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  Is Africa Misbranded?
 very good observation. as an african myself i agree with you. but it should also be noted that this brand of a hopeless africa is also encouraged by most of us africans,especially the leaders. it seems to pay more(aid,grants,NGO support and donations) portraying a hungry face than showing stability and self sustainabilty. if the donors could seriously tag thier contributions to certain benchmarks, then we could see more postive branding from more african countries. 
mwesigwa herbert, business manager, hk promotions - August 13, 2007
 Thank you for an inspiring article filled with truth and thought provoking insight. Im from Botswana (currently residing in Joburg) and know first hand that Africa is not all about starving babies and AIDS, for centuries we have been the source of many a product from the drum to all sorts of precious minerals which the world has greedily taken with no regards to the people behind these things. This must change and the re-branding of Africa is a part of this process, I agree that it starts with every citizen in every country, we must change the way we see ourselves and our place in the world. Our leaders attend international conferences with beggar bowls and the people adopt that mentality, lets start learning how to do for self and bring back old African ideals which associated us with hard work, integrity, honour and community not laziness and corruption. 
Game Bantsi, Student (BCOMM Marketing and Management), Monash University South Africa - August 13, 2007
 Africa as a nation can't brand themselves (positively) until they get their act together... 
anonymous - August 13, 2007
 Great article. The image of a continent in poverty is certainly a contributing factor to perceptions of African Countries. Another I believe is the notion that Africa is a single country or place. I'm always amused when I hear people say they are going to Africa - not Botswana or South Africa, but Africa. Kinda like saying you're visiting Asia or Europe. This may also have to do with streotypes, for example, Africa has wildlife and safaris and that's it - there's no room for each country to stand on it's own attributes. I think this has more to do with education 
Cliff, Associate Creative Director - August 13, 2007
 Simply fabulous article!!!! Post it everywhere. Let us link to it from our websites. It is so informative.

I just wish sometimes they would tell the other half of the story i.e. that African countries, like any other country also has it's educated elite, but we always see the dying, starving, etc.

Thanks for a job well done!
And then I always wonder just how much of the money from these great events really go to the people who need it. 
Linda Bailey, Managing Director, MWI Custom Beverages - August 13, 2007
 good article but again another contrast on the Nigerian campaign with the a pay offline line "The heart of Africa" when Malawi the small country in Central Africa has always used and still uses a similar payoff line "The warm heart of africa". One wonders where in Africa, the heart is looking at the map. 
anonymous - August 13, 2007
 So long as organizations continue to promote an image of Africa to build their brands they have an obligation to do so responsibly. I was encouraged to hear that African leaders are seeking out Simon Anholt’s advice. I just wish opinion leaders like Bono and Bob Geldof would do the same. 4 of 4 
Sean Duffy, The Duffy Agency - August 14, 2007
 I have two suggestions on how African nations can emancipate themselves from the African brand image imposed on them: 1.From branded house to house of brands: Don’t waste a moment trying to create a brand identity for the African continent. Focus on cultivating a handful of strong national brands based on real content and value (not hype). If that succeeds then the overall Africa brand will take care of itself (e.g. a small number of Europe’s 47 nations do most of the work in shaping its overall perception). 2.From milking the brand to building the brand: Organizations should be actively discouraged from milking the African brand to suit their charitable needs. They should understand the demoralizing effect their depictions have on the very populations they are trying to help. Instead organizations should be challenged to find new formats for their philanthropy that will provide aid while at the same time empowering Africa’s brand and its people. (continued 3 of 4) 
Sean Duffy, The Duffy Agency - August 14, 2007
 I agree that Africa’s image was crafted in no small part by well-intentioned “paternalistic helping hand” organizations. The logic seems to go like this: “In order for me to help Africa I must build my charity brand. In order to build my charity brand I must dramatize a need for my charity. In order to do that I must depict the African people as hopelessly needy.“ This depiction of Africa serves the charity brand well but African nations poorly. It could be argued that the long-term effects of promoting a “helpless Africa” may offset much of the short-term good these initiatives deliver. For those of us who advise companies in these matters, it is very much like the enthusiastic executive whose pursuit of short-term sales winds up costing the company its long-term brand equity. (continued 2 of 4) 
Sean Duffy, The Duffy Agency - August 14, 2007
 Great article. Working in African markets, we see how the African brand you describe directly affects our ability to market needed goods and services into Africa as well as to promote African interests abroad. The question “Is Africa Misbranded?” implies the intent to brand Africa properly in the first place. Despite numerous celebrity antics, I don’t see that happening nor, as you say, do I see it as a solution. Africa is a textbook example of a branded-house strategy succeeding. Say “Africa” to most people and you conjure up strong images of famine, war and wide-eyed suffering children (and to a lesser degree lions, giraffes and zebras). Today this singular brand identity blankets the 54 distinct countries found in Africa to the extent that when one brings up an example like Morocco, it’s not uncommon to hear “but that’s not really Africa.” This unfortunate brand perception does more than obscure the continent’s immense diversity and promise for self-sufficiency. It stifles it. 
Sean Duffy, The Duffy Agency - August 14, 2007
 Another perspective to consider is the impact that the African diaspora is playing, and will increasingly play, in shifting perceptions of 'Brand Africa'. We, Members of the Africa Centre in Covent Garden London, are currently exploring a variety of curatorial and commercial ways in which the Centre can help celebrate the difference that the diversity of Africa is making in the context of the UK. The impact is very much in evidence in the Arts 
Boko Inyundo, The Africa Centre - August 14, 2007
 In order to build a relevant and sustainable future for the Africa Centre with respect to today's young, entrepreneurial and growing UK African diaspora community, London's Africa Centre is determined to explore the appropriate avenues that will help display the very real dynamism of the people of Africa and its diaspora to a wider UK audience. In considering 'Brand Africa's' renaissance we shouldn't underestimate the powerful role that Africa's diaspora is playing, and will play, in over-turning the West's mis-perceptions of the African continent, perceptions largely built on the Media's near constant focus on the challenges and ills facing this otherwise truly inspiring continent. After all, members of the diaspora are the continent's real and present Ambassadours in the West and undoubtedly the most effective vehicles for shifting latent attitudes. 
Boko Inyundo, The Africa Centre - August 14, 2007
 I believe we need to look beyond the individual branding efforts by the countries and look at Africa as a country.

