy and Infrastructure remain at the core of Africa’s development. More than half of the population of sub Saharan Africa has no access to electricity. Millions of children have no electricity at school. The Energy deficit in Africa is huge. Governments also need to facilitate access to clean water, hospitals, clinics and move freight through an efficient rail system. 

Last year’s winners of the GE Energy & Infrastructure Award was given to Joy Summers and Susan Comrie of Carte Blanche for their piece entitled “Game of Geysers Part 1 and 2″.

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