Monday, January 08, 2007

Africa Open for Business: Nation branding in sub-Saharan Africa. Perceptions vs. Reality

CNN Inside Africa features business and economics blogger Emeka Okafor and documentary filmmaker Carol Pineau on year-end show
Source: CNN International Inside Africa program – 12/30/06

While watching the popular CNNI weather anchorwoman and TV host Femi Oke moderate the December 30th program for Inside Africa from Johannesburg, South Africa a familiar face popped-up on my TV screen. I couldn’t believe my eyes so I got real close to make sure that I was seeing straight and hearing right and there he was, Emeka Okafor, author of the Africa Unchained and Timbuktu Chronicles blogs. Of course I was very surprised to see one of our own (Africa’s bloggers) appearing on CNN International with zillions of viewers around the world watching. This is Proof Positive that Femi Oke and the production staff at CNNI Inside Africa have been reading our stuff online and using our discussions to create programs for their show… which is fine with me.

I should point out that I’m talking about Emeka Okafor, the Nigerian born New York City-based business consultant and online author, not the NBA star playing for the Charlotte Bobcats and posing with President George W. Bush in this photo. Read more about the other Emeka at the TED Global blog re: his leadership in organizing the upcoming TED Global conference to be held in Arusha, Tanzania from June 4-7, 2007 (Africa: The Next Chapter).

The Inside Africa program Africa: Perception vs. Reality focused on the efforts underway in sub-Saharan Africa to improve the image of African countries in the world of foreign investment, business and trade, and tourism. Uganda and Nigeria were just two of the countries highlighted on the program that have lauched international image campaigns, a marketing strategy called “nation branding” or "place branding".

Emeka was interviewed about building a positive image for Africa in the media and online and he pointed out the contributions that Africa’s bloggers have made over the past year. The show also featured an interview with Carol Pineau, the journalist and filmmaker who produced the Africa Open for Business documentary. Pineau’s excellent documentary about entrepreneurship and business opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa was a top pick in the Best Documentary Films of the Year 2005 by the BBC (U.K.) and it was a favorite pet project of the World Bank Group who provided funding for the film.

Other guests featured on the Inside Africa program were Simon Anholt (marketing consultant and “nation branding” specialist), top Ugandan fashion designer Sylvia Owori, and Suphir Ruparelia, CEO of Ruparelia Group, a Ugandan business conglomerate of hotels, real estate, financial and business services (see Speke Group Hotels). Frank Nweke Jr., Nigerian Minister of Information and National Orientation was also interviewed on the program.

The show was videotaped at the upscale Moyo restaurant at Zoo Lake and the Sel et Poivre restaurant located in the Quartermain Inn in Sandton, both venues being top addresses for African haute cuisine dining. Here is an earlier news article about the Moyo Restaurant at Zoo Lake from the official website of the City of Johannesburg where the residents were trying to stop its construction.


The CNN website for Inside Africa unfortunately had NOT been updated since December 5th as of the original draft for this post and the CNN transcripts page for the show was last updated on December 23rd (see Christmas in Africa program, aired Dec 23, 2006). Now as much as I enjoy the great work that Femi Oke, Zain Verjee, Jeff Koinange, Alphonso von Marsh, and newcomer Isha Sesay along with the show’s production team have been doing to improve Inside Africa over the past year, the webmaster for the program is “asleep at the keyboard”. I had to wait a whole 8 days before the CNN Inside Africa transcript archives were updated to include this show and they have the nerve to call it a “rush transcript”. Get it together Inside Africa. This is the World Live Web of the 21st Century and not the World Wide Web of yesterday.

Here is an excerpt from the show featuring our man in New York Emeka Okafor and other distinguished guests talking with Femi Oke about building a positive image for African countries:

Africa: Perception Versus Reality
Aired December 30, 2007 - 12:30:00 ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


FEMI OKE, HOST: Hello, I'm Femi Oke. This is INSIDE AFRICA, your weekly look at life and news on the continent. Coming to you this week from Moya's (ph) restaurant at Zoo Lake (ph) in Johannesburg. It's more than just a restaurant; it's more of an African experience. Their motto here is modern sophisticated African, which fits in beautifully to our theme this week, which is all about image and a lot about perceptions. How can the African continent abolish some of those old stereotypes, and make way for fresh interpretation? That's exactly what some African countries are trying to do. Let's take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good morning, Uganda, it's a bright...

