Takeaways from the 2024 APRA Conference

It’s been two months since the 2024 edition of the annual African Public Relations Association (APRA) conference took place. This was my second time attending the APRA Conference and it was yet again a memorable experience for me. This year, not only was The Comms Avenue one of the partners for the conference, we also hosted a session on Mentorship in the African PR Industry.

Needless to say, I have several highlights and takeaways from the 2024 APRA Conference. I’ll share a few of them with you.

The Pre-Conference Session with University Students 

It’s not news that I especially love to engage with students in every city I travel to. Well, it’s not news if you’ve been following for a while!

One thing that made the engagement with students in Abidjan extra exciting was the language barrier. I know, how can a language barrier be exciting? Well, for me, it meant that I had to put in extra effort to craft my message and deliver it in a way that would connect meaningfully with the students.

It was not a small task but I am glad the session went well. We had those translation headsets which made things easier and I was also able to leverage on the little French that I know. It was yet another reminder that I need to resume my French classes.

As an aside, the language barrier we have within Africa isn’t doing us much good. How great will it be for us to be able to understand ourselves and speak a unified language> Maybe it’s wishful thinking or maybe it will happen one day. Who knows?


The Learning Experience 

There are many things I enjoyed during the 2024 APRA Conference but the learning experience does standout. I quite liked the diversity of topics and speakers at the conference this year.

There were presentations on cross-cultural communications, sustainability, transcultural storytelling and digital inclusion. The sessions and panel conversations broadened my mind about the critical role we play as communicators in today’s world and the need for constant innovation in the way we connect with audiences from across the world.

I also found the presentation on the Edelman Trust Barometer very useful. They do this research every year and it is always interesting to see how the levels of trust have either risen or fallen over the last few years.

With consumers having less faith in corporate organisations and governments, extra effort needs to be made to gain and maintain their trust. Neither of those can be achieved without the collobaration of communcations professionals and key stakeholders within the organisation. It also cannot be achieved by an organisation choosing to remain tone deaf to the needs and concerns of its stakeholders.


The PR Mentorship Roundtable 

Am I allowed to say that this was one of my favourite sessions during the conference? Well, I will say it any way. It was!

It really isn’t because it was hosted by The Comms Avenue (ok, maybe that’s part of it) but for me, I loved it because it served as a nice wake up call for the senior Communications and PR professionals to become more intentional about mentorship.

We didn’t go there to lecture them about the benefits of mentorship. We used storytelling to showcase the results and impact we have achieved through mentorship and we also had a panel discussion which brought out several practical strategies that senior professionals can adopt to begin their mentorship journey. Our speakers were simply exceptional!

I also loved the contributions we received from the professionals and the feedback that was shared afterwards. It gives me hope that we will indeed preserve knowledge exchange and transfer between younger and senior professionals within the African PR industry.

You can watch a replay of my presenation here.


Touring Cote d’Ivoire 

Of course, this had to make the cut. I think most delegates at the APRA conferences look forward to the city tours every year.

It’s a great way to get to know the city and also connect with other delegates in a ‘let your hair down’ type of way. I got to visit Dormaine Bini and Yamoussoukro. I guess the highlight of the road trip to Yamoussoukro was getting to visit the famous Basilica, even though I left the impressive site with lots of unanswered questions.

I’m not every adventorous with food so I didn’t eat so much of the local food but it was fascinating to see the similarities between their local dishes and ours in Nigeria. That being said, I think ate way too many pastries, especially croissants from Paul. They really do have great pastries in Cote d’Ivoire.

In all, the 2024 APRA Conference was a memorable learning and networking experience. As always the APRA leadership and secretariat team led by Veronica Abuede ensured that all delegates got value for their money! Next year, the conference will hold in Mombasa, Kenya. I am looking forwad to it. Please plan to attend if you are a Comms/PR professional working within the African continent.



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