The Organization of African Students paid homage to various African cultures with a virtual show
The Organization of African Students hosted Africa Day on Friday, April 16 in the Amphitheater an annual event that celebrates the many cultures found on the African continent. Last year, Africa Day was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The performances had been filmed at different locations and were presented on a projector. The performances included dances, fashion, cast member games, an homage to Africa Day 2020, a flag presentation, and a segment that asked what Africa Day meant to students.
The theme of this year’s event was #IFARADA. Ifarada means resiliency in Yoruba a West African language. The theme was influenced by the many African youth movements that have occurred this past year. These movements have sought social and civil rights and have taken to social media to organize and spread their message. Their slogans have been hashtagged and were seen by people all over social media.
Examples include #EndSars in Nigeria, #CongoisBleeding in Congo, #ShutitAllDown in Namibia, and many more.
Jasmine Obule, fourth-year College student and Africa Day creative director, wanted to draw attention to the reliance in the face of such adversity.
“The show is titled #IFARADA to show that throughout it all, the African community has remained resilient, courageous, bold, confident, and strong,” Obule said. “We sought to show through our clothing and our powerful walks how bold and fearless we can be. We showed through our clothing and walks that we are not easily intimidated.”
In deciding whether to put on the show this year, Nma Okafor, fourth-year College student, and OAS president said that the executive board took into account the lack of social interaction and difficult mental health situations that students were facing. Africa Day was needed to provide students a social outlet and a break from reality.
Okafor said the format of the event was changed this year because of the uncertainty of the pandemic. The board decided that they wanted a video show in case they were not able to do anything in person. Due to the switch to a video show, the team had to take on nontraditional roles in addition to their regular roles.
Planning for the event normally starts the summer before, but this year planning began in January. The team met regularly over Zoom to plan and coordinate how they were going to film and produce Africa Day. Okafor said the show was filmed over a month before Africa Day and the filming happened over the course of a weekend.
“Everybody was booked Friday, Saturday, Sunday of that weekend and we were awake from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. some people later than that,” Okafor said.
Okafor explained that organizing this event meant keeping up with a lot of moving parts. The person team was composed of models, photographers Nathaniel Diemer and Omer Gorashi, videographers Raed Gilliam and Demetri Workman, and a make-up team.
“We had to make sure that everyone had a negative COVID-19 test and was quarantining correctly for 14 days prior to filming,” Okafor said. “During filming, we had to make sure we fed everyone for a whole weekend.”
The video format allowed for new ideas to the show but also brought forth many edits.
“We decided that the show would be more interactive if models used the different locations they were provided and brought their creativity to the video while walking and posing in that setting,” Obule said. “We were able to record things multiple times to make sure we were putting out our best work.”
Okafor said the team worked hard to make sure the presentation of their work in the Amphitheater was safe and enjoyable. There were staggered arrival times for the audience and seats were also spread apart.
The night began with a celebration of the recipients of an OAS scholarship and it proceeded with speeches from Okafor and Obule. There was then a presentation of the flags for the 54 countries in Africa.
Afterward, there was a presentation about the theme of this year’s show #IFARADA. Boule explained to the audience what Ifarada meant and why it was chosen. They also highlighted many youth movements for civil rights happening on the continent.
The night continued with the different sections of the show which had their own subtheme.
Fashion was a major part of the show, as demonstrated by the traditional prints the models wore. Okafor said the prints were beautiful, but she wanted to emphasize that a lot of the prints seen in this year’s show are West African prints and not representative of the entire continent. A lot of the prints were transferred from last year’s canceled show. The vibrant prints came from many West African countries. They were worn in both traditional styles and more Western clothing. The prints were vibrant and incorporated red, gold, pink and blue among some of the notable colors.
The prints were not the only reference to Africa Day 2020, the show included a tribute to last year’s Africa Day with a section called “Dear Africa Day 2020.”
In other years the intermissions in the live shows were performances by student singers and rappers, but this year, the intermissions allowed the audience to better know the models. The models played a game where they were shown another model’s baby picture and had to identify the person. Another intermission saw the models describe what Africa Day meant to them in one word. The answers included “family,” “necessary,” “dynamic” and “Umoja” the Swahili word for unity.
Obule said that Africa Day, while informative and important, can only provide a glimpse into the beauty of African cultures.
“We were able to show a glimpse of Africa, the beauty of our culture, clothing, and people,” Obule said. “However, it’s important to mention that this is not a representation of all of Africa as this is very hard to do in an hour and 10-minute show.”
For those more interested in learning more about Africa, Okafor said that the OAS is eager to help. Africa Day is one of the many events OAS produces to educate people about Africa’s numerous cultures and discredit myths about the continent. Okafor stressed that the organization is open to anyone with an interest in Africa.
“OAS is very inclusive to Africans as well as non-Africans who are interested in learning about the various cultures here that we have to offer,” Okafor said.
Metro Detroit is home to a growing community of Africans from countries all across the continent. Though not as visible as Polish culture in Hamtramck or Arab influences in Dearborn, African cultures abound in metro Detroit, making it easy to sample the richness of the continent right here at home.
Seydi Sarr, a Senegal native and executive director of the African Bureau of Immigration & Social Affairs (ABISA) in Detroit, says the city attracts a steady flow of African immigrants from larger metropolitan areas such as New York and Washington, D.C., who come here to settle down, raise families, and establish businesses. As of 2000, there were nearly 17,000 African-born people in Michigan. By 2016 that number had risen nearly 63 percent to a little over 27,000, according to the U.S. Census.
More than half of the state’s African-born population at that time lived in the Detroit-Warren-Dearborn area. They represent a diverse mixture of people who hail from Senegal, Guinea, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Togo, Cameroon, the Ivory Coast, and elsewhere, says Zaini Itito, a Togo native who serves as shelter and client services manager at the nonprofit Freedom House Detroit, a temporary home for asylum seekers.
“It’s definitely diverse because you have Senegalese, you have Gambian, you have the Ivory Coast, you have Benin, you have Togo, you have Mali, you have Nigeria, you have Uganda … you have Burundi in here. It’s very, very diverse,” Sarr says of African influences in the region.
There are plenty of ways to experience the diversity of African culture right here in metro Detroit if you know where to look.
A great place to start is with a trip to Dabls Mbad African Bead Museum. Museum owner, curator, and visual storyteller Olayami Dabls began collecting African beads in the ’80s. He opened his museum in 2002 on an entire city block in Detroit with the goal of connecting the local community to African history and material culture, free from the constructs of European museums. The walls of the bead gallery and shop are covered from ceiling to floor in hand-carved bone, glass, brass, and ceramic beads from all around the continent. The campus also includes 18 outdoor mosaic and mural installations, including the “N’kisi House” and the “African Language Wall,” which features 25 of the continent’s languages painted in multiple colors.
