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Africa Trends Roundup: Internet-Anywhere, Smart cities, & Jobs creation

September 8th, 2014 | No Comments | Posted in Business, Editor's Note, Technology

Getting insights from the noisy coverage of Africa can be very hard. We’ve sifted through all the news and views and identified these recent stories which more accurately indicate what Africa’s cultural, and business ecosystems might look like in the near future. Read on and continue to stay one step ahead.

  • Made In Kenya, Assembled In America: This Internet-Anywhere Company Innovates From Silicon Savannah – Fast Company: (BRCK) is essentially a mobile Internet router. It connects to the web in three ways: by plugging in a standard ethernet cable, by bridging with other Wi-Fi networks, or by accessing 3G or 4G data via a basic SIM card…While designed in Kenya, BRCK is manufactured and assembled deep in the heart of Texas, by a company called Silicon Hills. Located outside of Austin, the company has the key ability to iterate and do small runs. According to its CEO, BRCK couldn’t also be manufactured in Kenya because of the considerable import taxes and time delays when bringing components into the country.

  • Infrastructure & connectivity key to Africa’s smart cities – IT News Africa: For a continent driven by mobility, Wi-Fi presents a significant opportunity to aid in the socio-economic development of people – particularly as it provides a cost-effective access solution to high-density areas such as those found in cities.
    Fletcher cites the example of Kenya and Ghana that are heavily investing in building pre-planned technology hubs that have the capacity to be involved in the smart cities of the future.

  • The Previously Untold Story Of Africa’s Mobile Revolution – Forbes: Africa’s mobile revolution has been called a phenomenon that “changed African nations more significantly than any development since their independence from colonial powers.” Today, Africa is even more reliant on mobile technology than the West. But one important story has remained untold. It’s the saga of how one person, imbued with entrepreneurial passion and surrounded by a supportive ecosystem of colleagues, helped launch an SMS text messaging service for real-time market pricing that eventually transformed the continent.

  • Africa at work: Job creation and inclusive growth – McKinsey: Despite the creation of 37 million new and stable wage-paying jobs over the past decade, only 28 percent of Africa’s labor force holds such positions. If the trends of the past decade continue, Africa will create 54 million new, stable wage-paying jobs over the next ten years—but this will not be enough to absorb the 122 million new entrants into the labor force expected over the same period. However, by implementing a five-part strategy to accelerate the pace of job creation, we estimate that Africa could add as many as 72 million new wage-paying jobs over the next decade, raising the wage-earning share of the labor force to 36 percent…If Africa accelerates job creation, it could add 72 million additional wage-paying jobs by 2020.

  • Africa’s testing ground – The Economist: Nigeria’s promise has made it a test-bed for the Africa strategies of consumer-goods firms. This is not only because of its size. It is also because of the spread of Nigerian culture—its music and movies—around Africa, says Yaw Nsarkoh of Unilever. The Anglo-Dutch company has been trading in Nigeria for nearly a century and is expanding its operations.Procter & Gamble, another global consumer giant, has just completed a factory near Lagos, its second in Nigeria..Just as Nigeria is used as shorthand for the business opportunity in Africa it is also a summary of the continent’s shortcomings.

  • Report reveals sub-Saharan Africa’s 10 most competitive economies – How We Made it in Africa: More than half of the 20 lowest-ranked countries in the report are sub-Saharan, and many markets have insufficient infrastructure and poor levels of health and basic education…The region’s challenge is to turn high growth into inclusive growth and make the transition from agriculture-based economies to higher value-added activities.


Africa’s New Trade Frontier (infographic) – The BRICA Group

November 16th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted in Business, Editor's Note, General, Politics, Travel

click to view larger

The above infographic gives an overview of Africa’s changing trade partnerships. The infographic comes courtesy of The BRICA Group, a new collaborative venture in partnership with Larry Ossei-Mensah of The BRICA Group’s mission is to serve as an advocate and catalyst for the development of innovation and creativity in emerging markets. We have more research and information efforts coming very soon. Visit for more.

African youth and the African brand (presentation)

A few weeks ago, I was honored to be invited to Harvard University to give a short talk and participate in the  Rebranding Africa through the Youth panel as part of their Africa Focus series. The panel was a lively, collaborative one with both panelists and attendees providing perspectives on the topic. As a follow-up, I’ve put together a slide deck of my prep notes and am sharing here. Hopefully, the presentation embedded below will allow those who couldn’t attend the event a chance to join in and continue the conversation here and elsewhere. Feel free to download and share the presentation. You can contact me here or on Twitter (@GKofiAnnan) for further info or to discuss. Thanks to the Harvard team, especially Essie Yamoah and Julia Mensah, for having me up.

