African Media Initiative: Cameroon Eric Chinje Appointed Chief Executive
Eric Chinje is a veteran Cameroon journalist can be nicknamed ‘le Journaliste du President’ because he is one of the few local journalists that successfully landed interviews with President Paul Biya – a rare occurrence. His already rich career became even richer in May when news broke that Chinje was named new Chief Executive Officer of the African Media Initiative (AMI). Camernews.com examines issues that played in his favour.
News of Chinje’s new top African job broke while he still served as Senior Advisor with an international communications company in the United States of America. “It is my pleasure to inform you that the Board of the African Media Initiative (AMI) has, at the end of an international selection process, decided to appoint Mr. Eric Chinje, a Cameroonian national, as the new Chief Executive Officer of AMI,” read an appointment letter signed by AMI Chairman, Trevor Ncube.
Challenges to beat
Chinje replaces Amadou M. Ba and his appointment is for a 3-year term beginning July 1, 2014. Issues of vital importance await the Cameroonian as he will be expected to build on the successes of his predecessor which include inter alia strengthening the role of AMI in improving the quality of media in Africa and reinforcing the financial base of the Initiative.
He also has the challenging duty of liaising with regional and global media institutions to improve the quality of media support interventions on the continent as well as strengthening management, leadership and professionalism in the African media sector and helping African media houses embrace technology to cultivate new revenue streams and enhance sustainability.
The AMI Chairman said Mr Ba steps down at the end of his founding tenure to pursue his other professional interests while Dr Roukaya Kasenally was appointed acting CEO until Chinje assumed his new position. Eric Chinje, AMI believes, will bring stellar journalism, communications and development experience along with valuable management skills and an unalloyed commitment to Africa’s development.
It is worth noting that Chinje will simultaneously be serving as Senior Advisor with the Washington DC-based International Communications and Trade Relations firm, KRL International and AMI. At KRL, where he currently works after a stint as Director of Strategic Communications at the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Chinje provides high-level strategic communications advice to the Governments of Liberia and South Sudan among others.
The Cameroonian was chosen for the wide experience he brings to the position. A veteran broadcaster, Chinje was Head of News and Programs and Editor-in-Chief of then-Cameroon Television now Cameroon Radio Television (CRTV) and, at various times from 1984-1991, a contributing correspondent for CNN World Report, and a stringer for the BBC World Service, Voice of America and Deutsche Welle Radio.
Chinje spent over 16 years at the World Bank in Washington DC and held senior management positions, including leading the Global Media Development Program at the World Bank Institute (WBI) and as Manager of the Africa Region Strategic Communications (AFRSC) Unit where he oversaw a team of over 80 communication professionals located across Sub-Saharan Africa. He was the Bank’s Spokesperson on African affairs.
Keenly interested in the issues of governance, Chinje’s signature achievement was the launch of the Independent Media for Accountability, Governance and Empowerment (IMAGE) program that ran a series of journalism capacity-building workshops on Economics and Business Reporting, Investigative Journalism, Covering the Budget, Reporting on Agriculture and others, reaching over 2000 journalists in Africa and Asia.
He also served as Vice Chair of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund Africa Club from 1996–2002. Between 2004 and 2008, Eric Chinje was Head of External Affairs and Communications at the African Development Bank, working at the AfDB temporary headquarters in Tunis.
Mr. Chinje is currently a Visiting Scholar at the George Mason University in Virginia, USA. He received a BA (Honors) from the University of Yaounde, Cameroon (1977), an MSc in Telecommunications from the Newhouse School of Communications, Syracuse University (1981), and was a Fellow for International and Intercultural Communications at the Center for International Affairs, Harvard University (1991).
Le Journaliste du President and his wife, Diane Aurelie, currently live in Fairfax, Virginia in the United States of America. The couple has four children: Tania Siri, Jon-Colin Muntalo, Sonya Abiba Shiraneh and Michael Khan.