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Quote: Taking African products where there’s no bias

December 28th, 2007 | No Comments | Posted in Business, General, Politics, Travel

While more established economies begin to focus on the revenue potential of emerging economies, many of those emerging economies are also seeing the benefits of selling to each other. Speaking about selling African products in foreign markets, the Ugandan Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) managing director, Mr. Henry Ngabirano, explains

Though our coffee is world class, we find problems marketing it in the more developed countries because they perceive all products from the third world as inferior … It’s only natural that Uganda focuses on markets in the Arab world, North Africa and Far East where consumers don’t have this bias.

Beyond translation to an African target market

December 27th, 2007 | No Comments | Posted in Books/Magazines, Business, General

Africans shoppingI recently started reading a new book Beyond Translation; The Marketer’s Field Guide to Understanding Today’s Transcultural Consumer and so far am impressed by the perspective of the author Valerie Romley. Having only “met” the author online, I was interested to find out what marketers are beginning to think about diversity and multicultural marketing. What’s interesting so far about the book is the fact that the author calls for marketers to go beyond the usual census-based demographics data and focus more on doing their own research to understand the cultural norms of their target market. Though I haven’t quite gotten to the core of the book’s message yet, I am hopeful that the beyond translation message is something that more companies and marketers adopt in 2008. As someone who continues to follow the growing African market, I can see so many benefits for companies changing the way they develop products and market them. Gone are the days when a company need only market to the dominant culture and all others followed suit. Particularly in areas like the USA and Europe, the browning of the dominant culture is now the norm and new segments continue to emerge. Economists can point to many reasons for the rapid development for these new markets, but the bottom line is consumers now have many more choices, and the product/company they choose will be the one which genuinely speaks their language and is invested in their community’s growth.

Quote: Don Cheadle on Africa’s brand image

December 21st, 2007 | 3 Comments | Posted in Books/Magazines, Business, Charity, General

Don CheadleIn the December 2007 issue of Ebony Magazine actor Don Cheadle says:

One thing (African people) need is better p.r. If people in (the USA) think of Africa as a place with kids and flies swarming around their heads, then they won’t understand that these people are you and you are them

African nominees for 2008 Grammy awards

December 20th, 2007 | No Comments | Posted in Events, Film/Television, General, Music

Djin Djin - Angelique KidjoThe nominations for the 50th Grammy awards were announced recently. Below are the categories where talented Africans excelled and continued to influence popular culture. The awards will be presented in February 2008. Congratulations to all the nominees.
Best Male Pop Vocal Performance

  1. Everything РMichael Bubl̩
  2. Belief – John Mayer
  3. Dance Tonight – Paul McCartney
  4. Amazing – Seal
  5. What Goes Around…Comes Around – Justin Timberlake

Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals

  1. Steppin’ Out – Tony Bennett & Christina Aguilera
  2. Beautiful Liar РBeyonc̩ & Shakira
  3. Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On) – Robert Plant & Alison Krauss
  4. The Sweet Escape – Gwen Stefani & Akon
  5. Give It To Me – Timbaland Featuring Nelly Furtado & Justin Timberlake

Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals

  1. Same Girl – R. Kelly Featuring Usher
  2. Disrespectful – Chaka Khan Featuring Mary J. Blige
  3. Hate That I Love You – Rihanna Featuring Ne-Yo
  4. Baby – Angie Stone Featuring Betty Wright
  5. Bartender – T-Pain Featuring Akon

Best Contemporary R&B Album

  1. Konvicted – Akon
  2. Just Like You – Keyshia Cole
  3. Fantasia – Fantasia
  4. East Side Story – Emily King
  5. Because Of You – Ne-Yo

Best Rap/Sung Collaboration

  1. I Wanna Love You – Akon Featuring Snoop Dogg
  2. Kiss, Kiss – Chris Brown & T-Pain
  3. Let It Go – Keyshia Cole Featuring Missy Elliott & Lil’ Kim
  4. Umbrella – Rihanna Featuring Jay-Z
  5. Good Life – Kanye West Featuring T-Pain

Best Traditional World Music Album

  1. When The Soul Is Settled: Music Of Iraq – Rahim Al Haj With Souhail Kaspar
  2. From Mali To America – Cheick Hamala Diabate & Bob Carlin
  3. Live At Couleur Café – Konono Nº1
  4. African Spirit – Soweto Gospel Choir
  5. Singing For Life: Songs Of Hope, Healing, And HIV/AIDS In Uganda – Various Artists

Best Contemporary World Music Album

  1. C̩u РC̩u
  2. Gil Luminoso – Gilberto Gil
  3. Momento – Bebel Gilberto
  4. Djin Djin – Angelique Kidjo
  5. An Ancient Muse – Loreena McKennitt

Video: Lagos la Vida Loca

December 19th, 2007 | 1 Comment | Posted in Business, Film/Television, General, Politics, Travel

Cultures collide: A new Chinese-African identity

December 18th, 2007 | 3 Comments | Posted in Business, General, Politics, Travel
Chinese women in Lagos

As more and more Chinese make their way into Africa seeking opportunities, what will be the cultural impacts on African communities? While many larger Chinese corporations are setting up shop in Africa, there are also individual Chinese businessmen – and women – exploring the opportunities on the African continent. The image above shows an increasingly common interaction between Chinese and Nigerian businesswomen in Lagos. African students are already beginning to attend Chinese universities as a way to make themselves more marketable in the growing Africa-based Chinese job market. Around the world, the Chinese are known for creating businesses in communities where there was never an obvious cultural relationship, but then again so are Africans. So with the growing Chinese/African cultural exchange will both cultures maintain their distinction or will a new identity arise? (photo Sunday Alamba)

Wall Street Journal covers African ingenuity

December 17th, 2007 | 1 Comment | Posted in Business, General, Technology

Recently the Wall street Journal’s front page, featured one of the most inspiring stories of African ingenuity today. The front page story, A Young Tinkerer Builds a Windmill, Electrifying a Nation, covers  20-year-old William Kamkwamba, a self-taught Malawian inventor whose make-shift windmills are being used to power his village. Having recently spoken at TED Africa 2007, Mr. Kamkwamba, who also writes a blog, is deservedly getting a lot of attention and hopefully just as much support for his windmill projects. It’s good to see such stories making the front page of such a powerfull business resource.

“I was thinking about electricity,” says Mr. Kamkwamba, explaining how he got hooked on wind. “I was thinking about what I’d like to have at home, and I was thinking, ‘What can I do?’ ”

To meet his family’s growing power needs, he recently hammered in a shiny store-bought windmill next to the big one at his home and installed solar panels. He has another windmill still in its box that he’ll put up at a house 70 miles away in the capital, Lilongwe, where he now goes to school.

Watch the WSJ video reportWatch William Kamkwamba’s speech at TEDAfrica 2007

(via CK)

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