Communication training in Africa is beset by a number of problems, some of which are peculiar to the region and some of which are shared by other developing areas of the world. Mass communication is a recent phenomenon in Africa and is less developed than in most other regions, but it continues to grow, creating an increasing demand for trained communicators. Because of a general lack of resources, both financial and human, more than half the countries in the region lack adequate national training facilities. Many of the institutions that do exist suffer from a chronic shortage of qualified educators, technical equipment and suitable teaching materials. Low literacy rates, low levels of general education and a staggering diversity of languages and cultural traditions further complicate the process of communication and call for specialized training, which is not usually available. Foreign influences have been strong and, while most assistance programs have been well-intentioned, some of them may have hindered the growth of self-reliance. The mistrust of formal journalism training, left over from colonial days, still flourishes, particularly where university programs are concerned. Despite these problems, considerable strides have been made in developing regional training initiatives and in strengthening the programs offered by some of the older training centers.
Historically, formal communication training dates from the late 1950s and early 1960s, when many African states acquired independence from former colonial powers. Before that time, most newspapers, with a few