Browse > Home /

| Subcribe via RSS

Trailer: When China met Africa (documentary)

April 6th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted in Business, Film/Television, General, Politics, Travel

When China met Africa‘, a new documentary film produced by Marc Francis & Nick Francis and Miriana Bojic Walter, tells the story of China’s entrance into Zambia and the cultural and business relationships surrounding:

A historic gathering of over 50 African heads of state in Beijing reverberates in Zambia where the lives of three characters unfold. Mr Liu is one of thousands of Chinese entrepreneurs who have settled across the continent in search of new opportunities. He has just bought his fourth farm and business is booming.

In northern Zambia, Mr Li, a project manager for a multinational Chinese company is upgrading Zambia’s longest road. Pressure to complete the road on time intensifies when funds from the Zambian government start running out.

Meanwhile Zambia’s Trade Minister is on route to China to secure millions of dollars of investment.

Through the intimate portrayal of these characters, the expanding footprint of a rising global power is laid bare – pointing to a radically different future, not just for Africa, but also for the world.

Watch the trailer below:

Tags: , , , , ,

IT giant Infosys seeks African market expansion

March 30th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted in Business, Technology

Indian IT company Infosys Technologies is continuing its entrance into the African continent. It said in a statement Friday morning that it believes Africa is a market for long-term IT services and hopes it will be able to implement an investment strategy.

In an interview with the Times of India, Infosys CFO V Balakrishnan said that Africa has great potential and populations are demanding an improvement in IT services.

Nigeria’s regulatory body this week echoed similar statements when it said that mobile phone services in the country are sorely lacking adequate customer service and infrastructure. Infosys could capitalize on this exact issue, said Ahmed Gabr, an IT specialist based in Nairobi.

Read more at itnewsafrica.com

Tags: ,

Insights on mobile banking & advertising in Africa (videos)

January 5th, 2011 | 1 Comment | Posted in Business, General, Technology

If you’ve been following this website or been engaged in any recent conversation about Africa’s future, you can’t have missed a mention about mobile technology innovation and it’s impact in Africa. For the curious or uninitiated, here are a couple of videos which focus on the trend and give some insight particularly in the banking and advertising industries.

Banking revolution saving lives in Africa (CNN)

According to the Bureau of International Information Programs at the U.S. State Department, around one million of Tanzania’s 41 million inhabitants use mobile phone technology to carry out financial transactions and save money.
At the same time, only 12% of the population have a formal bank account, while almost half of them own a cell phone.

M-Pesa: Kenya teaches the developed world about the mobile wallet (BBC)

In developing world countries like Kenya, the technology to do this has been around for several years – and you do not need a bank account to use it. M-Pesa launched in 2007, and there are now nearly 100 services like it around the world, mainly in developing countries. Can the developed world learn from Kenya’s experience with the mobile wallet?

Mobile Advertising in Africa (A talk by Ankit Rawal of InMobi)

Ankit Rawal, Head of Advertising, Africa, InMobi speaks about the state of mobile advertising in Africa at iHub in Kenya.

Tags: , , ,

Top 100 global thinkers of 2010

December 2nd, 2010 | No Comments | Posted in Books/Magazines, Business, Charity, Featured, General, Politics

Foreign Policy Magazine has named their top 100 global thinkers of 2010. The list, which I’ve outlined below, is a mix of policy makers, advocates, and media professionals among other global influencers. A special congratulations goes out to Rosa Whitaker (#53), Ory Okolloh (#59), and Ethan Zuckerman (#81), all of whom  I’ve had the pleasure of connecting and sharing ideas with. View the full list below, and read the full story on the Foreign Policy website:

Beginning with Warren Buffett and Bill Gates (1), who teamed up to prove that even in tough times great new ideas can emerge, to forecasting economist Nouriel Roubini (12) to political leaders Barack Obama (3) and Angela Merkel (10), FP presents more than just their big ideas. Once again we took a unique survey of this very smart crowd. Nearly two-thirds participated to give you insight into their thinking on everything from how Obama’s doing to their preference in new-age reading device (iPad, by a lot). But don’t take our word for it — take the same questionnaire we sent to our FP 100 and see how your answers match up against theirs. – Foreign Policy Mag.

Tags: , , , , ,

Do we need an African version of Vogue Magazine?

May 18th, 2010 | 5 Comments | Posted in Books/Magazines, Business, Fashion, General

Vogue-Africa-Mario-Epanya

Recently, Paris-based Cameroonian photographer, Mauro Epanya, created a layout of what a possible African version of the trend-setting fashion glossy, Vogue Magazine would/could look like. The images, though creatively done, have sparked a debate about the merits of an African version of Vogue. In a well thought out analysis, Uduak at Labybrille Magazine, outlines the reasons why an African Vogue is not a good idea:

  • VOGUE Does Not Need to Validate Africa Before Africa Becomes Fashionable
  • The Internet has Created an African Fashion Media Revolution, So Why the Continued Need for Validation with a VOGUE Africa?
  • VOGUE Africa is Bad Business For Africa
  • VOGUE Africa Will Not Eliminate Racism in VOGUE’s Fashion Pages

For her part in the debate, Vanessa Raphaely, editor of Cosmopolitan South Africa and editorial director of Associated Magazines (Marie Claire, O, the Oprah Magazine, etc.) also writes an insightful commentary on her blog.

