Africans are unhappy with WSJ’s coverage of the Mali hostage siege

Yet again, a foreign media organisation has shown inexcusable ignorance in its news coverage on the continent.

Africans woke up yesterday to news of jihadists holding 170 people hostage at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, Mali. As the siege ended after the intervention of Malian troops supported by French forces, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) prepared a story and proudly published it on its cover, with the headline Hostage Siege Shakes Africa. One of the comments that followed a tweet of the cover by WSJ calls the 126-year old newspaper “ignorant”.

See other reactions below:


WSJ is not the first to have referred to Africa as a country; US Vice President Joe Biden also thinks Africa is a country. Last year, while speaking at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum spoke of the ‘nation’ Africa.

“There’s no reason the nation of Africa cannot and should not join the ranks of the world’s most prosperous nations in the near term, in the decades ahead. There is simply no reason,” said Biden.

A day later, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi tweeted a similar gaffe, but later deleted it. “Honored to join my colleagues & @OfficialCBC at #USAfrica Leaders Summit to discuss the valuable relationship between our two countries,” she tweeted, then deleted Wednesday, Twitchy reported.

However, the ignorance does not reside only in the United States. Same can be found in Australia where Labor’s foreign affairs spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek also called Africa a country last year.

“Africa is one of the countries that has suffered most from these cuts to the aid budget,” she had told reporters as she attacked the Coalition government’s decision to cut future foreign aid spending.

But Africa is not a country, it is a continent of 54 nations, with the world’s youngest population and abundant creative genius, which runs from Egypt to Algeria in the north, Angola to Lesotho in the South, Ethiopia to Kenya in the east and Nigeria to Senegal in the West.