The African World Festival is a highly anticipated annual event in Detroit. During a three-day weekend each August, the festival brings live music and dance performances, art, clothing, more than 200 authentic African and Caribbean food vendors, and more to crowds that surpass 125,000 in non-pandemic years. The event has been held at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History for the past decade, but it’s scheduled to return to its original home base, Hart Plaza, from Aug. 22 to 24 this year.
At the Detroit Institute of Arts, local historian Jamon Jordan guides guests through the museum’s ancient Egyptian and African exhibits as part of the Royal African Tour. ABISA’s Sarr, meanwhile, teaches West African dance classes at the N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art’s Movement Center.
Several shops with authentic African apparel and accessories line the Livernois Avenue of Fashion in Detroit. Love Travels. Imports. offers handcrafted artisan goods created by makers in South Africa, Guatemala, Peru, and Haiti, including apparel, accessories, textiles, and body products. The shop is a culmination of owner Yvette Jenkins’ travels to those places. Nearby Akoma is an art gallery, shop, and co-op space for local women artists and makers, featuring African textiles including indigo-dyed cotton and hand-dyed mud cloth from Mali. Other notable shops on the avenue include African Fabrics & Fashion and Prisca’s African Fashion for Less.
Sarr recommends a visit to Detroit’s Djenne Beads and Art, owned by Mali native Mahamadou Sumareh, for African beads, perfumes, shea butter, and clothing. Also worth a visit is Sun’s Crystal and Bead Supply, which stocks a selection of brass, carnelian, coconut heishi beads, and more. Zarkpa’s, owned by Liberia native Tracy Garley, offers vibrant tops, dashikis, skirts, dresses, masks, and headwraps handmade with fabrics from Ghana, Nigeria, and Liberia.
At African Fashions by Classic Expressions in Oak Park, Nigeria native and designer Yemisi Bamisaye designs ready-to-wear garments and custom pieces with fabrics from Nigeria, Angola, Ghana, and Cote d’Ivoire. Stereos International Boutique in Detroit is internationally known for its geles, a traditional Nigerian head wrap.
For more products with African roots, check out Diop, a “diaspora-inspired streetwear” brand founded by first-generation American Mapate Diop. The brand’s vibrant apparel and accessories are made of Ankara fabric, a material that Diop’s mother brought home after visiting her native Nigeria that inspired Diop to start his business. And Chinyone Akunne’s beauty brand Ilera Apothecary features collections of plant-based, ethically sourced cleansers, moisturizers, and body butter influenced by Akunne’s Nigerian roots.
Detroit’s west side is also home to many grocers Darou Salam African Market, African Village Market, Family African Market, and United African Market among them that sell African foods, herbs, organic products, oils, butter, cosmetics, and similar products.
Authentic African fare is plentiful in metro Detroit. At Maty’s African Cuisine, chef Amady Guere whips up Senegalese dishes such as chicken yassa; deep-fried fataya pastries; and maafe, a West African stew. Located in Detroit’s Old Redford neighborhood, the restaurant is the first of its kind in the city. KG’s African American Grill in Garden City also serves traditional Senegalese fare, including various takes on the national dish, thiéboudienne, along with burgers, chicken sandwiches, and other American classics.
Afro-Caribbean eatery YumVillage, founded by chef Godwin Ihentuge, specializes in Hot Bowls filled with flavorful proteins, rice, and veggies including mango curry chicken, guava Tahini chicken, lemon pepper jerk chicken, jollof, coconut or turmeric rice, and spicy plantains. Not far from YumVillage in Detroit’s New Center neighborhood is Baobab Fare, a highly anticipated East African restaurant founded by the husband-wife duo and Burundi natives Nadia Nijimbere and Hamissi Mamba. This, the area’s newest African dining spot, opened in mid-February.
Kola Restaurant & Ultra Lounge in Farmington Hills offers Afro-Caribbean eats paired with live Afrobeat, reggae, and jazz music performances as well as comedy and dance shows. The Blue Nile in Ferndale and Ann Arbor and Taste of Ethiopia in Southfield offer Ethiopian meat and vegetarian dishes. Other spots to check out include Detroit’s Kalahari African Cuisine and the Fork in Nigeria food truck, which offers flavorful dishes rooted in chef-owner Prej Iroebgu’s native Nigeria.
Did You Know?
Afrobeat is a genre that combines elements of West African music such as Nigerian fuji music, traditional Yoruba music, and Ghanaian highlife with American jazz and funk. The Odu Afrobeat Orchestra, a Detroit-based, 15-piece ensemble, is one notable example of local Afrobeat talent.
A legendary Afrobeat performance was recorded live at the Fox Theatre in 1986. The late Fela Kuti a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist and activist regarded as the pioneer of Afrobeat performed there less than a year after he was released from his 20-month imprisonment in Nigeria. The four-song set lasted nearly two and a half hours and was released as the album Live in D.
Breaking into the hyper-competitive fashion world isn’t easy, but Ghanaian fashion designer Papa Oppong is doing just that.
Among young designers, Oppong, 28, stands apart for a couple of reasons. He has a unique aesthetic inspired by pop culture and the vibrant colors of a Ghanaian street market. And he wants to save kids from malaria. Thanks to the DC Fashion Foundation, Oppong pursues both of his passions.
The foundation brings artists to Washington for a year-long internship program run by the nonprofit Cultural Vistas. Oppong arrived in 2015, after graduating from Ghana’s Radford University with a degree in fashion design. Through the foundation, he is working on a charity project
“One Garment, One Child” to prevent the transmission of malaria in Ghana and, eventually, throughout Africa. Oppong is designing a line of children’s wear with a special fabric that repels disease-bearing mosquitoes.
The project is dear to his heart, he says. A malaria survivor himself, Oppong plans to create jobs in Ghana by hiring local street vendors to dye the fabric, keeping most aspects of production in the country.
In addition to his anti-malaria project, Oppong has presented a Fall/Winter 2016 clothing collection in Washington, while learning about business practices and new design techniques.
He’s posted his fashion sketches of singers Rihanna and Kelly Rowland on Instagram and Twitter and earned plaudits from Forbes magazine and CNN as well as the entertainers themselves. “These are women I look up to,” he says, “and sometimes I get to hear their opinions on my work first-hand.”
Oppong enjoys Washington’s cultural diversity and admits that he uses his daily commute by train to observe what people wear.
Whatever his source of inspiration, he is likely to become a name in fashion. He reports that he is in talks with Studio 189, a Ghana-based firm co-founded by actress Rosario Dawson and former Bottega Veneta executive Abrima Erwiah, to design for its in-house fashion label.
