What makes the partnership unique, is that Getty Images’ global media subscribers will be able to access press release text as well as images that accompany them.

That means more than a million journalists will be able to see for themselves the rich diversity of African business, culture and sport.

NAIROBI, Kenya: In an exclusive interview with Smart Africa Media, Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard, Founder and Chairman of APO Group shines more light on his cutting edge partnership with Getty Images, its impact on journalism and storytelling in Africa and entrepreneurship in the continent.

Here is the full transcript:      

Mr Pompigne-Mognard, congratulations for the game-changing partnership with Getty Images, the global leader in visual communications, geared towards changing the narrative of Africa to the world. Please share the content of this partnership with the audience.

Many thanks! I think it is an important partnership for African storytelling. Getty Images are a global leader in imagery, with a peerless reputation for providing millions of quality editorial assets to journalists all over the world. Now, they have opened their amazing network of global media subscribers to press releases and images distributed by APO Group.

What makes the partnership unique, is that these subscribers will be able to access the press release text as well as the images that accompany them. That means more than a million journalists will be able to see for themselves the rich diversity of African business, culture and sport. It marks the first time that such a prominent international audience has been exposed to a comprehensive feed of quality African content, so I don’t think it is an over-statement to say it is a great opportunity to challenge the negative perceptions of Africa that currently dominate the international narrative.

What are some of the benefits that both partners, African and international audiences will derive from this milestone collaboration?

The benefits are significant for both parties – but also for Africa as a whole. The partnership provides our clients with a ready-made international audience of major media all over the world. Tens of thousands of major media organizations. More than a million journalists worldwide. Only an organization with the experience and reputation of Getty Images can generate that sort of network. And I believe it is unprecedented that they have made it available to content from Africa in this way.

For their part, the fact they have chosen to partner with APO Group demonstrates the increasing importance of Africa to Getty Images and their subscribers. We can deliver the best of African sport and business through our clients and partners operating all over Africa. News and images from multinational organizations that are investing in Africa, and from some of the continent’s biggest sporting events. Often, this is the first time international audiences are seeing positive stories like this, so it definitely feels like a milestone moment.

The partnership could not have come at a better time when visual communications such as appealing images are increasingly driving content consumption in digital spaces, more so, among millennials. How can we encourage and instill the positive stories narrative to this age group to take up the mantle tomorrow?

We have always placed huge value on images and other visual elements to press releases. That’s why we have never charged extra to our clients for the addition of multimedia assets. If you want to tell a story, pictures are vital for bringing increased detail and emotion. They make stories more powerful and drive more engagement with the audience.

For younger people, is even more important. We have seen a shift in media consumption in younger age groups, with online and social platforms dominating. So, if we are trying to change people’s perceptions of Africa for the long term, images have a vital role to play.

Talking about shining a light on the positive stories being told on the continent every day. I founded Smart Africa Media after realizing a negative popular trend whereby most newsrooms in the continent accord very minimum visibility for pro-development and success stories. What else can be done to accelerate uptake of positive and constructive stories?

We have made a conscious decision to partner with organizations that are making a positive impact on development in Africa. We are in the privileged position of being able to promote and amplify the work they are doing to audiences all over the world. A great example is sport, which we believe has the potential to create unity and heal division and inequality.

Our recent partnership with French football club Olympique de Marseille is helping them promote grass roots development in Africa, where they have a huge fan base. The work they do is amazing, but it often goes unreported outside of Africa. We are delighted to be righting that wrong by highlighting the success stories they are contributing to every day.

We are also the Main Official Sponsor of Rugby Africa, World Rugby’s African association, and have helped chronicle the meteoric rise in popularity of the sport all across Africa. Rugby is growing faster in Africa than anywhere else in the world but – again – not enough people get to hear about it.

And it’s not just sport, it’s governments, institutions, multinational companies – all of these organizations have positive and constructive stories to tell. It’s our job to make sure they reach as many people as possible.

I watched your inspiring CNN interview last year, talking about your vision to change the international narrative of Africa through positive press, describing as a monumental task. What have been the key drivers, pushing you to execute your vision?

Just the fact that there is this overwhelmingly negative perception of Africa in the rest of the world. If you ask someone to describe our continent, you will often hear stories of poverty, poor organization, conflict and corruption. International content about Africa has, for years, followed this trend. It is not fair. It does not reflect the Africa I know.

At APO Group we distribute dozens of press releases about Africa every day. Almost all of them are positive. In the last two weeks alone, we have distributed news about Coca-Cola opening a new Digital Delivery Centre in Johannesburg; Ecobank Group launching a digital banking service via WhatsApp in Togo; Canon training students in Lagos, Nigeria; Radisson Hotel announcing seven new hotels in Morocco. The list goes on.

We would like this to be the narrative about Africa. For it to be synonymous with innovation, investment and opportunity.

Looking back from where you started, how would you self-assess your journey so far and what’s next for the APO Group?

When I founded APO Group (or African Press Organization as it was then known) back in 2007 it was very much just me on my own. Pretty soon it became clear that my business model was a good one: For the first time, I was providing media with access to a feed of press releases about Africa all in one place. As the company grew, I realized the value in hiring local people who were media relations experts. That has given us credibility with journalists all over the continent. They trust us, and turn to us for credible commercial news about Africa. In turn, that means we can make connections between media and prominent people within business, sport or public office. Our biggest achievement has been to form a bridge between our clients and the African media, not just when it comes to press release distribution, but across the full spectrum of public relations services. We can now coordinate interviews, press conferences, and other PR activity in all 54 African countries, and that’s something I’m extremely proud of.

As for what’s next? We will continue to try to change the narrative about Africa by telling positive stories, and working with likeminded organizations to drive development all across our continent.

Watch the interview:  

About APO Group:

Founded in 2007, APO Group (www.APO-opa.com) is the leading pan-African communications consultancy and press release distribution service. We assist private and public organisations in sharpening their reputation and increasing their brand equity in target countries across Africa. Our role as a trusted partner is to leverage the power of media and build bespoke strategies that enable organisations to produce a real, measurable impact in Africa and beyond. The trust and recognition granted to APO Group by global and multinational companies, governments, and NGOs inspires us to continuously enhance our value proposition within Africa to better cater to our clients’ needs. Among our prestigious clients: Facebook, Dangote Group, Nestle, GE, NBA, Canon, Coca-Cola, DHL, Marriott Group, Ecobank, Siemens, Standard Chartered, Orange, Jack Ma Foundation, African Development Bank, World Health Organization, Islamic Development Bank, Liquid Telecom, Rotary International, Kaspersky, Greenpeace…

Headquarters: Lausanne, Switzerland | Offices in Senegal, Dubai and Hong Kong

For further information, please visit our website: https://www.APO-opa.com

Media Outlet Synopsis

Smart Africa Media (https://smartcompany.africa) is a pan-African online media convergence platform, developing to incorporate Television, Newspaper and Podcast, covering the continent’s pro-development and success stories, to inspire investment and growth.

The media house is on the verge of cultivating correspondences and audiences across Africa and the Diaspora, with a strong emphasis on business and economy stories that are positive, constructive, and empowering.


Elvis Mboya, Managing Editor SMART AFRICA MEDIA


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