South Africa, like all countries, does not exist in isolation, and its brand identity can be influenced both positively and negatively by global perceptions of its partners, allies and socio-economic associates. South Africa, viewed as part of a larger network, is a more attractive investment opportunity than the nation as a separate entity. Having the security that South Africa has the support of the continent is a reassuring proposition for potential global investors. And while Brand South Africa remains strong in communicating the pride of the nation message, creating a positive continental image and promoting the image of a unified Africa, is an important means of attracting investment.
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the main project behind the African Union’s Agenda 2063, offers an opportunity to expand Africa’s economy to $3.4 trillion, primarily by eliminating tariffs on intra-African trade. A unified African economy demands unified messaging, thus the development of the AfCFTA depends on the image of the continent and the strength of intra-continental trust.
Buy African, Invest African, and Support African is the message that all nation brand patrons must extend in bringing life opportunities and awareness of AfCFTA. “African Made” is a term that intrinsically communicates continental unity, and is a strategy that is currently being implemented as part of the Agenda 2063 goals. Brand South Africa embarked on this journey last year during its Nation Brand Forum, in which some of the African continent’s stakeholders attempted to define the central idea of the African continent to identify a strategic angle that would tell the African story. Will take it forward.
Brand South Africa will work closely with the African Union Commission (AUC), and the African Prosperity Fund to strategically rollout the “African Made” message and attractively position the idea of ”Buy African Made”. The collaboration will involve inputs from the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Directorate, whose main objective is to bridge the digital and connectivity divide in Africa. Ultimately, the unity being projected needs to be informed by an infrastructural and communicative unity co-created through efficient access models under ICT research.
The more integrated the messaging, the more attractive the product. The more people, including the common man on the street, understand the vision of the AfCFTA, the more buy-in will be realised. Promoting awareness of the vision represents an integral communication function implemented by Brand South Africa and other continental agencies to promote their country’s brands, investments or tourism.
Just as South Africa does not exist in isolation, neither do the goals of Agenda 2063. They need cooperation across the continent, both structurally and ideologically. Yes, the European Union (EU) benefits from its intra-trade agreements, but it also benefits from external and internal perceptions of European unity and strength. This does not diminish the national pride of the member countries; It turns that pride into intercontinental confidence.
The underlying unifying message for “African Made” and “Buying African Made” is key to presenting this belief both within the African continent and from a global perspective. It is an important communicative cornerstone for the success of the AfCFTA and Agenda 2063 – it fosters unity by manifesting unity.
“African Made” is not just an empty marketing phrase. It is a messaging product that not only communicates unity but it needs to be successful. This is the message that will drive Africa’s competitive advantage and prestige.
About Brand South Africa
Brand South Africa is the official marketing agency of South Africa, aimed at building the country’s brand reputation to improve global competitiveness. It also aims to build pride and patriotism among South Africans to contribute to social cohesion and nation brand ambassadorship.