He hopes to someday become a head designer in an existing fashion house while continuing to work on his personal projects, whether artistic or charitable.
Designer, Lisa Folawiyo perfected the art of wearing Ankara (local West African cloth) through the use of ornate embellishment. By incorporating texture with this culturally established traditional textile, Lisa Folawiyo transformed the textile and created a globally coveted print. This conceptual and global design hybrid has been the key to Lisa Folawiyo ʼs success.
Fused with its very own African-inspired custom luxury prints, the Lisa Folawiyo collection skillfully delivers contemporary garments. With a strong eye for tailoring and fit, Folawiyo creates feminine and modern silhouettes with nods to traditional African aesthetics.
“Her passion for clothes and her innate sense of style led her to create what at the time had never been done, the embellishing of the local Ankara fabric which has now become a global phenomenon.”
Each Lisa Folawiyo garment boasts a handcrafted and unique history from inception to construction. Folawiyoʼs expert artisans hand embellish each Lisa Folawiyo piece, on average a 240 hour process that reflects the brandʼs focus on design integrity.
Lisa Folawiyo has shown its collections on international platforms – in Lagos and Johannesburg to London, Paris, Milan and New York; from Lagos Fashion & Design Week to New York Fashion Week to the Pitti W Tradeshow and the Vogue Talent Exhibition in collaboration with Vogue Italia.
Lisa Folawiyo has been featured in several publications such as Vogue, Style.com, The New York Times, Harper’s Bazaar, Women’s Wear Daily, Drapers, BBC.co.uk, Dazeddigital.com, ModaOperandi.com, The Financial Times Online (How To Spend It), Essence, and Marie Claire.
The brand has also been well received and worn by the likes of actresses, Lupita Nyong’o, Lucy Liu, Thandie Newton; and Singer, Solange Knowles.
Lisa Folawiyo has been stocked at Moda Operandi, Mytheresa.com, and Selfridges.
Lisa Folawiyo has collaborated with global brands such as Blackberry and L’Oreal, to create limited edition Blackberry Phone cases and Lipstick & Nailpolish covers, respectively.
The Lisa Folawiyo line is housed under the Jewel by Lisa Group, with other brands namely Jewel by Lisa (The Ankara collection), The J label (The Diffusion collection), and Pretty Precious (The Kids collection).
For 10 years, Brand Africa has been working to mobilise Africans and the diaspora to proactively drive a brand-led African agenda. Its founder and chairman ThebeIkalafeng tells us how Africa can build more successful brands
When you look at African brands today, would you say they are stronger than they were 10 years ago?
As was the case at the turn of the decade, there remains a stronger enthusiasm for building African brands. But the rhetoric doesn’t match the reality. There is not as much progress in the narrative about creating great brands. If you look at some of the stalwart brands, whether it is the MTNs, the Safaricoms, the Dangotes, those have consolidated their strengths and their brands remain a staple across the continent. But these are a minority: we need to see a lot more brands coming to the fore.
In this past decade, we’ve seen a greater presence of African talent globally, be it in fashion, music, the arts. Doesn’t that reflect a stronger ‘Brand Africa’?
Africa has never lacked talent and the world has never stopped looking to Africa for inspiration. What we haven’t seen emerge prominently are global African brands, even as “essential” as the likes of Zara and H&M or luxury such as Hermes and Goyard. Where the likes of Zara and H&M and others lead isn’t just in fast fashion but in fast thinking to adopt or adapt to trends and consumer insights.
There are many examples of African talent out there. The young South African designer, Thebe Magugu, the first South African to win the prestigious LVMH Prize for fashion design. The ready-to-wear African fashion retailer, KISUA, founded by Ghanaian Sam Mensah to challenge the likes of Zara and H&M. Alara, the high-end Nigerian retailer founded by Nigerian businesswoman Reni Folawiyo. We have a lot of talent, we have a lot of enthusiasm, we have a lot of excitement and drive but unfortunately we don’t see enough resources, patience and patronage that will support their growth.
Are you saying we need to invest more in brand building or do we need to think about brands differently, in terms of what a brand stands for, in terms of what a brand represents and making that brand go global?
There’s two parts to it. Generally speaking, millennials are less forgiving of and loyal to brands than the older generations. They will move on to the next brand if that brand does not live up to its promise in terms of what it does functionally, but also in terms of how it fits into society or how they see themselves, what it does for the environment. In Africa we’re too forgiving and we have often returned to the very brands that have been less than benevolent or respectful to us – often because of a lack of alternatives.
Two decades ago, while I was marketing director for Nike for the continent, on my first trip to Cannes in France, for the biggest advertising gathering in the world, I was quite astounded to see that a lot of the brands from England were inspired by and leverage their English heritage. The French were selling France. But the brands from Africa were trying to be American, British or French.
It was a woke moment for me. African brands cannot and should not compete with the French on how to be French. They don’t have the authority or the authenticity. We need to take a distinctive African narrative to the world. It’s what at Brand Leadership we call “thinking locally and acting globally”. In other words, we should be inspired by our African identity and heritage but deliver to a global standard.
Where do you think Africa is going to be piercing through? Is it going to be in fashion, the arts, music, culture or is it going to be in tech, innovation, banking, logistics?
The greatest opportunity and low hanging fruit for African brands is in technology and the arts. If you look at a brand like EVC in Somalia, Wari in Senegal and leading the pack, M-Pesa, technology has enabled us to leapfrog many Western nations with bricks and mortar legacy issues. Mobile money is where Africa has probably shown its greatest leadership. They are being referenced. Thus, Rwanda and Kenya are fast-tracking their initiatives to build world class technology cities to leverage technology to drive development not just for Africa but the world.
When it comes to arts and culture, we’ve always been present with a global influence from South Africa’s Miriam Makeba collaborating with Harry Belafonte in the 60s, or the most successful broadway production, the Lion King, or Mantsho, the South African designers collaborating with H&M for their first global Africa-inspired range. Luxury fashion brands are continuously looking to Africa for inspiration.
The problem isn’t our talent, it’s the ownership of our creative output. We are often invited rather than owning the space and dictating our own terms. Thus Stella McCartney can charge $1,000 for an item we sell for $5 or Louis Vuitton can overtly reference a Lesotho blanket and we’ll be the first in line to pay the 3000% premium.
We can reclaim our space because there’s already an appreciation of “African” aesthetic or rather, an appreciation of the design aesthetic that makes Africa different and admired.
We’ve got a Ghanaian and Kenyan at the helm of British Vogue and another Ghanaian at LVMH, so we are seeing these guys in the high profile places in global fashion. Yet African fashion remains a very small component of global fashion.
