Why Africa Does Not Need Unnecessary Opinions, But Proper Fact-Checking [Opinion]
Africa is shining, Period.
So, there has been a lot of exchange on social media about the recent reports on African Funding lately. The numbers vary in all the reports, and the reason assigned is the different methodologies. Well, the only way the numbers would have been unanimously the same if all the three publications – WeeTracker, Digest Africa and Disrupt Africa – had sat together and done the research. But then, all three would have been accused of forming a cartel.
Quite interesting how a South African startup blog conveniently left out Partech Venture’s funding report of last year from the entire conversation. If only some of the readers, along with our fellow publications, had just read the heading of the reports, a lot of questions would have come to rest.
While WeeTracker’s report clearly states itself as ‘African Venture Capital Report’, Digest Africa calls its report ‘Digest Africa Index‘ and Disrupt Africa clearly mentions ‘African Tech Startups Funding Report.’ So a mere look at the titles gives a peek into what sort of information each publication is trying to convey from their reports.
Conversations on the research methodologies of these reports have been out in the open, and Digest Africa has clarified over including debt, grant and prize money along with Venture Capital investments.
This is not a venture capital report.
— MALINZ (@malinz_) January 8, 2019
To clarify yet again in everyone’s interest, WeeTracker has followed the global standards of data collection and reporting. The report considers all the Venture Capital investments and early-stage funding of the ventures in Africa, including grants and prize money. It also recognises investments made in/for African ventures, and not companies necessarily headquartered in Africa. Exclusions in methodology are debt financing and private equity transactions.
As a practice, the ideal thing to do before writing ‘opinions’ is to do proper research before publishing. WeeTracker had put out the methodology on Twitter to clarify how the team went about gathering the information.
For the methodology, pls see the screenshot. pic.twitter.com/8DnZSruQOs
— WeeTracker (@weetracker) January 13, 2019
It is baffling to see why publications and stakeholders of the ecosystem should assume the role of jury and judge and start passing verdicts. It is good to question each other in the ecosystem to keep checks and balances. The publications who want to comment on these reports should have read the complete reports first. WeeTracker did share complimentary copies to media houses that wanted to cover the statistics.
To sum it up, we are aware of our responsibilities as media publications of the ecosystem and should contribute to the real cause we are associated with. It is understandable that the pressure of advertisers and revenue could be high on a few publications to garner more popularity and views, but there are better ways to achieve it, than writing half baked pieces.