OKE (voice-over): It's hard enough to market a business, let alone a country. But whether trying to attract tourism or investment, it's catching on. And for good reason, says Simon Anholt, who advises countries on just how to convey more favorable images.

SIMON ANHOLT, GOVERNMENT ADVISER: The countries have images, and those images are very important to them. If you've got a bad image, everything is impossible, as is the case of most African countries. If you've got a good image, everything is so much easier.

OKE: Most agree that Africa, the entire continent, could stand some improvement in the area. Emeka Okator is (inaudible) director of TedGlobal 2007, an initiative that aims to spotlight Africa's talented people and opportunities to the world.

EMEKA OKATOR, TEDGLOBAL: It's very evident that Africa battles with this problem of perception. The perception being one of disease, of war, breakdown of societal structures, and so on.


OKE: But in the case of Africa, it's clearly more than just perception. The images that flash across our television screens are all too real, but, says Okator, Africa is so much more. But that can be a difficult point to make to the rest of the world, even with those who want to help.

ANHOLT: Because you have a lot of very well meaning and very effective people like Bob Geldof and Bono, who have enormous power over the media, and stand up on the TV every day of the week branding Africa as one big bad black basket case. Now, this is great if you want to generate charity, and a lot of those counties do need charity, and of course Geldof and Bono do a lot of good work. But without meaning to, they also cause a lot of harm, because what they're doing is they're creating this very strongly negative brand for the whole of Africa. And if you're an entrepreneur in Botswana or Uganda or Tanzania or anywhere else, or a tourist resort, or a manufacturer, and you're trying to get visitors and customers and investors, the net brand works against you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... presents "Sights and Sounds of the Gambia".

OKE: So, how do you shed light on the brighter side of Africa?


EMEKA OKATOR, TEDGLOBAL: It's coming from the bottom or primarily from the citizen media type, the bloggers, who are covering Africa to an extent it has never been covered before. There's strong belief that the rest of the world will catch up as this process accelerates.

OKE: While swooping marketing campaigns may serve to accentuate a country's strength, Anholt cautions that they're pointless unless the country itself lives up to that image in policy, business and other areas.

ANHOLT: One of the most dangerous ideas that's out there in the developing world today is this idea which unfortunately is catching on very quickly, that branding is some kind of magic trick, and if only a country could raise a Nike-size marketing budget, they could have a Nike-size brand in three months, and it simply doesn't work like that.The reputation can only be earned. It can't be constructed.

OKE: And how do Africans feel about the way their continent is perceived?

OKATOR: They do accept the fact that they have challenges, but they're not overburdened by these challenges. They do not wake up on a daily basis thinking that it's -- all is lost. So when they put on their television and look and see what others see of Africa, in many ways it's very alien.

OKE: As alien as these pictures of Africa, however true, appears to many in the West.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

OKE: Here in Johannesburg, there are a lot of Nigerians. And I'm one of them. And some anti-Nigerian jokes too mean for me to show to you on TV, but isn't it interesting that Nigeria, one of the most powerful nations on the African continent, has an image problem, and the government is spending millions to try and fix it.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

OKE: There are around 140 millions Nigerians - give or take a million or two, and all about to get a makeover. Nigeria's government is running a campaign called "The Heart of Africa," part of an ongoing effort to try and change the country's image.

FRANK NWEKE JR., MINISTRY OF INFORMATION: The Heart of Africa project is a conscious effort on the part of the people of Nigeria to tell their story. This is the belief of government policy (ph), and the people of Nigeria believe that Nigeria has been unfairly and unjustly profiled by the international media in a very negative way.

OKE: But Nigeria knows it has real problems behind the image.

NWEKE: (inaudible).

OKE: Nigeria's ad campaign is not just about glossy pictures. The government is also reaching out the people to project a better image.Jeff Koinange was CNN's Lagos bureau chief for four years.

JEFF KOINANGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: If you say I'm from Nigeria, they say, oh, you're a con man. You send e-mails to people demanding money, you take advantage of people. You're corrupt, you're thieves, you're crooks, you name it - every bad word in the book - that's what people see of Nigerians. And yet, that's not the way it is. It's just a tiny percentage of those people.

END Transcript Excerpt. Read more at the Inside Africa transcripts archive.