Unfortunately, while we have assumed those global positions which in theory are influential, the most transformation we’ve seen are the faces on the covers and names behind the titles. It has not yet translated to African-inspired creativity, African sourcing and African wealth. While Virgil Abloh has brought street cred inspired by hip-hop and rap culture to Louis Vuitton, he has yet to bring a compelling Africa narrative. But it’s a good start.
One thing that stands out from the survey: Africa has got tech brands we consume daily, the Googles and the Facebooks, and yet they’re not as prominent as your traditional brands. Why is that?
People’s relationship with brands is quite instructive. Some brands become part of a person’s identity and affiliation and others a necessary evil, so to speak.
Generally, media and financial “brands” aren’t viewed as a “badge of identity” but a necessary evil. They are viewed as essential commodities rather than “brands” that reflect their status or standing. That’s the difference.
Finally, right now, we are going through a crisis, a health crisis and an economic one. People say crises make reputations. How do you build brands through a crisis?
As our Africa’s Best Brands initiative shows, we have mostly relied on non-African brands for luxury but on African brands for essentials. During this crisis, where the non-African and other luxury brands have been put on pause, we’ve relied ever more on the essential brands, mostly African, for our day to day.
Out of this crisis those essential brands that have delivered with empathy, urgency and necessity will be rewarded. The time out of the global spotlight due to the pandemic has created an opportunity to deepen local brands’ engagement with African consumers in their time of need beyond just their functional needs and has laid a foundation and an opportunity once more for African brands to rise to the challenge
When African Business carried out their survey of Africa’s most admired brands for the first time in 2010, things were looking optimistic for African brands, but since then their representation in the ranking has dropped by nearly two-thirds. What will it take to allow African brands to compete with the global giants that dominate the table? Brand Africa founder Thebe Ikalafeng examines the results of the 2020 survey and reflects on what they tell you.
In the midst of the euphoric and successful staging of the first FIFA World Cup in Africa when internal pride and admiration of Africa was arguably at its highest, African brands also enjoyed their most dominant position in the inaugural Brand Africa 100: Africa’s Best Brands ranking. Back in 2010/11, when we launched the ranking of Africa’s best brands, African brands accounted for 34 of the 100 most admired African brands, following a continent-wide poll.
The then president of the African Development Bank, Dr Donald Kaberuka, stated that “Africa’s private sector is poised to become the main engine of growth for the African continent.” Following a decade of growth driven by public investments, the advent of technology, rising exports to China and a fast-growing consumer class, the private sector, the engine of brands, was predicted to fuel the growth of the continent.
With the rise of new African private sector champions, many anticipated the emergence and rise of African brands. Growth was projected to reach 6.2% by 2020. A decade later, in the midst of a global health and economic pandemic, the optimism has been tempered. Growth projections at the start of the year hovered around 3.9% but now there is talk of Africa’s first recession in 25 years.
How is this reflecting on African brands? It’s a bleak outcome. This year’s ranking shows a further decline for African brands, representing 13% of this year’s list, little more than a third of their showing a decade earlier. This is their lowest performance to date, down 2% from last year. Asia (16%), Europe (42%) and North America (29%) have all managed to increase their share.
Overall, out of the top 100 most admired brands from our first ranking in 2010/11, only half still appear in this year’s list. This is due to mergers, acquisitions and the obsolescence of many brands. The most prominent changes are in the technology category with the demise of Blackberry (#32 in 2010/11); the consolidation of Vodafone (#54 in 2010/11 and now #13); which acquired Vodacom in 2008 and rebranded in 2011; Etisalat (#40 in 2010/11) rebranding to 9 Mobile in 2017; and Motorola (#39) being acquired by Lenovo in 2014. We’ve also seen the rise of Chinese brand Tecno, which has raced up the ranking from #33 to #5 – a dominant performance for one of China’s premier global brands that’s not even sold in China!
Mergers and acquisitions will impact the rankings in different ways. Following a merger it will take time for a brand to rebuild its presence and this appears to be the case for Absa as it asserts its brand beyond South Africa. Despite rebranding back to Absa in 2018 after UK-based Barclays sold back its shareholding in Barclays Africa to the South African banking group, it has dropped out of this year’s rankings as it rebuilds its brand across the continent, having featured at #76 in 2010/11. The same is true for former South African brewer, SAB Miller, since the multi-billion dollar merger between AB InBev and SAB Miller in 2016. It took the #31 spot in 2011, with its iconic beer Castle at #67, but neither feature this year.
The goddess of victory
American sports brand Nike retained its top spot for the third year in a row as the #1 most admired brand in Africa. Ranked #9 a decade ago, the brand today reigns supreme, buoyed by partnerships with record-breaking African athletes such as Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge, the sub-two-hour marathon runner, and also by global collaborations such as the ones with South Africa designer Poppy Karabo and Nigeria’s music sensation Wizkid on his Starboy brand.
Nike also sponsors the shirts of the Nigerian and South African football national teams, thus being ever visible throughout sub-Saharan Africa. As a result of these high-profile actions, Nike continues to reign as an aspirational and go-to brand for sports, fitness and lifestyle.
What is African?
The dominance of non-African brands is unabated. In the survey question to determine the most admired African brands (see our methodology), a host of non-African brands are identified as African. Brands such as Coca-Cola (#2 in 2011 and #4 in 2020) top the list of such brands. The company has been on the continent for almost 100 years and through innovative distribution and engaging localised campaign strategies tailored to African markets, it has achieved ubiquity and a certain Africanness. Where else would you have someone ordering a warm coke, as is often the case in East Africa?
A common theme among the top 10 such brands is their deep local insights, localised marketing and outsize marketing budgets. As a result they have managed to create an intimate and infectious relationship with the African consumer. The strategy for these global brands has been, as Brand Leadership terms it, to “think locally and act globally”.
This is the case for brands such as Vlisco, the Dutch wax fabric designer, which is dominant in its sector, and Guinness, consumed by more people in Africa than its own domestic market in Ireland. The same is true for Vodafone and Airtel.
Africans don’t prefer local
Among the 27 countries surveyed, which account for over 85% of the continent’s population and GDP, only in Zimbabwe (through Econet), in Zambia (through Trade Kings) and in Tanzania (with Azam) do we have a local brand taking the country’s #1 spot.
In Liberia, an African brand from another country, MTN, takes the #1 spot, but in all the other countries, it is a non-African brand: Nike (11 out of 27), Samsung (4/27), Coke (3/27) and Adidas (2/27) lead the way, with Tecno, Orange and Airtel each dominant in one country.
Powerhouse African brands, such as Dangote in Nigeria, Safaricom in Kenya and MTN in South Africa, don’t even make the top spot in their domestic markets, and in North Africa, all the Top 10 most admired brands in Egypt and Morocco are non-African.
