Time for Africa to rebrand

 

Windhoek – The economic greatness and destiny of Africa remains in the hands of Africans and it is up to them to deal with the negative perception that has besieged the continent for millennia, Tim Ekandjo of Namibia’s Mobile Telecommunications Ltd (MTC), has said.

Ekandjo, the chief human capital and corporate affairs officer at the mobile telecommunications operator, made the remarks at a recent gala dinner hosted by the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He rallied Africans to grasp the continent’s economic potential by rebranding and utilising own resources.

The gala dinner was held under the theme, “Doing Business in Namibia, Improving Value Chains and Business to Business linkages”.

“There is a need to rebrand Africa so that it not only sells the picture of hope for a better Africa, but that of a continent which can compete as an equal with the rest of the world, a resilient brand, a creative brand, a brand of entrepreneurship and a brand of opportunities,” Ekandjo said.

The MTC executive expressed the “need for Africa to be the pertinent master of their own destiny by realising that its potential to economic success lies in itself by trading with itself and doing business with its own utilising its own resources, human, mineral and financial”.

He said, “As Africans we need to start working together and start doing business with each other; we need to leverage on our strengths as a continent; and we need to collaborate and sometimes collude against the rest of the world so that we create new and positive perceptions about Africa and what it means to be African.”

Ekandjo pointed out that the world is mesmerised by the opportunities that Africa presents, especially that six out of seven of the world’s fastest growing economies are in Africa.

Although Africa has a good story to tell, Ekandjo lamented that Africans are not the authors of that story, adding that: “We have for too long allowed others to tell our story on our behalf in the manner they deem fit.”

According to Ekandjo, Africa needs to change the current status quo and perceptions that, “we are a continent of poverty, corruption, disease, a continent that loves begging and a continent that cannot do anything for itself”.

“We need to create brand champions for Africa. Politicians must create policies, Entrepreneurs must create ideas and the citizens must set the standard how they want to be served. We must take our leaders to task, because every country gets only the leaders they deserve.”

He added that the successful rebranding of Africa can only be successful if countries in the continent contribute by creating powerful country brands.

“We need to create brand champions for Africa. Politicians must create policies, entrepreneurs must create ideas and the citizens must set the standard how they want to be served. We must take our leaders to task, because every country gets only the leaders they deserve,” he said.

July 2014
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