Challenging times for Africa, but resilience and optimism give hope

By our News Team | 2023

‘Africa Life 2023-2024’ examines key markets in East and West Africa, finding changing consumption habits in response to economic difficulties – but positives, too. 

While for many African consumers, the good years prior to Covid have morphed into a much more challenging period of economic difficulty, there continues to be an indomitable spirit of resilience and positivity that gives hope for the future.


For brands and their marketing teams – frequently struggling amidst high inflation, supply chain issues, exchange-rate concerns and other challenges – the steadfast determination of ordinary Africans to make tomorrow a better day is a ray of sunshine in the economic gloom; a rallying point for brand plans and business strategies that can look beyond the short term.

Consumer Trends

Photo credit: Kantar

The latest Kantar ‘Africa Life 2023-2024’ study – released in the latter part of 2023 and covering the nations of Nigeria, Senegal, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda – emphasises the African spirit as one of the reasons that consumer-facing businesses, particularly multinationals headquartered far beyond the continent, can continue to invest here and plan for the longer term.


“We see institutions, multinationals, and investors question whether African nations can sustain and maintain the gains they’ve seen in recent years. My argument is: ‘yes, we can’,” said Dan Oseman, a 10-year Africa veteran and Chief Growth Officer for Kantar’s Insights Division in West, East and Central Africa during the presentation that launched the latest study.


It’s not a marketing slogan


He added that ‘Africa is on the rise’ is not a marketing slogan. “It is a reality. While we do expect the next few years to be tough, the underlying fundamentals of Africa’s youthful, aspirational and innovative societies, empowered by technology, haven’t changed. What is changing is how people are evolving in their ambitions and lifestyles.”


To compile Africa Life 2023-2024’, the consultancy had 5,000 conversations with consumers, including in Ethiopia, a sometimes lesser-understood market. The latter threw up insights which senior Kantar executive, Ndeye Diagne, intriguingly referred to as “the Ethiopian Exception” in her presentation.


That exception comes quickly to the fore in the study’s comparison of ‘Optimism vs Pessimism’ in Africa – where, it must be said, optimism has taken a hit due to economic circumstances and has declined for the past four years. Yet it still remains higher than in other regions of the world.


Ethiopians have the lowest level of pessimism of all the countries surveyed. They are also the most patriotic. 


Apart from Uganda (49%), all the countries scored 50% or above for optimism, with Ethiopia and Senegal being the most optimistic.


To find out more about the Kantar ‘Africa Life 2023-2024’ study, read the latest issue (Issue 4 2023) of ‘Strategic Marketing for Africa’. You can browse or download a free copy of the magazine here.

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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.