Kings of finance
GTBank claimed back the #1 spot this year, in a specific question and ranking of brands in financial services, after falling out of the top five in 2019. Its clever marketing, global presence and some of its flagship food and fashion events have undoubtedly helped make it a fixture of daily life in some of its key markets, especially its home base Nigeria. The bank has taken banking and finance to the people, and associating this with something fun and useful.
Interestingly, every brand in last year’s top five (FNB, Bank of Africa and Standard Bank) has lost ground in the rankings, with only Ecobank and Absa managing to stay within the top five. The industry is dominated by African giants. International brands do feature in some cases but these are payment companies as opposed to traditional banks – Paypal, Western Union and Visa. We expect to see mobile money and other disruptors muscle their way up the ranking as we see an increase in digitisation and digital-led economies, something which this pandemic has only accelerated.
Where’s the African media?
As part of the survey, we also ask media-specific questions. The top 25 media is once again dominated by international groups, led by the BBC, CNN and Al Jazeera. Only seven of our top 25 originate from Africa which begs the question how much of our narrative do we control.
The major shift has come as non-traditional media have entered the sway. Streaming giant Netflix comes in at #10, ahead of traditional media stalwarts such as SABC, France24 and Sky News. Just outside the top 10, at #12, social media juggernaut Facebook also ranked above traditional media brands such as Sky (#21), France24 (#15) and Fox (#23). Making up our list are other digital players: YouTube comes in at #20, Google at #24 and Instagram at #25. These non-traditional players have increasingly positioned themselves as, and are, preferred media channels among African consumers.
Made in Africa
When prompted to choose their favourite African brand, the split is pretty even between South, East and West Africa. Compared to last year, East Africa increased its contribution by 4% to 36%. West Africa came in with 28% of those brands represented and Southern Africa with 36%. A key driver for East Africa’s growth is the Tanzanian conglomerate Azam, with a diverse portfolio that spans media and consumer goods, and a rebranding that has started to reap rewards and endearment from the region’s consumers.
While its peers are on their knees, the crown jewel of the African skies, Ethiopian Airlines, continues to grow its brand, moving 14 spots to #7. Increased market share from a bigger fleet and new routes, an ambitious growth strategy and its status as an airline that actually manages to make money have turned it, it appears, into the “Pride of Africa”, as it likes to call itself.
Zimbabwe’s stalwart brand, Econet, has slid eight places to #13. It is hard to pinpoint exact reasons but it’s been a tough year for the group which last year pulled the plug on its pay-TV venture, Kwese media. The group has an important African footprint through Liquid Telecom, an internet solution provider, and its reputation will only increase if it manages to acquire a telecoms licence in Ethiopia, which is opening up its market to foreign entities.
Jumia, dubbed “The Amazon of Africa” at its audacious launch on the NYSE, has struggled to match expectations, dropping five spots to #18. Jumia, and many e-commerce brands in Africa have their work cut out, especially with e-commerce giants Alibaba (#92 in the main table) and Amazon (#56 in the main table) lurking in the background. The African consumer may be their next battle ground. Jack Ma, the billionaire founder of Alibaba, launched the Africa Netpreneur Prize last year to support the next generation of African entrepreneurs, with the understanding, as he sees it, that “a digital revolution, will make it possible to turn Africa into a global hub”.
One company trying to create a hub in motor manufacturing is Nigeria’s Innoson. The brand, which comes in at #10 in our most admired African brand category, whose ambition is to eradicate tokunbo (used foreign automobiles) from Africa, manufactures cars and motorbikes in the industrial heartland of Nigeria in Anambra state. Our main top 100 list, however, only features non-African automobile majors such as Toyota (#11), Mercedes Benz (#19) and BMW (#40).
Winners and losers
In the main table, one of this year’s big winners is Indomie, which comes in at #34. An Indonesian based company that entered the Nigerian market over 30 years ago has today managed to turn instant noodles into a staple food in Africa’s most populous country, challenging jollof rice for main billing in Nigerian households. It controls 74% of the market and the brand is so popular that the Indonesian trade minister Enggartiasto Lukita said that most Nigerians make the common mistake thinking of Indomie as a local product. To many Nigerians, all noodles are Indomie!
The second highest mover is Vlisco, moving 50 places to #45. Vlisco is arguably the most dominant brand representing African fashion. Its success has shone a light on African fashion and undoubtedly inspired other global brands, such as LV Basotho’s range of blankets or Christian Louboutin’s collaboration with Senegalese artists to launch the Africaba Tote Bag incorporating bold Ankara prints that originated in West Africa.
The world of fashion has helped African style go global. More recently we saw English designer Stella McCartney also use Ankara inspired prints in her Paris show and Thai-American designer Thakoon taking inspiration from the Maasai for his latest collection. In a resurgence and appreciation of “African fabrics” most of which are inspired by Vlisco, among the “brands” mentioned by respondents were Mozambique’s “Capulana”, Ghana’s “Kente” and Zambia’s “Kitenge”.
The company that has moved most in our rankings is French dairy company Danone, moving up 60 places to #30. It hasn’t all been plain sailing, however, for this brand that celebrated its 100th birthday last year. In Morocco, a major market for the company, it suffered a wide boycott in 2018. However, following some consumer engagement sessions and nationwide awareness-raising it has managed to build back this brand equity. The brand won an award at the Peace and Sport Awards in late 2019 and the year saw the return of the Danone Nations World Cup, with Danone taking kids from all around the world to Barcelona to compete in this prestigious competition.
One brand that has dropped significantly since we compiled the first rankings is Dolce & Gabbana, dropping from #58 in 2010 to #98 today. In a YouGov survey in the US conducted in February 2020, it was the least popular luxury brand in the rankings. This slide of the popularity of the former global trendsetter in America appears also to be the case in Africa.
Another brand that seems to have lost its lustre is Turkey’s LC Waikiki, falling 32 places to #99. Its higher position last year coincided with a campaign they ran as they expanded their footprint in Kenya and South Africa. This year’s ranking is probably a truer reflection of its position.
So what does this year’s ranking tell us? After an exciting early start to the decade, and despite a vibrant entrepreneurial environment with pockets of excellence, the scramble for the much trumpeted value and size of the African consumer spend is still taking place between brands from outside the continent rather than from within.
What Africa isn’t short of are ideas, blueprints and enthusiasm. But they require financial and government support to really grow and take off. We appear to be moving in the right direction: the African Continental Free Trade Area will help our brands reach new markets; the removal of travel barriers with the African Union Passport will also enable Africans to discover new brands as they travel the continent.