The youth and branding Africa

If you can’t see the presentation above go here to view
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AfriMonitor launches with ‘Exploring ChinAfrica’ trends brief

July 1st, 2008 | 6 Comments | Posted in Books/Magazines, Editor's Note, General

AfriMonitor logo
Throughout my years as an entrepreneur, I have had to conduct endless market research and have found a serious lack of information about the African market. Drawing on my experience as a marketer myself, I am developing a new website called AfriMonitor to aggregate important research and information about the growing African market. While I understand that the African market is still very young, I feel that to help it grow and to encourage more entrepreneurs to develop products to help it grow, a product like AfriMonitor is necessary. While I still write about African business and culture trends at Annans Chronicles, much of the in depth analysis of trends will be posted there on AfriMonitor. To read more about direction AfriMonitor will be developing towards in the next few months visit the About us page. serves as a market research portal for the Africa-focused global business audience. The website aggregates pertinent information about African business, consumers, economy, companies, and products, as well as information on African marketing and advertising trends. AfriMonitor provides an overview of African consumer and product markets so individuals, agencies, and corporations can discover new opportunities and make the right business decisions.

As part of the beta launch of, we have put together a trend brief focusing on the growing China-Africa relationship. The brief,”Exploring ChinAfrica: Trends in China’s 21st century push into Africa” , touches on many of the key issues surrounding the topic. It is intended to serve as resource for anyone who is curious about China’s 21st century push into Africa. The brief is available as a free download and you can distribute it to whomever you feel could benefit from the information included. I’ve also put together an interactive timeline with key dates for those who want more information.

I am launching AfriMonitor as a beta for now to get some feedback and begin getting some information to those who can make use of it. We will be working hard in the next couple of months to get you much of the information which will make the site most useful, so check back often or better yet, subscribe to AfriMonitor’s rss feed or sign up for automatic email updates. For now the News tabs currently contain aggregated content from all the major news engines and is updated many times a day. The news is broken up into three categories, All News, China-Africa news, and India-Africa news.

In the next few months we’ll be adding more insights and reports from various sources including African marketing agencies and featuring interviews with newsmakers. Please let any advertisers or marketers with information about the African market know to contact me to get their reports featured on the website. While some of the reports and briefs will be free, others will be available for a fee. We’ll also be updating our Resources and Events sections soon. Please feel free to submit a resource or event for inclusion in our directory or just contact us with any comments/suggestions. AfriMonitor is a work in progress so your input is always welcome. I hope the website gets you the information you need to make the proper business decisions.

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Africa 2.0, 2 yr anniversary, growth

Africa 2.0It seems it’s been about a month since my last post. Wow! How timees fly when you’re running around. I guess I’ve been neglecting my duties here on Annansi Chronicles, but hey there’s much more to life than posting to blogs. Some readers might not have missed me since we communicate regularly online, but I’m sure many of you were beginning to think I’d abandoned Annansi Chronicles. Not true! Here’s some updates of what’s been going on:

The Africa 2.0 panel at South by Southwest Interactive went pleasantly well. Besides getting to finally meet a few of my fellow African bloggers/entrepreneurs/innovators, SXSW was one of my best conference experiences to date. The energy, people, and information was well worth the effort of organizing the panel. For a roundup of what went on read my review at the website. Also read Erik, and Uduak’s perspective. The panel was well attended and we got to talk to some really great people. Thanks to the SXSW crew especially Hugh and Christine for allowing us a great opportunity. Below is some video of an interview I did with Sunny Gault of Veoh TV’s Viral channel right before the panel. In the video I talk about the topic of Africa and technology as well as the work I’ve been doing as a board member of the African Film Commission.

Online Videos by

In some other news, Annansi Chronicles passed it’s 2 years anniversary this month! Thanks to all the readers and the brilliant Africa-focused minds who have helped me keep the blog inspiring. It’s been great connecting with people all over the world and building business and personal relationships through Annansi Chronicles. I had no idea what I was doing when I started 2 years ago and to see the response has been very motivating. As a result of the good people I’ve met through this blog, I have been able expand on ideas which I never would have had. I am currently working on a bigger project which, building on some ideas I’ve explored on Annansi Chronicles, will hopefully add to the efforts of innovation in African business and community development. Hopefully I will be soon announcing this new project, but in the meantime, I am looking for writing contributers for this and other projects. Please contact me if you or someone you know might be interested in working with me and my company Annansi LLC.

Finally, for those reading Annansi Chronicles using rss make sure to visit the site itself to see the new re-design. Going forward Annansi Chronicles will have featured posts of in-depth analysis of news items. For those familiar with the content of the blog, the features will be the longer in-depth posts I’ve been doing periodically here. I’m looking forward to providing more inspiration for you all.Thanks again for reading Annansi Chronicles.