There is always at least two sides to every story and Inside Africa did not give equal and fair coverage to the critics of “nation branding” as can be found in an article by Jeremy Kahn for Foreign Policy magazine in the Nov/Dec 2006 issue online. Jeremy Khan writes about the branding campaigns of Uganda and Nigeria featured prominently on the CNN International TV news network:

Close your eyes and imagine Uganda. What comes to mind? Images of Idi Amin and his genocidal murders? Or more recent scenes of “night-commuting” children swarming rural towns at dusk to avoid impressment into the Lord’s Resistance Army? That is not the picture of Uganda that has greeted viewers of CNN International during the past year. Instead, the channel has aired a steady stream of commercials featuring lush jungle foliage, silver-backed gorillas in the mist, and rugged river gorges—all meant to convey the message that Uganda is, as its new advertising slogan states, “gifted by nature.”

Uganda’s marketing blitz, concocted by the giant public-relations firm Hill & Knowlton at a cost of nearly $650,000 and promoted through a $1 million ad buy on CNN, is simply the latest example of what has come to be known as “nation branding”—using modern marketing techniques to reshape public opinion of a country. Other countries launching controversial brand-burnishing efforts in the past year include Nigeria (billing itself as the “Heart of Africa”) and Israel, which, after three years of research and focus groups, started a new marketing push that makes no mention of the conflict with Palestinians, or even religion (“Israel starts with I” is one of the oh-so-snappy slogans).

The brand management of nations, regions, and cities has become such a hot topic that there is even a quarterly British journal devoted to the practice: Place Branding, now in its second year of publication. Last April’s issue tackles such topics as whether Africa could use branding to improve its image, the use of food to help brand places, and an exploration of whether England needs to develop a brand distinct from Britain. Most of the articles feature turgid academic language—replete with buzzwords such as “correspondence analysis” and “tertiary communication”—and are illustrated with nearly incomprehensible flowcharts and diagrams describing “brand personality dimensions” and “image communication.”…

It would be easy to dismiss Anholt as a huckster, cloaking an old idea in marketing jargon in order to wring hefty consulting fees out of governments desperate to drum up foreign investment. After all, countries have always tried to market themselves as destinations for business and travelers. They have always tried to promote their products abroad. And they have always tried to shape public perceptions of their foreign policies through propaganda. They just never had hexagons or “brand personalities” to help them do it. Moreover, the image of a country, linked as it may be to stereotypes, often has concrete roots in history. It cannot be as easily manipulated as the public’s perception of a laundry detergent or cereal.

But to Anholt’s credit, he is acutely aware that “rebranding” a country is a difficult business. He is especially disdainful of marketing campaigns that attempt to slap a new slogan on a country that remains fundamentally unchanged. “A lot of very poor countries—Uganda and Nigeria, for instance—are spending millions on TV campaigns. I would be astounded if that made any difference to people’s views of the country at all,” he says. “In fact, I suspect it will make it worse because people know how much advertising costs. It will simply reinforce the idea that these places are corrupt because they are spending so much on what amounts to propaganda while their people are starving.”

End excerpts. Read more at Foreign Policy “A Brand New Approach” by Jeremy Kahn

In a detailed 29 page October 2006 white paper by brand strategist Uche Nworah titled “Rebranding Nigeria: Critical Perspectives on the Heart of Africa Image Project” Mr. Nworah writes the following in his introduction:

Branding has traditionally been associated with products and services, rather than with countries, places and cities. Global companies and corporations and their marketing communications agencies have continued to create and use branding as a distinguishing and strategic competitive factor in the market place, and also in the fierce market drive for consumers.

Brands such as Coca-Cola, Mercedes, Nike, Microsoft, Harvard, Guinness, and Ford are beneficiaries of strong and strategic brand building efforts, this may therefore account for their global brand leadership positions.

Increasingly, governments and countries are beginning to employ branding and marketing techniques to sell their regions and countries to the rest of the world, in order to increase their international profile, attract foreign direct investments and make the places ideal destinations for tourism and trade.

The Nigerian government through the Federal Ministry of Information and National Orientation (the supervising ministry) launched the Nigeria Image Project (now renamed The Heart of Africa project) in July 2004, following in the footsteps of some other African countries which had launched similar image campaigns such as Uganda and their Gifted by Nature campaign, and South Africa which launched a Proudly South African image programme.

