A book celebrating a festival of ideas on brand Africa
This week I’m just introducing my new book, “De/constructing brand Africa: A Practitioner’s Perspective – a collection of articles with links to podcasts and videos on trade, investment and tourism promotion”. The 336-page book will be published during the last week of this month, July. In it I argue that the advent of globalisation – characterised by hyper-competition for foreign direct investment and tourism; and service/product brands’ access to and dominance in the markets – has catapulted the countries’ competitive identities to the centre of international relations. The book seeks to answer how can Africa claim her stake in the global marketplace? It endeavours – through its autonomous and yet interdependent chapters – to suggest, uncompromisingly without being prescriptive – practical solutions grounded in time-tested and tried global theoretical formulations but contextualised within pan-African epistemologies for relevance and suitability to the continental realities. Although it draws on academic texts for validation, the narratives are presented accessibly in a journalistic fashion. It is a kind of a theoretical guide – without being didactic and pedantic as it’s written accessibly and eloquently decorated with bits and pieces of anecdotes interspersing theory and practice of nation brand management. Most significantly, since it is a compilation of my personal reflections, they are presented from a first person perspective and thereby communicating my voice authentically.
This book attempts to contribute to the efforts to change the narrative in brand Africa and to help her reclaim her original position as the cradle of civilisation whose essence was best captured by Pliny the Elder who mused: “Ex Africa semper aliquid movi” – “out of Africa there is always something new”. This approach later formed the crux of scholarship of such luminaries as Cheik Anta Diop and other scholars who contributed to the 8-volume UNESCO General History of Africa.
There are forty chapters that tackles themes on investment promotion, destination marketing and trade facilitation crystallised within a nation brand management. The overarching objective is the advancement of intra-African trade in line with the ideals of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). These chapters are not arranged chronologically, as I’ve mentioned earlier, so a reader is free to move to any chapter depending on the topic that they’re most interested in or they may read one chapter after another according to the common themes they address. Links are given to podcasts and YouTube videos to listen to the author’s interviews or presentations. These links will be activated by clicks in the e-book version.
The riveting chapters include “Managing investor perceptions by knowing what’s relevant or significant in their decision making during the decade of the COVID-19 pandemic,” “Towards forging a global transvergent pan African identity,” “The nation brand battlefield is in the mind: De/constructing Simon Anholt’s nation brand denialism,” “Brand re/engineering – A season of hope,” “Equitable distribution of resources as a strategic mechanism to redress societal ills – A brand architect’s perspective,” “Mythology builds brand iconoclasm – who is your muse?,” “Engendering structured mechanism for driving economic development as a basis for Africa’s integration,” “Arts, culture and heritage at the coalface of place branding,” “Africa’s market potential is a veritable economic tool for transforming the agricultural sector,” “We’re emerging as thought leaders on the AfCFTA,” “Resourcing human capital for the realisation of the pan African integration ideal,” “Public diplomacy is the art and science of persuading and attracting foreign publics without coercion,” “Visionary leadership, underpinned by progressive principles, isn’t for the fainthearted,” “Geared to empower the youth,” “Inculcating a culture of THINKING at the core of road safety,” “Sekhukhune – The Land of the Legends,” “Branding is a revenue generator,” “Investment Promotion is premised on the art snd science of marketing,” “Stakeholder management anchors strategic partnerships,” “The role of media in opening market access opportunities for “Made in Africa” service and product brands,” “Transport infrastructure development as a vehicle for Africa’s integration,” “Towards a regional cultural integration: Towards the conceptualisation of the Limpopo Transfrontier Cultural Bonanza,” “Gauteng City Region – The hub, with its myriad of spokes, of Africa’s tourism wheel,” “Visionary leadership, underpinned by progressive principles, isn’t for the fainthearted,” “The challenges of the SMEs in a declining economy – Views from the coalface,” “The last mile – “Teach(ing) them to yearn for the vast and endless sea…”, “Deepening the oneness of Africa through a direct structured CEO engagement mechanism”, “Building the economy through the beautiful game of golf”, “The Nelson Mandela iconoclasm as an ingredient of South Africa’s foreign policy communications”, “Towards developing an empowering ecosystem for enterprise development,” “It’s a “one step forward, two steps back” for Africa in global soft power rankings”, “When the “hand of God” shows its power,” “A brand – A promise made, a promise kept,” “On the influence of brand ambassadorship,” “Dimakatso Malwela – Serving the delicacies of life in a glass”, and “Text in context: Viewing Mandla Dube’s “Silverton Siege” from a third cinema perspective.”
What others say about the book?