Then there’s the nuts and bolts of the business: Magazines generally follow where the cosmetic and fashion industry lead. On this continent, there are only two Vuitton stores. They are in Jozi and Cape Town, not in Gaberones, Brazzaville, Dar es Salaam or Libreville.

There is no High Street to speak of in Africa (not even in South Africa,) there is not a proliferation of shopping malls and high end international clothing giants littering the Sahara, North, Central, Western or East Africa,  ergo, little demand for advertising pages.

In South Africa, the powerhouse of the region, local manufacturing is floundering due to a failure to compete with Asia and The Far East with regard to price.

That is why there is, to date, not even a South African Vogue. While fashion magazines like Marie Claire and ELLE are both well-established in the country, neither has the advertising riches to thrive that their sisters in the more developed parts of the world enjoy.

Both, it can be argued, require less very high-end advertising than Vogue to achieve the expectations of their European principals.

It’s not rich pickings here on the wild frontier.

So, even though it irks me to be so pedestrian, I have to ask: who would advertise in this Pan-African Vogue?

In the short term, a Vogue Africa would get many people excited and even generate a bit of revenue. Soon enough though, the novelty will wear off and the realities of organizing, producing, and shipping an African glossy in a global economy which has not been kind to print media will take hold. From platform (print vs. digital) to talent (African writers vs. Western writers) to business strategy (South Africa headquarters or not), there are different factors to think of when planning Vogue-type content for Africa; and corporate accounts will not ease the pain. That’s not to say an African fashion and style magazine cannot exist, but rather the strategy to launch and maintain one would need to take into account certain factors which aren’t an issue in the West.

One of the side-effects of the marketing and advertising activity around the upcoming World Cup is that in an effort to  cash in on the African renaissance multinational corporations are again attempting to transplant their business models to a continent that lacks the same context that made those strategies successful in the West. They are looking to what their western experiences dictate and overlooking the unique opportunities that Africa has to offer – mobile  proliferation being one of them.

If major publishers like Vogue/Conde Nast want to enter African markets they should look to partner with “local” businesses who have already dealt with the challenges and figured out what African audiences want and need. As I said in the comments section of the Ladybille Magazine blog, there are many many African media and content creators whose efforts are still being overlooked because their success is judged by Western perspectives. It’ll do Africans and global partners well to recognize and capitalize on what makes African stories, contexts, and perspectives unique.

Read more on the debate:

VOGUE Africa? No. Thank you Very Much I’ll Pass!

Is the World Ready for an African Vogue?

Fashion Enthusiasts Ponder Vogue Africa

Vogue Africa Creator Mario Epanya Responds to Critics

Tags: , , , , ,

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

Tags: , , , ,

African contemporary art having a global renaissance (videos)

April 15th, 2010 | 2 Comments | Posted in Art, Books/Magazines, Business, Events, General, Travel

CNN’s Inside Africa recently aired a series of features on the growing global demand for contemporary art. View the 3 parts of the feature below.

Part 1

Johannesburg Contemporary Art Fair
The Johannesburg Art Fair recently showcased the works of 400 African contemporary artists, attracting more than 10,000 visitors. – CNN Inside Africa

PART 2

First US-based commercial art auction dedicated solely to contemporary African art
Auction house Bonhams’ recent ‘Africa Now’ auction in New York was first commercial auction dedicated solely to contemporary African art in the United States

Part 3

Ghana’s ancient beads back in vogue
A new generation of Ghanaians are rediscovering their heritage — and rediscovering the appeal of traditional beads – CNN Inside Africa

If you can’t view the videos above go here to watch

Tags: , , , , ,

Notes from Columbia U’s 2010 Africa Economic Forum

2010-AEF-Logo-300x223Last week I attended Columbia University’s annual African Economic Forum (AEF). The two-day conference was a diverse and insightful one with discussions ranging from Branding Africa to the growing, sometimes controversial China-Africa relationship. The organizers put together a great program with much discussion during and in-between panels. While I couldn’t attend the full program, I was able to participate in some great discussions with attendees and panelists in the Africa Arena. I’ve provided my notes from the discussions I was able to attend below. My notes cover a mixture of discussion topics and perspectives from the esteemed panelists and attendees. Please keep in mind that the notes below are portions of the hour plus long discussions from my perspective as an attendee. If you have any insight into any of the topics in my notes please feel free to comment. For clarification on any of the points in my notes please shoot me an email.

