‘Africa not a dark continent’ – Minister Mutsvangwa
Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
INFORMATION, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa has said national branding is important to all African countries to change the misleading narrative that Africa is a dark continent.
Officially opening the inaugural African Marketing Confederation (AMC) in Victoria Falls, Minister Mutsvangwa said it is important to change the global image and perception of Africa.
Minister Mutsvangwa is a marketer and patron of Marketers Association of Zimbabwe (MAZ) which hosted the event.
“It is time for marketers to change the narrative of the global image and perception of Africa and repackage the continent and its products so that they showcase the great wealth of opportunities that lie in Africa. There is a need to change the perception of Africa from just being a ‘dark continent’,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
She said the Second Republic under the astute leadership of President Mnangagwa is committed to the engagement and re-engagement thrust on the back of the realisation that the globalised world needs all countries to work together.
Minister Mutsvangwa who said Zimbabwe is a very beautiful country and a safe tourist destination, implored the marketers to become the country’s ambassadors.
“I feel honoured to be among fellow marketers who are part of this historic conference bringing together marketers from different corners of Africa. As the Patron of the Marketers Association of Zimbabwe, I had the privilege of being part of the launch of the African Marketing Confederation last year and this conference resembles the seriousness of you fellow marketers.
The Confederation plays a critical role in enhancing the profession on the African continent. I want to recognise and applaud the critical role that the Confederation is being envisaged to play in enhancing the marketing profession on the African continent,” she said.
Minister Mutsvangwa said the Government of Zimbabwe welcomes the collaborative platform that AMC represents and the synergies for co-operation that may be attained by working together.
She said Zimbabwe and indeed Africa, possesses enormous potential in every economic sphere.
Zimbabwe recently launched the Brand Zimbabwe project destined to enhance the country’s domestic and international appeal to investors and tourists and proffer a new identity and refreshing image for Zimbabwe.
“National branding is one of the important pillars of any nation and as marketers we should be at the forefront of this very important pillar as the outcomes and impact of a nation branding strategy are not by accident but are a massive process that is complex and involving,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
She said it therefore falls upon marketers to showcase the endowments and spur the growth of intra and inter-country trade on the continent.
Trade between African States is said to be only three percent.
Minister Mutsvangwa said Governments in sub–Saharan Africa have already begun to open up the continent to free trade through initiatives as the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA), whose purpose is to ensure that trade between countries on the continent is not only accelerated but is deepened to strengthen the continent’s economies.
She said this has the potential to create a single African market with a potential GDP of more than US$3 trillion, effectively making Africa the largest free trade area in the world.
At sub-regional level, there is the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) and Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) among others.
These bodies help reduce customs duties and lower barriers to trade.
Minister Mutsvangwa said marketers must be seen to be actively participating in the enhancement of trade by linking producers to suppliers, manufacturers to consumers and governments to governments.
The three-day conference which ended last Friday, was held under the theme “The Astute Marketer: Reshaping the future of Business in Africa”.
Minister Mutsvangwa said marketers are the oil that lubricates and drives the smooth flow of trade, industry and commerce.
“As a rule, the marketer is the functionary who ensures that the needs of the customer are satisfied. A lot has happened and changed in the past few years fast-tracked by digital technologies and the Covid-19 pandemic and as such, the astute marketer must be equal to the task and be ahead in terms of proffering business solutions for our businesses,” she said. — @ncubeleon