Uche Nworah references the work of several marketing experts in his paper including the work by Simon Anholt, guest on the Inside Africa program and author of the book “Brand New Justice – The upside of global branding” as he writes:

Simon Anholt in his book Brand New Justice (2005) writes of the strategic imperative for developing nations to apply branding principles in their trade relations with the developed countries, according to him “more branded export business is most certainly a step in the right direction for an emerging country”, this argument justifies the need for both product and place branding from the perspectives of the developing countries including Nigeria. This is because the rising trend of globalization and the breaking down of international barriers of trade has increased the competition amongst countries and companies for consumers and investments, also known as Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs). Therefore it is the country, place or region that is able to project the most positive image to potential investors and tourists, and also guarantees peace and stability of investment, as well as security of life and value for money that will likely attract tourists and foreign investments.

Uche Nworah describes the uphill battle that The Republic of Nigeria has in generating a positive global image for investment, business, and tourism as follows:

Nigeria is an oil rich African country with an estimated population of over 130 million people; it also occupies an envious position as the 6th largest oil producer in the world. Despite these positive attributes, Nigeria’s reputation as one of the most corrupt nations in the world, coupled with other socio-political issues has greatly affected its global image and has directly impacted on its attractiveness as a potential investment and tourist destination. According to the 2004 Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index, Nigeria still ranks as the third most corrupt country in the world in a survey of 146 countries, coming only ahead of Haiti (the most corrupt country) and Bangladesh (the second most corrupt country).

Nigeria's current position is only a slight improvement from its previous positions as the second most corrupt and the most corrupt country in the world in 2003 and 2002 respectively. According to Peter Eigen, the Chairman of Transparency International:

“Corruption robs countries of their potentials… Corruption in large-scale public projects is a daunting obstacle to sustainable development, and results in a major loss of public funds needed for education, health care and poverty alleviation, both in developed and developing countries."

Some Nigerian citizens including the members of the political class have also not helped matters with their ever increasing corrupt and fraudulent practices; these fraudsters are known locally as 419 people, named after the section in Nigeria’s constitution which deals with advance fee fraud. The new wave scammers comprising young boys and girls (mainly university students) are called Yahoo boys and girls, as a result of their information technology (IT) dexterity and their penchant of perpetrating the scams using the internet, constantly sending unsolicited scam emails using Yahoo and other free email websites to targets all over the world, promising them spurious and ludicrous financial deals. There are however some Nigerians such as Dumebi Agbakoba and Rosemary Ajayi who have started various praise-worthy initiatives aimed at turning the 419 curse on Nigeria into positives. Dumebi’s DoSumthing.com website aspires to be the rallying point for Nigerian youths.

Note: also see Rosemary Ajayi’s 419postive.com website as referenced in this report. Rosemary’s site focuses on 419 positive attributes of Nigeria and Nigerians. The report by Uche Nworah goes on to describe additional image problems that the country of Nigeria faces and is trying to combat in its branding campaign:

Nigeria's other problems and brand eroders have also been identified as bribery and corruption, unemployment, poor infrastructural development, over dependence in the oil sector for federal income and revenue, poor work ethics, increasing citizens dissatisfaction and disaffection with the government, political structures and politicians, corporate and large scale organizational irresponsibility, inadequate funding of the educational, health and other key sectors, neglect of the agricultural and other non-oil productive/manufacturing sectors, continued manufacture of poor quality, fake and substandard goods and services, over dependence on imported goods, poorly regulated capital and financial market, tribal, ethnic and religious squabbles, homelessness, poverty and hunger, poor maintenance culture, poor planning, lack of security and disregard for human life and property, armed and pen robbery, and others (Nworah 2004).

Long periods of military dictatorship which saw the country’s national treasures pillaged, and citizens’ rights abused have also contributed to the negative international image that Nigeria has. However, a civilian democracy is now in place since1999, which is committed to changing the negative perceptions that the world has about Nigeria, and also gain some respect for Nigeria in the international community. In 2004, the Olusegun Obasanjo government launched an image project for the country which it called the Nigeria image project at the time, the project was renamed in 2005 by the new Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mr Frank Nweke, and is now called the Heart of Africa (HOA) project.

Planned as an informational and orientational campaign, the HOA project received an initial government contribution of 600 million Naira (about $3 million), with the expectation that the private sector will also contribute towards the project as part of their corporate social responsibility.

End of excerpts. You may download a copy of the report “Rebranding Nigeria: Critical Perspectives on the Heart of Africa Image Project” at the BrandChannel.com – Brandpapers website. Scroll down the page to locate the report.

What do you think? Will Nation Branding (Place Branding) help attract the desired new foreign investments, new business, and loads of tourists to sub-Saharan African countries?


