“Out of Africa reborn must come modern products of human economic activity, significant contributions to the world of knowledge, in the arts, science and technology, new images of an Africa of peace and prosperity ”
- President Thabo Mbeki at the United Nations University, 1998
As established, throughout history, brands have shaped perceptions of the image and identity of people, products and places. Brands have become the new world’s repository of value and a critical lever of competitiveness and engine and barometer of economies.
Brands shape the image, reputation and competitiveness of nations.
There is no doubt that brands such Coca Cola, Nike and Amazon have built America’s identity as an entrepreneurial and innovative nation. Mercedes Benz, Porsche and Audi have built Germany’s engineering reputation. Chanel, Hermes and Louis Vuitton have built France’s style brand, and Sony, Seiko and Panasonic have built Japan’s precision brand reputation.
In his African renaissance speech at the United Nations University in 1988, then deputy President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, expressed his hopes that, “Out of Africa reborn must come modern products of human economic activity, significant contributions to the world of knowledge, in the arts, science and technology, new images of an Africa of peace and prosperity.”
An urgency to build competitive African brands.
In the midst of the euphoric and successful staging of the first FIFA World Cup in Africa in 2010, internal pride and admiration of Africa was arguably at its highest. At the same time African brands enjoyed their most dominant position in the inaugural Brand Africa 100: Africa’s Best Brands barometer.
When the Brand Africa 100 survey and ranking premiered in 2010/11, Africa’s economic growth was at 6,6%. During that period African brands accounted for a 34% share of the Top 100 most admired African brands. A decade later, further exacerbated by a global pandemic and economic gloom, the optimism has been tempered. African brands share has declined to their lowest at 13% amid projections of Africa’s first recession in 25 years.
“IN 2025 YOU WILL SEE MORE AFRICAN BRANDS, ESPECIALLY ON THE NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE.”
Strive Masiyiwa – Founder and Chairman,
Econet Wireless 2015 Brand Africa Lifetime Achievement Laurate.
While the political brands of leaders such as South Africa’s Nelson Mandela and Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah that have contributed positively to the continent’s image, there are now growing examples of Africa’s potential to build world-class African brands that compete ably with non-African brands in Africa. These brands, such as Nigeria’s Dangote, South Africa’s MTN and Kenya’s Safaricom and Mpesa, contribute to the image of a rising, resilient, entrepreneurial and increasingly confident continent.
Building the African continental brand.
ABLA aims to sharpen the skills and grow the knowledge to build relevant and sustainable brands that respond to African conditions and needs, delivered to global standards, to an increasingly global African consumer in a borderless world.