But to compete with the global behemoths will require greater ambitions for our brands to be the ones our people aspire to and respect – “top-of-mind” brands that we don’t only consume but which represent the lives we want to live. That will require a change of mindset from the top down. It can’t be someone else’s story or success. It needs to come from within. The next decade cannot be another promise for an “Africa rising”, an “African renaissance” or “Africa’s time”. Africa’s time is NOW.
Contributors: Tshepang Makofane, Reahile Ramathesele (Brand Leadership), Karin du Chenne (Kantar) and Thabani Khumalo (Malo & Fynn Group).
Running e-commerce businesses in Africa’s overwhelmed cities can be a thankless task due to the basic infrastructure gaps and a reluctant customer base.
Take Nigeria Africa’s largest internet market, where e-commerce ventures face inefficient logistics and informal home addressing systems as well as uncertainty about the actual size of the addressable market. These problems are also often seen in other African markets and sometimes makes business untenable: Jumia, the largest e-commerce operator across Africa, shuttered its business in Rwanda, Tanzania and Cameroon over the past year.
But it turns out the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic may yet ease one of the lingering challenges faced by e-commerce businesses in African markets. While many of these ventures have attempted to engineer a shift in local social behavior in customers, the pandemic’s restrictions mean the choice of shopping online is finally getting a PR or marketing boost out of necessity and safety.
Even though Africa has had a billion-dollar IPO for an e-commerce company and smartphone penetration is growing, the reality is that shopping online is still a fanciful prospect for most ordinary Africans. Even Jumia which was backed by the likes of Goldman Sachs and MasterCard, and once valued at over $4 billion by enthusiastic investors soon after its IPO, has been brought down to earth by the realities of promising but tough, underdeveloped markets across the continent.
While there are some interested customers, e-commerce players require much higher levels of mainstream consumer adoption and retention to build viable businesses in a space where most still remain comfortable with shopping offline or are not yet fully convinced by the benefits of online shopping including wait times for delivery or the trust factor needed for online payments. But lockdowns across the continent during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic are helping to accelerate a change in attitudes with consumers in many pockets exploring e-commerce out of necessity.
Jumia has reported a spike in both customer and seller interest as demand for groceries and essentials grew four-fold in the first quarter compared to last year, chief executive Sacha Poignonnec said during the company’s earnings call last week. In Morocco and Tunisia, sales have also doubled at different times over the last month.
The first commerce under an Africa-wide free-trade pact will provide new stimulus to countries on the continent to overcome the economic damage of the coronavirus, even if it could be delayed for around six months, according to the most senior official of this agreement.
The secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area is exploring the feasibility of moving talks involving more than 50 countries and real-time translation into four languages online. However, full border closures by some 30 nations aimed at limiting the spread of the virus is likely to restrict trade flows over the coming months, Wamkele Mene, the secretary-general said in an interview.
While the agreement entered into force legally last year, protocols for trade in goods, including tariff concessions, need to be agreed for its implementation and commerce to start on July 1. Disruptions caused by the pandemic have set negotiations back by two and half months.
“The consideration for postponement doesn’t mean that there no longer is political will and that there is no longer political commitment,” Mene said by phone from Addis Ababa on Wednesday. “We have to adjust to conditions that unfortunately nobody could have anticipated and we have to give the space to governments to solve the public health crisis as a matter of priority.”
Customs Union Africa lags other regions in terms of internal trade, with intracontinental commerce accounting for only 15% of the total, compared with 58% in Asia and more than 70% in Europe. The agreement is meant to help change that, aiming to lower or eliminate cross-border tariffs on 90% of goods, facilitate the movement of capital and people, promote investment and pave the way for the establishment of a continent-wide customs union.
When fully operational by 2030, it will be the world’s biggest free-trade zone by area, with a potential market of 1.2 billion people and a combined gross domestic product of $2.5 trillion.
The pandemic underscores the need for regional value chains across Africa and enhanced manufacturing capacity on the continent, Mene said.
“If anything, this crisis has demonstrated the need for us to reconfigure our supply chains, to reconfigure our trade links and to establish regional value chains in Africa that will advance our own African industrial development capacity without completely disconnecting from the rest of the world.”, he said. “The reliance on global supply chains presents one with challenges/ When you have a global supply chain disruption, you actually become very very exposed.”
The outbreak has also highlighted the need to address the extent to which intellectual property rights on the continent allow it to respond to a pandemic and set up a generic drug industry that can service industrial development and public health priorities, he said.
Listing and ranking richness of countries is always a challenge. Between social-economic status, commerce, economics shifts, natural disasters, many years of colonialism, poverty and inequality, and government corruption – there are most definitely many challenges in economic growth and maintaining a healthy, wealthy and productive society.
There are 1.33 billion people living across Africa, in 54 different countries, that produces $2.2 trillion in nominal GDP thanks to trade, agriculture and harvesting various sources of energy (oil being the dominant one in certain countries). Not too long ago, in 2013, Africa was the world’s fastest-growing continent at 5.6% a year. Nowadays, the African Development Bank predicts an increase of 4.3% in yearly growth across the continent. World Bank expects most of the African countries to reach a GDP per capita of at least $1,000 (ranking those as “middle income”) by 2025.
How would Nigeria’s oil export affect its ranking? Does the government domination on the economy in Kenya helps its rank? How do countries like Ghana and Zimbabwe rank in comparison to Zambia and Uganda? Does South Africa’s complex social history hurt its economic growth? Which other countries occupy the top and bottom of this list?
All nominal data in this article are based on World Bank latest reports.
Egypt has been a major country in Africa forever. It is obviously well known for iconic monuments such as The Great Pyramids, The Great Sphinx and the ruins of Memphis and Thebe. Nowadays, Egypt is the 3rd biggest economy in Africa, with a GDP figure of $237.03 billion as well as a GDP per capita of $2,500.
It is also the 3rd biggest country in Africa, with a population of 102.3 million. The Egyptian economy is largely based on tourism, commerce, natural gas, agriculture, and sea transportation, and oil. With a production of over 700,000 oil barrels a year, Egypt possesses the largest oil refinery capacity in the entire African continent. As long as there is a need for oil, the outlook for Egypt is strong as an economic power on the continent. The availability of hard currency has helped Egypt see a boost in their overall business environment recently.
Nominal GDP Rank: #3 Nominal GDP Per Capita Rank: #15
Algeria bases most of its economy on fossil fuels and gas. In fact, 95% of Algeria’s exports are based on its advanced fuel and gas industry. With a GDP of $183.69 billion and per capita GDP of $4,229.78, Algeria is one of the five richest countries in Africa.