Additional online resources and related articles

CNN Inside Africa website
Inside Africa transcript for Dec 30, 2006 show – Africa: Perception vs. Reality
CNN International Inside Africa – Transcripts archive

Nigeria Heart of Africa marketing campaign website
Uganda Gifted by Nature marketing campaign website

Africa Open for Business – official documentary website
National Black Programming Consortium – U.S. Corporation for Public Broadcasting
NBPC – Africa Open for Business documentary video

Washington Post – Apr 17, 2005
The Africa You Never See by Carol Pineau
Inside Africa – May 19, 2005
World Bank Funds Documentary on African Entrepreneurs
National Public Radio (NPR) – News and Notes May 20, 2005
Africa Open for Business
U.S. Department of State - Washington File Jul 18, 2005
Journalist Carol Pineau shows “Africa is open for business”

TED Global Conference 2007 at Arusha, Tanzania
Note: The TED Global Conference 2007 in Arusha is a must event this year for people interested in learning about solid business opportunities and business challenges in sub-Saharan Africa. The invited speakers list is a literal “Who’s Who” of the continent’s most promising entrepreneurs, seasoned businesspeople, and leading thinkers.

TED Blog – Ideas that matter in Technology, Entertainment, and Design
TEDTalks website – audio/video podcasts from some of the world’s most fascinating and innovative people
TED Conference website

Foreign Policy magazine online
A Brand New Approach by Jeremy Kahn – Nov/Dec 2006 issue

Simon Anholt’s Nation Brands Index website

Nation branding explained at Sourcewatch

East African BusinessWeek
Gifted by Nature brand for CHOGM (Uganda) – 07/31/06

New Vision Online (Uganda govt. backed newspaper)
Selling Uganda on CNN was a brilliant idea – 11/01/05

The Economist
State promotion Mississippi turning – 01/04/07

BrandChannel.com – Brandpapers (whitepapers)
Rebranding Nigeria: Critical perspectives on the Heart of Africa Image Project by Uche Nworah – October 2006


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9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Black River Eagle, in America we have a phrase that we like to use, for flawless work. It's called "two thumbs up" we also like to append "five star" to anything of impeccable-second to none standards. That's what I have to say about your post on Branding in sub-Saharan Africa.

The interview that you have included in this post casts a bright light upon two polarities that often seem to be at odds with each other. They represent two schools of thought; on the one hand maybe if Africa could rid itself of war, famine, corruption, and disease maybe she could reap the rewards of this global economy instead of being overlooked. Then you have the other school, which as Mr. Emeka Okafor so graciously pointed out, acknowledges-yes, there are problems but why not focus upon the solutions and why not accentuate the positives that already exist within our (SSA) environments.

As you know, my friend, it is difficult for me to conceal my point of view. My aim is to help uncover the truths that are most often unseen as they relate to Africa and the respective economies there. Prior to being involved in credit I worked in PR and sales. What I have learned from my brief career within those closely related fields is that deals are closed based upon emotions and then they are justified with the logic. They are in a way intertwined. However, from my experience the typical buyer almost always makes the initial decision based upon their "gut feeling". So, although I would say the perception is "where it's at" end the end there must also be something to back up the perception. Otherwise, the seller will never get repeat business.

By the way, your post goes well with a post that I will release within a few days on Africa telling her own story through cinema. I shall reference this post there as they both focus a great deal upon Nigeria.

Otherwise, what a pleasure. Looking forward to more...
p.s.
glad to see that you made it back in good measure from what I will assume was a great Holiday Season for you!

imnakoya said...

Based on a quick perusal, I can tell you one thing: No amount of branding and PR campaign can whitewash the Nigerian image. The battered image Nigeria and its citizens have in the global eyes is a function of a bankrupt leadership and complacent citizery, and these two components have started feeding off each other. As I stated on Grandiose Parlor (It's Just a Matter of Time...), my fear is that the tipping point may not be too far off, and events might take a more grim pespective.

The good thing is that there are folks like Emeka Okafor and you, who share an uncommon passion in all things African. You are rare gems to be treasured!

Another great post BRE, I will digest the nitty gritty later.

Black River Eagle said...

Thank you Benin Mwangi and Imnakoya for your kind words and for your inputs.

Although this specific Inside Africa program was not one of the most exciting shows of the year for the weekly half-hour series, it did cover a very important subject that deserves intense discussion in the blogosphere and in various forums online.

