Oslo, 12 November 2004 - An agreement has been made to open a new subsidiary of afrol News in Las Palmas, the capital of the Spanish Canary Islands off West Africa. The subsidiary of the Oslo-based news agency will concentrate on establishing and coordinating a network of West African independent media, in addition to coordinate new services in Portuguese and French language.
The chief editors of afrol News's English edition, Rainer Chr. Hennig, and of the Spanish edition, Pablo Gracia Sáez, earlier this month met with the company's sales representative in Las Palmas, Manuel Vidal. Here, an agreement was made to deepen the cooperation and to launch a new subsidiary of the news agency in Las Palmas during 2005. Mr Vidal will be afrol News' representative in the Canary Islands.
The Las Palmas offices - which are to be termed "afrol News Canarias" - will mainly have the responsibility to establish and coordinate a network of independent media in coastal West Africa, from Morocco to Nigeria. The network will be based on free news exchange, technology transfer, training and commercial cooperation between the media.
afrol News currently publishes only in Spanish and English language, while test operations in Portuguese language recently have started. Due to the language situation in West Africa, the new subsidiary in Las Palmas will contribute to the consolidation of Portuguese language services and the introduction of French language services. Portuguese and French translations of afrol News copy and special items from other partner media will thus be made available.
Further, afrol News Canarias will in particular strengthen the new agency's Spanish service due to a large market for West Africa news in Spain, and in particular in Canary Islands. The new subsidiary further will emphasise on the economic, political and cultural ties between the Canary Islands and North and West Africa.
During their visit in Las Palmas, editors Hennig and Gracia also met with high officials from the archipelago's autonomous government, the chambers of commerce and the media. These representatives all gave warm support to afrol News' plans to establish a subsidiary in Las Palmas, emphasising the need to strengthen the islands' ties with West Africa and to increase the exchange of news between the Canary Islands and the continent.
As a result of this new initiative, afrol News this week also noted an editorial change. We have added the Canary Islands as one of the "African countries" that the news agency covers. Geographically, the autonomous Spanish archipelago belongs to Africa, and strong historic, cultural and economic ties exist between the Canary Islands and North-West Africa. afrol News will focus on these ties in its reporting on the Canary Islands.
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