Voice of America (VOA) is officially now on Dakar’s airwaves. U.S. Ambassador to Senegal James Zumwalt presided over a press conference and announced the happy news on March 3.
This launch is the fruit of several months of hard work on the part of various people who tirelessly labored to bring VOA to Dakar airwaves, now available at 102 FM. Ambassador Zumwalt said: “Now we [the United States] have an opportunity to add to the many voices on local airwaves. I expect that it will allow us to deepen the solid relationship between the people of Senegal and the people of the United States.” The Ambassador added that the government of the United States provides all financial support for the Voice of America; however, VOA maintains editorial independence and has a mandate against political interference from any U.S. government agencies.
Ambassador Zumwalt noted the presence of members of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) and VOA, notably Bruce Sherman, Director of the BBG’s Office of Strategy and Development, who came from Washington expressly for this launch of 102 FM. He also thanked Joyce Ngoh, Director of the Board’s West and Central Africa Office; Idrissa Fall, a native Senegalese and senior journalist on VOA’s French-to-Africa Service, who many Senegalese have been listening to for years; and Ngathie Diop, the Regional Coordinator of the Voice of America’s regional office here in Dakar.
Communications Director at the Ministry of Communication Alioune Dramé extolled the various cooperation streams that exist between Senegal and the United States, a collaboration which “VOA Dakar will contribute to reinforcing.”