Marketers can help to develop intra-African trade, says Minister

By our News Team | 2022

Astute marketing will benefit the development of the AfCFTA, which has the potential to create a trading bloc with a GDP of US$3-trillion.

The Inaugural African Marketing Confederation Conference 2022 was officially opened on Thursday morning (20 October) by the Honourable Monica Mutsvangwa, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services.

Minister Mutsvangwa is a former marketer and currently Patron of the Marketing Association of Zimbabwe (MAZ), which is hosting the conference taking place at Victoria Falls. Delegates from eight African countries are attending.

AMC Marketing Conference 2

The Honourable Monica Mutsvangwa opens the Inaugural African Marketing Confederation Conference 2022. Photo credit: Dennis Mpofu

Addressing the gathering, the Minister thanked the AMC for the honour of opening its historic, first-ever conference and applauded the organisers for their commitment in bringing together so many marketing professionals from around the continent.

She believes the confederation play a vital role in advancing the profession in Africa and she urged practitioners to help spur intra-African trade, development and investment. This, in turn, would benefit the development of the AfCFTA, which has the potential to create a trading bloc with a GDP of US$3-trillion.

Referring to the conference theme of ‘The Astute Marketer: Reshaping the Future of Business in Africa’, Minister Mutsvangwa emphasised that astute marketers would be ahead of the curve as Africa moves increasingly into a digital world.

She noted that the Victoria Falls conference comes at a time when Zimbabwe is repackaging and rebranding the country. Nation branding, the Minister said, is one of the most important pillars of building a nation and attracting investment and tourism.

Google’s Africa-focused initiatives aid marketers

On day two of the conference, delegates also heard from several other speakers and panellists on subjects relevant to marketers.

Dr Alistair Mokoena, Country Director for Google South Africa, spoke on the topic of ‘Digital Transformation: Bridging the digital divide for marginalised markets’. He outlined an array of Africa-focused initiatives being undertaken by Google, emphasising that faster, affordable and inclusive internet is needed.

“If we can do that, we will have a market. The canvas that enables digital marketing has to be in place,” Mokoena stressed.

Among the high-profile projects is Google’s Equiano sub-sea cable which is linking Africa to Europe via connections to Saint Helena, Togo, Nigeria, Namibia and South Africa. He emphasised that the project will benefit all countries on the continent by expanding internet bandwidth by up to 20 times and trebling internet speeds, as well as reducing data costs.

Enabling advanced Cloud computing in Africa is also a key Google strategy, with the tech giant in the process of establishing a new Cloud centre in South Africa, with others in Kenya and Nigeria bringing the total of such centres on the continent to four.

Google Translate – the company’s service to translate text, documents and websites from one language into another – is also empowering Africans by adding more of the continent’s languages to its offering. These include Ewe, Lingala, Krio and Bambara.

“It’s empowering to be able to access the internet in your own language,” Mokoena said.

Continent has untapped potential for marketing

Also on the podium was Doreen Nyiramugisha, General Secretary of the Uganda Marketers Society and an experienced marketer. She addressed delegates on the topic: ‘The Face of the African Consumer: A Segmentation Profiling of the African Consumer’.

She outlined the scale of Africa’s untapped potential for marketers, emphasising among other things that Africa has the world’s youngest population base and that 95% of the continent’s consumer class resides in a relatively focused 24 countries, out of the 54 nations that comprise the continent.

While there is a growing segment of affluent individuals who earn their wealth through gold, diamonds, oil, cocoa and the like, most individuals continue to be employed by SMEs and operate in the informal sector.

Nyiramugisha also discussed the future of business in Africa. She mentioned, among other things, the concept of ‘crowd farming’ that has become popular in Uganda. Here, a group of people will pool resources to buy a small number of livestock that they can co-own and share in the proceeds.

Delegates also attended two afternoon Breakaway Panel Sessions on the topics: ‘Gen Z: Tapping into the Future African Urban Consumer’ and ‘Social Media Platforms: A Snapshot on Usage and Relevance in Africa’.

The conference continues today (Friday). For further information, visit the dedicated conference website: https://amcmarketingconference22.com/

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    Dr Kin Kariisa

    Group CEO - Next Media

    Dr. Kin Kariisa is an extraordinary force at the helm of Next Media Services, a conglomerate encompassing NBS TV, Nile Post, Sanyuka TV, Next Radio, Salam TV, Next Communication, Next Productions, and an array of other influential enterprises. His dynamic role as Chief Executive Officer exemplifies his unwavering commitment to shaping media, business, and community landscapes.
    With an esteemed academic journey, Dr. Kariisa’s accolades include an Honorary PhD in exemplary community service from the United Graduate College inTexas, an MBA from United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya, a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Huazong University in China, and a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from Makerere University.
    Dr. Kariisa pursued PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. As a dynamic educator, he has shared his expertise as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at both Makerere University and Radboud University.

    Dr Kin did his PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radbond University in Nigmegen, Netherlands. He previously served as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and Radbond University in Netherlands.

    Dr Kin did his postgraduate courses in Strategic Business Management, Strategic Leadership Communication and Strategies for Leading Successful Change Initiatives at Harvard University, Boston USA.

    • Other current and previous roles played by Dr Kin Kariisa:
    • Lecturer of e-Government and Information Security to graduate students at Makerere University, Kampala and Radbond University in the Netherlands
    • Director of Eco Bank Uganda Limited, one of the largest banks in Africa
    • Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters, an umbrella industry association for all Television, Radio and online broadcasters in Uganda.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Nile Hotel International, that owns the leading hotel in Uganda, Kampala Serena Hotel.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Soliton Telmec Uganda, the leading telecom company in Optic fibre business managing over 80% of optic fibre in Uganda.