It is not good enough for a few conutries to run adverts and believe that is same thing as branding.

I believe Africa needs to spend more time on discovering our essence as a continent. There is a great need to bring together stakeholders and look at concrete actions to be taking that will deliver brand benefits.

It is very necessary to ensure that our common values are displayed in very clear terms on each exposure to Africa brand be it among the countries or to visitors.

Branding Africa needs to focus more on the internal efforts which cannot be delivered via advertising or stories in the media but by genuine stakeholders interaction ,policy formulation and attitudinal change 
AYENI OLAOLU, Manager ,Strategy - August 15, 2007
 The Scramble for Africa continues. And Africa is not a country. 
Michele Champagne, Designer, Interbrand - August 15, 2007
 It's possible to consider contries as individual brands as nations are governed individually but international perceptions do not attain to the existence of different African states when considering the problems plaguing the continent. Hence the need to build brand equity on a continetal scale. But consider digressing away from this viewpoint only if individual nations build to equitable brand value rather than bland communication schemes 
Musekiwa Samuriwo, Brand Strategist, Tatu Multimedia - August 16, 2007
 This is a new day and African countries have to brand and market themselves well if they wish to become bigger key players in the global market. No on out there will do it for us. Most countries complain that they have no money to do this, but with a little innovation the world may start to see you differently. The alternative is to let others continue to define our destiny. "Only when lion becomes hunter will man cease to be hero." 
Ellen Korto Dunbar, Executive Producer, Miss Africa International Pageant - August 17, 2007
 The private sector holds a bigger key to re-branding Africa than they realize. If they would build globally respected "Made in Africa" Brands which would compete with any western Brand, the west would be forced to reckon with Africa as a place to compete, rather than a place to exploit. This shall be the start of re-branding Africa - simply, genuinely, sustainably! 
Miruka Martin, CEO and Lead Strategist, ATOM-Tdf Kenya - August 17, 2007
 Yes Africa is misbranded?

Africa is one of the backward continents which need to be developed in every ways. It’s very hard to explain Africa today? As the population is decreasing down by wars. All of them aged 10 – 17 are child soldiers? (Annual war deaths have averaged 1 out of every 10,800 Africans for the last four decades.) People are even dying of AIDS….. I personally feel bad to write about it, as developed countries like US and UK should come forward to help the people in educating and should support the people to think right.

The right way for branding is to first educate the people ….and education on AIDS how is take your life. 
vasanth arkachari, interaction designer, centre for development of advanced computing - August 20, 2007
 MADE IN AFRICA, is the only way... An interesting passage from a Design Observer blog by David Stairs, entitled Why Design Won't Save the World. His piece speaks to the Cooper-Hewitt "Design for the other 90%" exhibit, but the principles apply to this branding article nonetheless... "A starting point might be to recognize that in many cases, we don’t need to remake other people or their societies in our image and likeness. The idea of design intervention — sustainable or otherwise — may feel very intrusive to people who are still reeling from 150 years of colonial intervention. (You don’t just waltz into a patriarchal society and aggressively advocate equal opportunity for women, or deliver pumps and boreholes to peasant farmers without understanding the sociology of migratory herdsmen). Living among other people and learning to appreciate their values, perspectives and social mores is an excellent tool of design research." 
Michele Champagne, Designer, Interbrand - August 20, 2007
 As a brand consultancy in LA with strong ties to South Africa, we believe strongly in the success of a Made in South Africa brand and actively work to promote products from this region. Although not all consumer product sectors have found their voice, the global recognition of our hospitality, music, wine, marketing, graphic design and thinktank forums from South Africa will hopefully inspire other sectors to raise their profiles. 
Debra Stevenson, President, The Skyline Studios - September 10, 2007
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