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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

5th Carnival of African Enterprising [part 2]

In the last part of The Carnival of African Enterprising we present more views from bloggers about Africa in the 21st Century.

Speaking on “AfricanPath”, Jeffery Kimathi marketing manager of “an African fashion” company based in New York-USA, advices Africans to follow his business model that allows customers to subtly and stylishly speak messages that showcase the vibrancy and diversity of the African continent. Kimathi believes that Africa has the capacity to solve its own problems because no one understands the continent better than Africa itself. It’s all about passion and hard work; there is no elevator to success and Africa has to take the stairway just like everyone else. He advises Africans to strive to earn respect for their resourcefulness, ideas, and creativity. According to him Africa should endeavor to contribute to the modern world culture. “This is why Italian handcrafted garments go for thousands of dollars each and yet similar quality handcrafted African goods usually go for much less,” he says

“Joshua Wanyama” believes that any business is only as valid as its value in the eyes of a consumer. This also holds true for African businesses. He advises Africa to aim at creating a prominent global brand by strategically building a position within the mind of the consumer (world) and steadily defending that position. If a company offers Internet connectivity in Cairo, Egypt it can do the same in Bujumbura, Burundi as long as a market exists. For it to develop a strong position within the marketplace, it has to develop a strong brand. The name this company occupies in the Egyptian marketplace has to be the same as the one occupied in a Burundian’s mind or a Togolese for that matter. Branding then presents a strong foundation on which Africa can build its market share in a vibrant global economy. “Wanyama” believes that a Pan-African company will also need to have a home country, for example, Coca Cola (an American soft drink company) is a global brand with 80% of its annual sales coming from foreign markets, it will be ill advised to disown its American heritage.

According to “Benin Mwangi” Africans should re-orient their thinking, step out of the past and see markets as what they are - big and underserved. Benin proposes a public-private approach as one way to take Africa into the 21st Century. If an African government intends to invest in wiring classrooms and has both the scale and technical savvy to pull it off, that’s great. However, if the private sector has the muscle to do it much better, then the government should support the sector by allowing such investments but still play its role as a facilitator.

“David” advises African businesses to adopt better business strategies so as to attract more investors. He reckons that Africa should carefully strengthen all aspects of business that investors look for to ensure that the opportunities Africa present achieve results. For a successful business, he advises Africans to put more strength in what investors look for when evaluating opportunities which include; the people who manage the company, concept value, price of the deal, deal structure and the exit strategy.

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