Annansi in Entrepreneur Magazine’s December issue

November 16th, 2007 | 9 Comments | Posted in Books/Magazines, Editor's Note, General

Annansi in Entrepreneur

Entrepreneur Magazine has chosen to feature me and my company in the December 2007 issue. The article in the Doing Good section covers my outlook on Africa’s brand dilemma and how I am using my expertise to help solve the problem and encourage business. You can read the article in the issue on newsstands or online at Thanks to JJ Ramberg for the good conversation.


Thanks to

November 8th, 2007 | No Comments | Posted in Editor's Note, General

Jamati logo

I just wanted to say thanks to the good folks at for deciding to interview/feature me on their African entertainment portal. If you haven’t already visited the site, make sure you do. The global staff continues to produce an exciting online news magazine. Talking to the editors was definitely one of the most thought provoking interviews I’ve ever had.


Where I’ve been

September 24th, 2007 | 1 Comment | Posted in Editor's Note, General

As I mentioned in my previous post it’s been a hectic couple of weeks. I’ve been dealing with both personal and professional changes but alas, I have sorted everything out to allow for a bit of normalcy. Here’s a recap of some of the events which have made the past couple of weeks so crazy.

New schedule, New projects, New website: A announcement is that I am no longer at my day job and am currently working independently. While I have never really talked about my day job here, those of you who I have had the pleasure of interacting with behind the scenes are familiar with my former position. While I never mentioned my 9 to 5 here, I feel it’s necessary to do so now to express how excited I am that I will be able to focus on the subjects I have been following and reporting about here on Annansi Chronicles. In the time it will take me to secure another full time position, I will be pushing full steam ahead with some of the projects which have been delayed due to my other responsibilities. Some initial projects include organizing a mini conference/roundtable, completing a proposal for my next book, and implementing a sales schedule for my clothing line. With my new working schedule, I am excited to be able to better contribute to the growth of African blogging/marketing/fashion/business community. If anyone wants to find out more about the projects I’m working on or would like to work together or just network check out my NEW website and feel free to contact me.

$10, 000 in book sales: While I was away from blogging, my current book project, “The Age of Conversation”, past $10, 000 in sales. Amazing!!! When I decided to contribute to the authoring of “The Age of Conversation, I never imagined the impact it would have. In the months since it’s release I have had a chance to meet and befriend some inspiring individuals. As the book sales move quickly past $10K, the effect continues to be felt within the marketing community. If you haven’t already done so, make sure you purchase a copy of The Age of Conversation.

Thanks to all for reading, commenting, and linking to the Annansi Chronicles.


In Transition

September 11th, 2007 | No Comments | Posted in Editor's Note, General

Sorry for the lack of updates folks. I have been sidetracked by a ton of events and changes. Among them is moving to a new town, getting my businesses in order for the fall/winter, settling into a new working schedule, and getting caught up in the action at NY Fashion Week. The good news is I’m almost settled in for the fall/winter. I will be back up in a couple of days. You can join me on Facebook to interact, or just shoot me an email to connect.

at NY Fashion Weekat Joanna


Vote to add Africa 2.0 panel to SXSW festival schedule

August 21st, 2007 | 8 Comments | Posted in Business, Editor's Note, Events, General, Technology

vote for Africa 2.0 panelOver the past year and a half, I’ve come to love writing about African style and business issues and interacting with the many inspiring people and ideas which I’ve come across through this blog. In my experience, today’s technology has provided us with the most effective vehicles to communicate and has caused an acceleration of African ideas AND actions across borders and even hemispheres. In my first attempt at taking our online conversations offline, I’ve proposed a panel idea for the upcoming South by SouthWest (SXSW) Interactive Festival being held in Austin, Texas March 7-11 2008. The proposed panel, Africa 2.0: Affecting Change Using Technology, will discuss how blogs, social networks, digital media and mobile technology are being used by businesses and citizens — both African and foreign — to affect change in Africa. The group of panelists will discuss adoption of mobile technology, community activism online and offline, and digital media’s effect on African entertainment industry growth. The process of developing the final schedule for the festival relies on a public vote to decide which panels actually get added. Please take a moment to VOTE to add the Africa 2.0 panel to SXSW Interactive schedule. My panel seems to be the ONLY Africa-related panel idea for the interactive festival.

In related news, I am hoping to put together a panel/roundtable to be held in New York City sometime this fall. I’m looking to bring many of you together to discuss opportunities and experiences in African business. If anyone has any ideas or would like to suggest any sponsors please contact me. I’ll have soe more specific information soon. Now go VOTE for panel!!

Other panels which deserve your vote:

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