Economist's Guest wins top Diageo Africa award

Robert Guest, Africa editor at The Economist, was named journalist of the year at the Diageo Africa Business Reporting Awards.

The inaugural awards recognise balanced and accurate reporting of business in Africa, with the aim of encouraging more prolific and wider-ranging coverage of the subject.

Guest went to South Africa for The Economist in 1998 and returned to London three years later to become Africa editor. He said: “Africa is underreported, so you have the pick of all sorts of colossal stories, many of which just aren’t covered, for example the war in the Congo where three million people have died. We covered the Sudan issue in May last year and in January this year we had three pages on it. The Diageo awards recognise financial and business reporting on Africa where there is no room for elaboration.

People need to know what is actually happening.”

Guest has won two other awards this year – a Queen’s English Association Award for writing and a Foreign Press Association Award for a piece on the economics of civil war, which he wrote with James Astill.

Other work recognised by the awards included a feature, “Worrying news found in Kenya’s tea leaves”, by The Times’ Carl Mortishead. He said: “I am pleased to win the award, not least because it is difficult to get African business stories into British newspapers and I hope Diageo’s initiative leads to more coverage of Africa.”

The BBC received two awards – best broadcast feature and best publication.

The former acknowledged the work of reporter Shola Olowu, producer Egon Cossau and video journalist Neil Drake. Their film, “Ten Years On – A South African Story”, was one of five they filed from South Africa to mark the country’s decade of democracy.

BBC News Online won best publication for a BBC online page devoted to HIV and AIDS.

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