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Brands Drive African Wealth
Thebe Ikalafeng, Mail & Guardian, Brand Africa 100 Supplement, 30 September 2011

Africa is rising and it is awakening greater interest in the continent from not only African countries but other international markets.

Brand Africa is an initiative to unlock and showcase African potential while inspiring its growth, reputation and competitiveness. It is a brand-driven approach which recognises that, in the 21st century, brands are an asset and a key driver of value for nations and corporations alike. One of the primary drivers of Africa’s growth lies in stimulating thriving African and global businesses and brands in Africa. Ultimately, consumers are the arbiters of that success.

Business is a critical partner in building the reputation and creating the wealth of nations. Business drives the innovation, creates the products and services and produces the brands and the revenues that enable governments to create and fund socio-economic services. It is not surprising that there is no African brand in the top 100 of the various global brand ranking tables such as Millward Brown Brandz and the Interbrand Global Brands. Africa has not necessarily been the focus. The has always been about what is wrong with Africa, rather than what the continent is doing right.

The inaugural Brand Africa 100, developed by Brand Leadership in partnership with TNS, the world’s most respected consumer knowledge and information company, and Brand Finance, a leading brand valuation company, ensures that the methodology is world-class and the results beyond reproach.

While only 33% of the value in Brand Africa 100 brands is from African brands, it is driven mainly by South Africa, Kenyan, and Nigeria in the food (13%), beverages (11%), telecoms (9%), electronics (10%), financial services (7%), apparel (9%) and automotive (9%) sectors. MTN, the only African brand in Brand Finance Global 500’s Top Global Brands, is the number one “brand in Africa” ahead of global iconic brands such as Shell, Coca-Cola, and Toyota. This is testament to Africa’s capability to build enduring and global brands that are inspired and driven by Africa. Africa’s reputation and wealth indeed are rising.