BBC Swahili to shift to East Africa

Peter Horrocks Peter Horrocks: 'audiences will be the winners'

The World Service is to shift its entire BBC Swahili radio and online production to East Africa, bringing it closer to its 20-million strong audience there.

Breakfast show Amka na BBC, which is currently made in Nairobi, will relocate to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.

Dira ya Dunia, the service's flagship afternoon programme, will move from its London base to Nairobi, together with the evening news.

All output will continue to be broadcast from London.

Online content production for the website, meanwhile, will be split between the Kenyan capital and Dar es Salaam. Production is currently shared between London and Nairobi.

No redundancies

London-based staff will work on the tv version of Dira ya Dunia, which was launched last year, and which will continue to be made in London. There will be no redundancies.

Producers from East Africa, brought in to help launch the tv programme, will be returning home to support the migration of radio output to the region.

In Nairobi to announce the move, director of global news Peter Horrocks said: 'Every week, around 20 million people tune in to BBC Swahili radio. Amka na BBC and Dira ya Dunia are household names among millions of Kiswahili-speakers. Traffic to has grown more than threefold year on year - with majority of users coming to us via mobile phones.

'By relocating the BBC Swahili teams to East Africa, we will better meet the demands of these people who come to the BBC for the news and information they trust. We are confident that our audiences will be the winners of this change and investment in Africa.'

Africa shift

The BBC, which first broadcast to East Africa in Kiswahili in 1957, has been moving a number of its language radio programmes to its target market across Africa.

In 2006, it became the first international broadcaster to produce and present a radio show from the continent, with the move of BBC Swahili's breakfast show to Nairobi.

BBC Hausa and BBC Afrique (French for Africa) went on to make their morning programmes in Abuja in Nigeria and Dakar in Senegal respectively.

Two months ago, BBC Somali successfully relocated its breakfast programme to Nairobi.


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