Dr Nimrod Mbele (PhD), presenter of “Beyond Governance” on ChaiFM (also Group CEO: Knowledge Anchors Group): “As change agent, defender of democracy and social activist grounded in Pan Africanist ethos, Saul Molobi continues to stick his neck out by delivering yet another sterling book, on “De/constructing brand Africa: A Practitioner’s Perspective”. I am privileged to have interviewed him on several occasions at 101.9 Chai FM on issues relating to Africa’s trade and investment strategies which he eloquently addressed to the listener’s delight. Quintessentially, Saul is able to provide practical insights, strategies and tactics that are informed by years of experience as a public servant in various national and international missions. His ability to juxtapose Africa’s recovery transcend marketing and communication propositions but elevate critical ethical leadership underpinned by meritocratic imperatives. As a broadcaster, scholar, and corporate governance practitioner, I find Saul intellectually gifted, accessible and humble which is a rare quality given his industrious achievements…”
Dr Temba Masilela, Deputy CEO: Human Sciences Research Council:“Congratulations on the book, Saul Molobi! I don’t know anyone who has thought more deeply (in theoretical, historical, contemporary, and practical terms) about Brand Africa™, its communicative configurations, and the ways in which they impact domestic resource mobilization and international trade. That you come at the subject with passion and from a background of political activism, corporate practice, public diplomacy, and entrepreneurship makes it all the more relevant and powerful. That you appreciate and communicate with a self-deprecating sense of humour is a vital element in your street credibility and popularity. Much more than just another voice or influencer!”
General Ishola Williams (Rtd), Executive Director of the Pan Africana Strategic and Research Group: “The author, Saul Molobi, has put together his thoughts, ideas and praxis borne out of his years of experience as a Public Diplomat; an expert in brand management; and in related political, socio-economic and business in addition to historical issues and personalities.
“The book in a way has confirmed Saul Molobi as Paul, the public intellectual in South Africa and increasingly throughout Africa with his weekly news portal, Jambo Africa Online.
“As a member of the Board of the PanAfricana Strategic and Policy Research Group (headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria), his book is an enabler of the indispensable synergy between Africana people worldwide and it is expected that they will benefit from it as it integrates in various chapters not only the issue of branding but also its relation to issues of interests and concern to all who love South Africa and the Continent in the struggle to leapfrog into people-focused development.
“He challenges us to put on our thinking caps and working gloves for action by the followers and the leaders they choose to reflect on his ideas, believe in them, push for them, fight for them, gain their confidence of policy and decision makers through collaboration, partnership and champions in order to press on until the ideas become actionable policy…”
Forging strategic partnerships
The publisher, Brandhill Africa™, is exploring partnerships with corporates and event managers that may be interested in buying the book in bulk. These could be for their clients or stakeholders as corporate gifts; gifts for conference delegates; or even golfers. As a company, we will be presenting the book to the CEOs of economic development agencies across the continent. These are the CEOs in fifteen African countries that we’ve been working with in our CEO Forum and the number will reach 25 by this December. Furthermore, we will be using it as a basis for our economic diplomacy programme which we will be offering to national, provincial and municipal governments; diplomatic missions; economic development agencies; tourism agencies; corporates; civil society organisations; and academic institutions.
Special printing will be done for partners purchasing over 500 copies with their brand fully acknowledged as a sponsor on the imprint page.
Pre-publicity of the book
To listen to the podcast of an hour long interview on the book with Dr Nimrod Mbele in his “Beyond Governance Show” on Chai FM, please click here.
Pre-order sales of the book
To pre-order your copy for R395, please deposit into the following bank account and email proof of payment to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re outside of Johannesburg, please add R90 for a courier service (Pick n Pay/Spar/Engen).
Bank: FNB; Account Holder: Brandhill Africa (Pty) Ltd; Bank Account Number: 62921064490; Branch: Killarney; Branch Code: 250655.
For bulk buying at a discounted price, please email email@example.com for an offer.
Please do note that the 30% commission rate normally charged by the retailers is re-invested into setting up a medical research fund project managed by Brandhill Africa Foundation.
DRC Investment Summit: The awakening of an African giant
By Cindy Euston-Brown
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), like many other emerging countries around the world, is looking at agriculture and infrastructure development as a springboard to economic development and job creation.
Agriculture and infrastructure (hard and soft) investment provides both short and long-term economic benefits. In the short term, they create jobs and economic activities such as special agroprocessing zones, roads, bridges, storage facilities, hospitals, schools, power plants etc. They create an ecosystem that allows food production, construction and related services companies to work and create jobs.
Ben Leyka, DRC Invest Acting Chief Executive Officer said “despite global disruptions, the DRC should remain committed to reviving its construction sector, develop its agriculture industry and drive policy reform that will attract private sector investment”. The impact of the COVID 19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict on food prices, food and nutrition security in Africa might derail some of the progress made so far unless there’s a focus on reaching sustainability and resilience in food systems.
