With the running theme of ‘Africa Rising-The Consumer Generation’, the International Advertising Association (IAA) in conjunction with the Advertising Agency of Ghana (AAG) held a two-day conference in Accra from 27th to 28th April 2015.

In attendance were Africans from across the continent; Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Nigeria, South Africa and Benin as well as some internationals from the UK and the USA. All 300 delegates came together to address a key issue in Africa; our relevance in international markets especially in the areas of branding and advertising.

It is common knowledge that Africa is the new frontier, the new big growth market. Advertising and marketing gurus from all around the continent gave their two-pence on how businesses interested in tapping into the African market can get started and maximise on the available opportunities. Key speakers were selected from across the advertising and marketing industry. Some of them include Julian Boulding, thenetworkone; Samuel Ashitey Adjei, Ecobank Ghana; Jeffrey Cole, Center for the Digital Future, USC Annenberg School and Norkor Duah, Lowe Accra. They addressed topics such as: ‘The emerging consumer in Sub-Saharan Africa’, ‘Are African brands scalable across the globe?’, ‘Maintaining consumer engagement’ and ‘Promoting consumer participation in multiple worlds of Africa’.

The Movenpick Ambassador Hotel was a thrumming hub of activity as the intellectuals mapped out the way forward for the ample needs of a growing middle class society which is increasingly becoming tech-savvy as it navigates its way toward the digital age. The conference also provided insight on the effects of negative Western media representation of the continent and the scarring effect Africa’s own NGOs have in their quest for funding for their projects.

Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, the Minister of Trade and Industry in Ghana expressed his hope that the deliberations would help to shape policies by African Governments. He tasked the IAA to collaborate with local chapters in various African countries to apply the requisite communication tools to rebrand the continent to create a compelling image for it as a preferred destination for doing business. In response, the World President and Chairman of IAA, Mr Faris Abouhamad promised the AAG that the IAA will continue to work with the various chapters in the African countries to bring the conference back to the continent in the very near future.

Hopefully the conference is the beginning of a revolution in the advertising industry in Africa and great changes are on the horizon for this rising continent.

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