MADRID – The president of Spain’s EFE news agency announced on Friday the creation of a new award for Spanish-language journalists in Africa, in memory of Saliou Traore, the agency’s late correspondent in Senegal who passed away on Oct. 13, after enduring a long illness.
EFE’s president Fernando Garea spoke during the Second Africa-Spain journalism meeting and paid homage to the veteran agency correspondent, considered a model of professionalism and whose contribution, since 1981, in raising awareness on the African continent was deemed a benchmark.
“We hardly pay attention to Africa and when we do, we do it badly, and unfairly,” Garea said.
The agency president called for more African-related content in mass media, adding that Traore “loved EFE” as he recalled his moving chronicles of the African exodus that took place during the so-called “cayuco” migrant crisis.
A cayuco is a traditional African coastal fishing boat carved out of a tree trunk, but used by mafias to transport illegal migrants over to Spain’s Canary Islands.
Often overloaded and highly unstable, they would sink with everyone onboard while attempting the dangerous ocean crossing.
The first edition of the “Saliou Traore journalism awards for Spanish-language journalists in Africa,” a joint initiative with Casa Africa, will take place in 2019 in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria where the Spanish Ministry of Foreign affairs diplomatic-outreach House of Africa is located.
During his nearly four decades of journalism, Saliou, as he was known by his friends, covered the life sentence handed down to former Chad dictator Hissène Habre in Dakar, or the 2013 African visit of United States President, Barak Obama, among many other breaking news stories.
Traore was born May 8, 1952, in Fatick region, south of Senegal’s capital, Dakar, and joined EFE after being introduced to Jesus Fonseca, the agency’s bureau chief in Senegal who hired him for being “ a nimble and very able journalist who knew his country like the palm of his hand.”