DRC Invest is pleased to announce the upcoming DRC Investment Summit, taking place from 27-29 June 2022 in Kinshasa. The Summit will focus on “building a sustainable agrifood ecosystem in DRC” workshop on the 27 June as well as feature investment ready projects that have been fully developed in agriculture, energy, healthcare, fintech, transport, ICT infrastructure etc. and secure the necessary capital as we promote DRC as an investment and business destination.
The Summit is a global meeting place for investment in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – bringing together global investors, businesses, developers, government officials and policy makers to attract and retain investment as well as discuss trends that influence economic growth in the DRC.
The inaugural Summit will bring over 650 high level participants targeting over US$10 Billion worth of investment as well as highlight its commitment to a market economy, where obstacles to private investment are removed. DRC is open for business and it is moving towards business friendly policies and engagement.
While the potential that the country offers is undoubted, the question remains: will it be achieved? Businesses and governments will need to work harder to capture the opportunity; the country’s productivity and growth will be driven by both governments and businesses by focusing on mobilising more domestic resources, aggressively diversifying the country’s economy, accelerating infrastructure development, deepening regional integration, creating tomorrow’s talent and entrepreneurs, formulating financially informed policies, ensuring healthy urbanisation and attracting public and private investment.
For project submission please contact Diane Kayumba at firstname.lastname@example.org and for more information about the Summit, please contact Cindy Euston-Brown at email@example.com or visit www.drcinvestsummit.com.
H.E. Wamkele Mene: Unpacking the role of trade and investment promotion in advancing the AfCFTA
HE Ambassador Wamkele Mene, the Secretary-General of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), will be addressing the continent in a webinar as part of the Africa Month celebrations on Friday, 6 May 2022, from 11h00 to 13h00 (CAT).
The theme of the webinar is: “The role of trade and investment promotion in advancing the AfCFTA.”
Since the beginning of 2021, the AfCFTA has being earnestly rolled out by Ambassador Mene with the support of the African leadership with utmost keenness.
The journey of the realisation of the AfCFTA goals has begun with notable support from the Heads of States and other prominent leaders in the continent. It therefore becomes logical to celebrate the humble few steps this initiative has taken in its 16th months of formal operationalisation.
Intensive participation by the business community is another aspect that needs close monitoring given the centrality of this community in driving trade and investment in the continent. State-owned companies do have a vital role to play as well. The organisers of the event are therefore looking forward to the participation of this sector in the event.
Diplomats, in the continent, are expected to participate in their numbers given the need for them to guide their countries in the advancement of the initiative.
Interest from the rest of the world cannot be discounted given the way in which Africa’s trade and investment is interwoven with the rest of the world – thus, this event will add to the noble efforts of updating the global business community. In other words, updating and sharing on developments thus far is not for continental consumption and benefit but also for investors whether already or intending to invest in the continent.
The potential that the AfCFTA has for the continent is huge. Notwithstanding the benefits and prospects, challenges ahead are also strewn on the road for the realisation of a sizeable intra-African trade. Furthermore, it is not only trade but also investment – in all its different forms – that is crucial for the realisation of the AfCFTA vision.
Ambassador Mene is keen to share progress and challenges he has gone through since the advent of this initiative.
The Programme Directors of the event will be Dr Nimrod Mbele (Chai FM: “Beyond Governance Show” presenter) and Thabiso Sikwane (a seasoned broadcaster and published author).
And the programme will be as follows:
Welcome Remarks: Sisa Njikelana, CEO: Sinakoyoli Consulting
Context – The Africa IPA CEO Forum: Saul Molobi, Group CEO & Chairman: Brandhill Africa
Poetry Rendition: Ms JahRose Japhta (Internationally-acclaimed South African poet)
Keynote Address: H.E. Mr Wamkele Mene, SG: AfCFTA
Respondents: H.E. Mr Youssef AMRANI, Ambassador of Morocco to South Africa (Morocco); Mr Ben Leyka, CEO: DRC Invest (Democratic Republic of the Congo); Mr José Miranda, Grow Africa Director: Zutari (Angola); Mr John Karegwa, CEO: Invest in Africa Conference (Kenya/Netherlands)
Vote of Thanks: Masingita Masunga, Brand Ambassador: abOVEnormal Sports and Fitness Gear.
The Brandhill Africa and Sinakoyoli Consulting – through the former’s platforms: Jambo Africa Online (a weekly news portal) and the Biashara Services and Products Africa (BiSPA) Conference and Exhibition (which is a series of December annual conferences interspersed with quarterly webinars) – are the organisers of this august event. The event is partly sponsored by Zutari, an engineering services company with a presence across Africa and the Middle East.
The following are the Zoom Login Details:
Meeting ID: 557 094 5594