Doing justice to Brand Africa

16 September 2010

The inaugural Brand Africa Forum, a one-day summit of pan-African decision-makers in media, business and nation branding, hosted by Brand South Africa, takes place at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg today.

According to Brand South Africa, the forum aims to “leverage and extract sustainable learnings from the successful 2010 Fifa World Cup South Africa to shape the image of Africa, and to set an agenda to drive the reputation, image and competitiveness of Africa – for Africa, by Africa.”

Speakers will include Dambiso Moyo, a former Goldman Sachs economist and author of the New York Times bestseller Dead Aid: Why Aid is Not Working and How there is a Better Way for Africa; and Simon Anholt, a leading authority on managing and measuring national identity and author of Brand New Justice, Brand America and Competitive Identity – The New Brand Management for Nations, Cities and Regions.

Speaking of Africa’s brand in the global marketplace, Anholt has said: “Brand Africa, with its simple message of ongoing catastrophe, is promoted by aid agencies, international organizations, donor governments and aid celebrities like Bob Geldof and Bono … not as 53 countries in various stages of development and struggle for independent existence and identity, but as a uniform, hopeless basket-case.”

It is this image of Africa – which fails to reflect the continent’s economic diversity, and the optimism that goes with rising investment, growth and stability – that the Brand Africa Forum will seek to change.

The forum will be broadcast to 41 sub-saharan African countries on CNBC Africa, a DSTV channel that reports on business in Africa from an African perspective.

SAinfo reporter

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