I believe that Femi and her Inside Africa crew have been working very hard over the past year to promote a positive image for all of Africa in the themes that they select and how they present those stories on the air. This program had to walk a very thin line as CNN pocketed a cool $1 million bucks plus for the Uganda Gifted by Nature campaign in 2006 alone.

I'm a big fan of CNNI's Femi Oke along with millions of other CNN viewers. Somebody needs to get in touch with Femi and let her know that Emeka Okafor's name has been mispelled repeatedly on the Inside Africa program transcript for Dec 30th AND that Emeka is not the Director of TED Global but associated with the upcoming TED Global Conference 2007 in Tanzania.

Anybody else have something to say about improving Africa's image through new marketing and advertising strategies and campaigns?

Don't be shy now, just step right on up to the microphone.

Anonymous said...

Great post, and something that requires some examination given the amount of $$ being thrown to foreign firms to develop such western-based ad campaigns.

I agree that the West does percieve African nations to be corrupt, poor, and basically an afterthough when it comes to foreign investment. However, throwing large sums of money at the problem is not the solution.

The problem I see in this approach is based on the idea that change is slow, without a quick fix marketing-based answer.

I believe that change of perception is reality based, not marketing based. Change the problems, and the perceptions change. Yes, the world does need to see that Africa is not solely a pit of corruption, but i doubt a well funded ad campaign alone will create foreign investment.

I am continually disappointed to see how many african countries are portrayed in the media, the people seen as destitute and hopeless, but as you pointed out this is sometimes the case. If countries instead spent the $1.65 million (US)internally on citizen programs, the perception of the nation may change too...

Just my thoughts...

Keep writing!
:)

peace, kdf

Anonymous said...

Good day, I just wanted to briefly say that there is an example of private citizens and business people in Africa that may be already doing something to change Africa's image-African cinema. Perhaps, some might even say that they are doing something for Africa that Africa's governments may never be able to do without using paid advertising.

Joshua Wanyama said...

This is a wonderful post. I am a true believer that in business, for you to exist, there has to be a market for whatever you are selling. In this case, Africa has to be a market destination for something. Tourism, investments and the likes only flourish wherever security is enhanced while corruption is minimized.

A company/country can't sustain its goodwill without branding. All companies learn at one point or another that all of business is brand building. At the end you can only occupy one position in the mind of a consumer and that is what your brand is. Example being safety for Volvo or corruption for Nigeria.

Since I was a kid back in the 80's we always said the most corrupt and crazy nation in the world is Nigeria. And if you went all over the world, you will find a Nigerian in every country and probably up to no good. That is a negative brand and Nigeria's problems didn't start the other day but have been around for a while.

As for branding in Africa, I think it is the best way forward, but you have to back it up. Improve security, open up the markets, court countries that will give you better deals that improve your country's welfare in the long run, reduce corruption and the like. Once you have a wonderful product that can stand in the market, then your brand will allow you to grow and prosper.

Benin "Mwangi" said...

BRE:

Thanks for your comments on my blog. Both on Nigeria and on diamonds in Botswana. Whenever one reads your comments and posts one knows that indeed a true wise person has spoken. Your comments display both deep level of research on the topics that you are responding to, balanced by practical "on the ground" knowledge that someone could only gain from experience.

Thank you very much.

Black River Eagle said...

Thank you very much Benin Mwangi and everyone else who has commented on this post up to now.

A special welcome to Joshua Wanyama, editor and publisher of the recently launched news blog and website "African Path" and CEO of the U.S.-based firm Spectrum Interactive Media LLC. You can vist Joshua's new site at:
http://www.africanpath.com/p_home.cfm

I don't know how much wisdom may be contained in my posts and comments, but there is a Helluva lot of effort and interest and passion for the subject matter, Africa. I'm learning a great deal about the continent and its peoples from you, my readers, fellow blog authors, seasoned foreign journalists and correpsondents who live and work on the continent, and from various professionals and experts from around the world who are writing and publishing some fascinating content online about Africa.

BTW: Emeka Okafor of Timbuktu Chronicles and Africa Unchained sends his best and kind regards for the Hat Tip on the show. Femi Oke of Inside Africa hasn't contacted me personally yet. You thinks she's mad at us? Non? Just mad at me?

St0rmshadow said...

OMG. Even though you wrote the disclaimer about Emeka Okafor all I could think about was the ball player dunking and during half time crunching data for analysis.