Due to its newfound possibilities in recent years, Algeria has been leaning towards sustainable development to create more jobs and ease the housing shortages it faces. The Algerian economy also offers a host of other sectors that show some promise in putting the country’s economy in a respectable position. These sectors include agriculture, fishing, banking, and tourism. Hydrocarbon, one of the country’s leading sector that accounted for 34.2% of its total GDP, is now plummeting to less than 19%, driving to overall GDP growth to 2.3%. While fiscal and current account deficits are on the rise, 7.9% and 12.6% of the country’s GDP, respectively, during 2019. Compared to 7.0% and 9.6% during 2018.
Nominal GDP Rank: #4 Nominal GDP Per Capita Rank: #9
Morocco is the 5th richest and the 11th biggest country in Africa. With a GDP of $121.35 billion and a population of 36.9 million, is it also one of the leading countries in Africa in terms of GDP per capita. They come in with a figure of $3,410, which is good for 12th on the continent. Morocco is considered a relatively liberal economy with large sectors such as tourism (which the government hopes to reach 20% of its GDP by 2020), agriculture, solar and coal energy, and cannabis.
Fun fact: according to a study from 2016, around 70% of the cannabis consumed in Europe comes from Morocco. According to World Bank, during 2019 Morocco’s economy continued to operate below the potential assigned to is by said Bank. With the rainfed agricultural sector contributing to volatility and a timid recovery of the other sectors. The contribution of Morocco net exports is still negative, meaning that Morocco imports more than it exports, reflecting low competitiveness of exports and dependence on energy imports.
Nominal GDP Rank: #5 Nominal GDP Per Capita Rank: #12
With a total GDP of $124.6 billion and a staggering GDP per capita of $4,101, Angola takes 5th place in the richest countries on the continent. Angola is largely dependent on their natural oil and gas reserves, along with hydroelectricity, diamonds, and agriculture.
Angola has a population of 32.9 million people, most of whom are still highly influenced by European culture due to Portuguese colonialism in the country. The official language of Angola is still Portuguese. In 2019, President João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço has focused a lot on diversifying the economy to focus less on oil dependency, and those efforts are slowly paying off. Angola continues to trend upwards in several sectors they had very little presence in previously.
Nominal GDP Rank: #7 Nominal GDP Per Capita Rank: #14
Next on the list is Tanzania, undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places in Africa. With a relatively high total GDP of $61.03 billion, it is the 10th most economically rich country in Africa.
Tanzania has a population of 59.73 million people, 6th biggest in Africa. That brings its GDP per capita figure to $1,172. The people of Tanzania largely rely on agricultural for a source of their income. The country has increased in terms of GDP but there are people who still are below the poverty line. A markedly diversified economy, helps Tanzania maintain steady growth, 6.8% during 20018, only shy of 2018 7.0% growth. This diversification is characterized by robust private consumption, substantial public spending, strong investment growth, and an upturn in exports underpinned the positive outlook. Other sectors like tourism, mining, services, construction, agriculture, and manufacturing are contributing factors as well.
Nominal GDP Rank: #10 Nominal GDP Per Capita Rank: #30
The Democratic Republic of Congo
The Democratic Republic of Congo has a mixture of economic sectors such as mining, fishing, forestry, agriculture, and copper and cobalt. While the country’s total GDP of $48.46 billion may seem high in comparison to other African countries, but that is mostly do to it’s large population.
With 89.56 million people living in the country, it bring the GDP per capita figure to an astounding low of $495.08. This places the country in the top ten poorest countries in Africa by that metric. Nonetheless, this country is a perfect example of a mixed economy that is trying to build towards the future. According to the African Development Bank Group, growth dropped from 5.8% in 2018 to 4.3% in 2019, due to a slowdown in extractives, the economy’s main driver despite a fall in the price of some raw materials (copper and cobalt). Agriculture has suffered from low productivity while energy shortages have hindered industrialization efforts. Growth has been driven by domestic demand, particularly private investment and public consumption, contributing even more to the social-economics gaps in the country.
Nominal GDP Rank: #11 Nominal GDP Per Capita Rank: #46
The Ivory Coast enjoys a stable economy. They have a population of 26.4 million, a GDP of $45.3 billion and a considerable GDP growth of 8.5% per year. This currently puts them 4th highest in GDP growth worldwide. The vast majority of Ivory Coast residents (about 70%) are engaged in agriculture.
The leading crops in the Ivory Coast are coffee and cocoa beans, which accounts for about 40% of the world’s production. As a result, the economy of the Ivory Coast is heavily influenced by fluctuations in the prices of cocoa and coffee. This led the Ivorian government to push for greater diversification of the country’s economy. Those attempts resulted in failure, and most of the industry is still agriculture-based. The pro-market and pro-business reforms in the country continue to help move the country forward during 2019 and 2020. Analysts expect them to stay strong with year-to-year growth.
Nominal GDP Rank: #12 Nominal GDP Per Capita Rank: #21
Libya is one of the smallest countries in Africa, with a population of only 6.87 million people. It holds a GDP figure of $44.96 billion, which might not sound like a lot, but it places Libya as the 6th richest country in Africa, in terms of GDP per capita with a figure of $6835.62.
Just like many Africa countries, most of Libya economic growth comes from oil. It accounts for over half of its GDP, and about 97% of its exports. Due to those figures, Libya has been described as the “Upper Middle Economy of Africa” by the World Bank. It is hard to look into the future for Libya right now with so many moving parts in the country. From political instability to major security threats, there are definite challenges the country must face head-on during 2020 and 2021.
Nominal GDP Rank: #13 Nominal GDP Per Capita Rank: #6
Republic of Cameroon
With a per-capita GDP of $1,537.61, The Republic of Cameroon is one of the ten highest in Africa by that metric. The total GDP of the country is $39.22 billion.
As an economy largely based on agriculture and oil, many of the 26.55 million people, still keep the industry trending upward. The overall economy has increased over the years slowly. Timber reserve adds value to the economy of the country as it accounts for about 37% of the total land mass. During the last year, the country continues to try to overcome a poor infrastructure to rise into a top country in Africa financially. The building of the deep-sea port in Kribi is the first ever in Central Africa, and it should help expand hydropower generation significantly.
Nominal GDP Rank: #14 Nominal GDP Per Capita Rank: #24
Tunisia is in the midst of a long reform process that has been going on for over several decades. In the beginning, the Tunisian economy surged significantly. It is now in a state of moderate growth. Tunisia has a population of about 11.8 million, a GDP of $36.2 billion and GDP per capita of $3,072.
Despite the improvement in its economic situation, Tunisia is still trying to rebuild its economy. Right around 15.5% of its residents are living below the poverty line and 14.7% are unemployed. Much of Tunisia’s economy is based around tourism, as it’s an attractive destination mostly due to affordable prices, beaches, and pleasant weather. Tunisia attracts about 7 million arrivals per year. The government does seem focused on fixing the unemployment problem, which is a positive sign for the country as a whole. They have introduced policies to help increase foreign currency reserves, limit fiscal deficit and subsidies, and more. These small steps should help Tunisia get out of a pretty big rut with unemployment.