ATTENDANCE NOTES:
Panel: African Fashion Going Global
Moderator: ZANDILE BLAY, Market Editor, Paper Magazine
Panelists: OLUCHI, Supermodel and the Original Face of Africa; BUSIE MATSIKO, CEO and Co-Founder, Fashion Indie Media; AISHA OBUOBI, Designer & Founder, Christie Brown; MIMI PLANGE, Designer and Founder, Boudoir D’huîtres

  • Should Africans sell primarily to Africans?
  • African designers are more torn about designing Africa-inspired clothes vs. other western designers designing Africa-inspired clothes
  • Western designers are not limited or stigmatized when using African influences in designs
  • Should there be an African fashion capital? Some panelists say no
  • Is there a viable African consumer enough to support African fashion industry?
  • Designers don’t want to get pigeonholed as an ethnic designer; need room for growth
  • There is very limited support (i.e. factories, retail outlets) for African designers on the continent
  • Some panelists say African designers should focus on African consumers rather than targeting global consumers first
  • There is lack of business expertise among designers on the continent
  • Designers need to partner up with business professionals on the continent
  • Pricing African designs is tricky
  • Not too many Africans will pay high prices to support African designers
  • There are two types of African consumers: 1) those that travel and buy high-end western clothes 2) the locals who can’t afford couture and buy mass
  • It’s hard to produce on the continent particularly if you’re not doing mass production
  • Many African designers aspire to go to South Africa fashion week because it’s the top African continent fashion industry
  • Just like you don’t only have New Yorkers in New York Fashion week, South Africa’s Fashion Week has Africans from all over continent
  • African designers get inspiration from everywhere just like other designers
  • Some African designers are more drawn to cultural design than others

More »

Tags: , , , ,

Africans on Forbes 2010 World’s Billionaires list

March 12th, 2010 | 3 Comments | Posted in Books/Magazines, Business, General

2010ForbesAfricanBillionaires

Forbes Magazine has compiled and published it’s annual list of the world’s billionaires. The 2010 World’s Billionaires list represents “billionaires with publicly traded fortunes, net worths…calculated using share prices and exchange rates from February 12, 2010″. Of the 937 people named to the list, there are 8 African country citizens who made the list. Of the 8 Africans, the individual net worths range from $1.5 to $5.9  billion. with Egyptian nationals maintaining the biggest presence with 4 individuals from same family  listed. Here are the Africans on the 2010 Forbes World’s Billionaires list according to rank:

#127 Nassef Sawiris
Net Worth: $5.9 bil
Fortune: Inherited and Growing
Source: construction
Age: 48
Country Of Citizenship: Egypt
Residence: Cairo
#154 Nicky Oppenheimer & family
Net Worth: $5.0 bil
Fortune: Inherited
Source: De Beers
Age: 64
Country Of Citizenship: South Africa
Residence: Johannesburg
#307 Onsi Sawiris
Net Worth: $3.1 bil
Fortune: Self Made
Source: construction
Age: 80
Country Of Citizenship: Egypt
Residence: Cairo
#374 Naguib Sawiris
Net Worth: $2.5 bil
Fortune: Inherited and Growing
Source: telecom
Age: 55
Country Of Citizenship: Egypt
Residence: Cairo
#421 Patrice Motsepe
Net Worth:$2.3 bil
Fortune: Self Made
Source: mining
Age: 48
Country Of Citizenship: South Africa
Residence: Johannesburg
#421 Johann Rupert & family
Net Worth: $2.3 bil
Fortune: Inherited and Growing
Source: luxury goods
Age: 59
Country Of Citizenship: South Africa
Residence: Stellenbosch
#463 Aliko Dangote
Net Worth: $2.1 bil
Fortune: Inherited and Growing
Source: sugar, flour, cement
Age: 52
Country Of Citizenship: Nigeria
Residence: Lagos
#655 Samih Sawiris
Net Worth: $1.5 bil
Fortune: Inherited and Growing
Source: hotels
Age: 53
Country Of Citizenship: Egypt
Residence: Cairo

Tags: , ,

Designer Ozwald Boateng on dressing President Obama and his Made in Africa wealth initiative

August 31st, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted in Art, Business, Charity, Events, Fashion, Film/Television, Politics, Travel

In this three part series fashion designer Ozwald Boateng talks with CNN about outfitting President Obama for his recent Ghana visit and the designer’s new initiative “Made in Africa”.

Part 1: Tailoring for the President
CNN’s Monita Rajpal talks British-Ghanaian tailor Ozwald Boateng about his rise to fame and tailoring for President Obama’s Ghanaian visit.

Part 2: Made in Africa Ozwald Boateng talks about ‘Made in Africa.’ An organization designed to promote wealth and self sufficiency in Africa

Part 3: Designer to role model
British-Ghanaian tailor Ozwald Boateng explains his plans to help tailor Africa’s image problems.

Tags: , , , , , , ,
  • Afrimonitor - Market Research for Emerging Markets



  • SUBSCRIBE TO POSTS

  • Get blog updates by email
    Enter your email address:



  • NEWSLETTER

    Subscribe to our FREE email newsletter for in-depth reportage on African market trends and consumer research


  • CONNECT

  • RELATED NEWS