Does Africa Need Rebranding?

That was the crux of one of the break out sessions at the ongoing conference about innovation, technology and prosperity in Africa.

From a lecture in public relations to another in social anthropology/social history to something incomprehensible from a lead economist from WB, it would be hard to tell if any of them answered even the most bare of questions: who has negatively branded Africa? What should the rebranding look like? And, for who is it supposed to benefit?

Does Africa need rebranding? Over to you, reader.

Oh, I had forgoten to include this blurb that explains what the session was supposed to be formally about:

“Africa’s ‘brand’ is created by the selective representation of the continent, often as a source of crises and as a destination for foreign aid. These perceptions of Africa matter. They shape our public discourse and influence important decisions in business and politics. With so many positive stories to tell about Africa, why do the negative ones dominate? How can Africa be ‘rebranded’? What about Africa should be highlighted in a rebranding strategy?”

2 thoughts on “Does Africa Need Rebranding?

  1. Rosebell, this is interesting, because I literally was just talking about this after reading the latest Kristof story this a.m. in the New York Times about Eastern Congo. The problem is that the old saw “if it bleeds, it leads” in the news media is the rule… and stories about mass genocide and rape is a lot of violence, garnering the lead spot in news. But I literally said to Peter, “Africa needs a new branding campaign!” I think the other problem is the fact that many African countries are recipients of foreign aid, so there is also the perception that it is poor. To rebrand I think people need to be educated that wars and poverty are not the rule.

  2. Yes definitely. One of the things that really irritates me is that China and India are branded as ‘investment destinations’ or ‘economic miracles’ yet India has more people living in extreme poverty than any other country in the world. And yet Ethiopia (I think 5th fastest growing economy in the world?) is seen as an aid dependent disaster area. Journalists are clearly partyly to blame for this but African leaders have to do a far better job – Kagame is quite good at this despite his anti-free press/democracy stance – of promoting their countries as a place of opportunity, partnership and business rather than simply a destination for aid.

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