Nominal GDP Rank: #15 Nominal GDP Per Capita Rank: #13
Uganda is of the poorest nations in the world. The country’s total GDP accounting for $33.57 billion, along with a $828.06 GDP per capita is tough to overcome for the 45.74 million living there. Uganda is one of the largest countries in Africa in terms of population, but they have a hard time getting out of severe poverty. However, the country has witnessed a recent change in the economy, thanks in large part to the protection of the natural resources of the country.
In 1992, 56% of the country’s population was under the poverty line of $1.25 a day. In recent years that number has been reduced to around 25%. Government officials are still hopeful that in the coming years they will reach their goal of reducing the number of poor in its population to 10%.
There was a big push in the 1980s to make Uganda economically liberalized, but that has diminished over the years. They continue to look for answers that will help get so many out of a life of poverty. As during 2019 The Ugandan economy reported a strong growth, estimated at 6.3%. Largely driven by the expansion of services sectors, and industrial sectors (mostly construction and mining). Nominal GDP Rank: #16 Nominal GDP Per Capita Rank: #39
Sudan is the 10th most populated country in Africa, with a population of 43.85 million people. It is also the 17th richest country in Africa, with a GDP of $31.47 billion and a GDP per capita of $728.06.
In 2012, Sudan was the 17th fastest growing economy in the world. Largely due to the fact that it’s rich in oil and gas. The country has managed to achieve an increase in GDP along with their dependency on agricultural as a second source of income. Sudan is also the largest exporters of cotton and peanuts all across the world. The economic uncertainly in recent times has people still a little uncertain about Sudan’s long-term growth. Currency shortages have only added to the mixed feelings people have on the economy, but it continues to trend upwards.
Nominal GDP Rank: #17 Nominal GDP Per Capita Rank: #42
South Sudan is one of the poorest countries in Africa, with an economy that is weak and underdeveloped. South Sudan has a population of 11.2 million, with only about 24% of the population being literate. This makes it hard for the country to turn things around quickly.
Its GDP stands at $3.15 billion and GDP per capita is $235.52. Conditions in South Sudan are known to be very problematic. In most of the populated areas, there is no electricity and access to water suitable for drinking.
Nominal GDP Rank: #17 Nominal GDP Per Capita Rank: #42
Senegal is limited in natural resources, forcing most of its economy to be based in agriculture, tourism and foreign exchange of crops and fish. Senegal has a population of 16.74 million, a GDP of $25.32 billion and a GDP per capita of $1,510.20. Tourism in Senegal is a vital component of its economy, and they continue to pour money into that.
Historic sites, national parks and nature reserves in Senegal are a significant source attracting tourists from all over the world. As long as the rest of the economy can stay strong, Senegal has a solid outlook going forward. As public investment in infrastructure, agriculture, and energy are keeping the fiscal deficit at 3.6% of GDP in 2018 and 2019, and expected to continue to do so during 2020.
Nominal GDP Rank: #18 Nominal GDP Per Capita Rank: #25
Despite the potential and growing interest in Madagascar as a thriving tourist destination, tourism in Madagascar remains underdeveloped, with few visitors each year in comparison to its neighboring countries. People are intrigued mostly by the unique forests and habitats. The government continues to attempt developing the tourism industry, but it’s still a huge work in progress.
Apart from tourism, Madagascar bases most of its economy on agriculture, textile and mining industries. The population of Madagascar is 27.69 million, its GDP stands at $12.73 billion and its per capita GDP is $470.67. Those in charge continue to work on developing a capital market that sticks. Government corruption has always hurt the business environment in the country, so until that is fixed, Madagascar will continue to struggle.
Nominal GDP Rank: #28 Nominal GDP Per Capita Rank: #50
Niger is among the poorest countries in Africa, with a population of 24.2 million, GDP of $9.72 billion and a per capita GDP of $487.68. This puts them amongst the poorest countries in the world. Niger’s economy is based on agriculture (mainly subsistence agriculture), which provides jobs for most of its citizens, and its large uranium deposits, which is actually one of the largest in the world.
Despite the efforts, Niger economy struggles to make huge strides. It is negatively affected by drought cycles, rapid population growth, and the decline in uranium prices over the years. Until entrepreneurial dynamism improves, the landlocked country will struggle to really see any huge improvements. There are some growth opportunities with the mineral exports, but the country is still figuring out how to fully capitalize.
Nominal GDP Rank: #35 Nominal GDP Per Capita Rank: #48
Malawi total nominal GDP is set at $7.44 million and its GDP per capita is at the astoundingly low figure of $366.53. Its agriculture sector is being dominated by tobacco manufacturing and exporting. Tobacco exporting, alongside with tea, sugarcane, and coffee exporting, account for around 90% of Malawi’s total export revenue. Malawi also relies on tourism as a source of revenue, which has seen noticeable growth in the last decade. It continues to be a struggle for Malawi to connect with the rest of the region, but they continue to push forward with new and creative ways. As GDP grew 5.0% in 2019, compared to 2018 4.0% growth. Additional, annual inflation was estimated at 9.0% in 2019, significantly improving from its 21.7% in 2017.
Nominal GDP Rank: #38 Nominal GDP Per Capita Rank: #51
As Africa Fashion Week Nigeria 2018 celebrates five outstanding years in Nigeria, the fashion week has over the years successfully built a platform for emerging and renowned fashion designers in Africa to showcase exquisite and creative pieces depicting our African heritage and culture through fashion.
This year’s theme – “African Heritage Arise” intend to show reflective contemporary and versatile African pieces that tell a story of our heritage and the pride that comes with being an African. The beauty of our textiles have changed beyond the conventional era of simplicity in fashion to paving the way for more creative, colourful and modernistic styles that appeal not just to the older more traditional people but young people all over the world.
Africa Fashion Week Nigeria 2018 Now Open for Submission
AFWN’s objective has remained to create an enabling platform across the globe where creative African designers and fashion entrepreneurs can showcase the beauty and creativity of Africa through their designs and costumes, this year’s fashion week will also look to celebrate young African entrepreneurs who have mastered the art of fashion by using it to make bold statements and create more versatility in their designs and brands. This year’s edition will feature talented and creative designers from various African countries ready to showcase their exquisite pieces on the runway. AFWN 2018 will also open its doors to models from all over Africa. Africa Fashion Week Nigeria date will be announced soon.
African Fashion Week Nigeria is calling up for Designers and Exhibitors