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REBRANDING AFRICA: Deconstructing The Brand

We live in a world where shock value regularly trumps true value. Consequently international aid agencies either play ball or loose the opportunity for funding. And it’s not just the funding mechanisms that are tainted, it’s the “brand” that’s generated in order to garner the funds.

The media are looking for scenes of destruction, starving children, AIDS victims and tyrannical dictators toting gold plated AK-47s. Why? Because it gets people’s attention, and more specifically, their donor dollars. Pull those heart strings hard enough and money should fall out.

What if the media focused on Africa’s beauty, excellence and ability to rise above their circumstances? I’ve studied Africa most of my life, and have lived there (Rwanda) for four years. She is awe inspiring, magnificent in her vast beauty, with so much untapped talent. But that is not her brand.

Does America have corruption, disease and poverty? Of course. But people from all over the world come to America in droves to visit, invest and build businesses. People expect greatness out of America. Why? Because America has done an outstanding job of branding itself as the home of freedom and thriving businesses.

What if we approached Africa’s brand from the same perspective; that of a great tourist destination and place to invest and build businesses? Might that accomplish the desired results better than continuing to portray her as the charity case we’ve made her out to be? What if we expected greatness from Africa, and then marketed her that way?

Imagine it; “Come to Africa, home of spectacular wildlife, more resources than almost any other continent, overflowing with business opportunities and all the talent and manpower you could ever want. Africa, promise land of the future”. Certainly paints a different (yet accurate) picture than we’re used to doesn’t it?

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