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Africa opens its first brand leadership academy

Africa opens its first brand leadership academy

Thebe Ikalafeng, Brand Africa Founder, launched the first Africa-focused specialist rand leadership academy Africa Brand Leadership Academy (ABLA), on 5 February. The Academy is aimed at sharpening the minds that build brands that build Africa.

Over the past decade, the Brand Africa 100: Africa’s Best Brands survey has established that on average, African brands account for only 20% of the brands that Africans admire.

Ikalafeng and his team recognised the need to remedy this challenge, therefore ABLA aims to sharpen the brand leadership capability of established and the next generation of executives and entrepreneurs in Africa to build meaningful, distinctive, sustainable and competitive brands that will transform Africa’s competitiveness and inspire the world.

“For Africa to compete globally and attain sustainable economic independence, it will have to complete its entrepreneurial skills with brand leadership to transform its many commoditized products into world-class brand,” said Ikalafeng. He explained that throughout history, brands have proven to be a powerful vector of the image, identity and competitiveness of people, products and nations and there are several exemplary brands such as Nigeria Dangote, South Africa’s MTN and Kenya’s Mpesa challenging non -African brands in Africa and transforming the image of their nations. “With the imminent implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which is aimed at boosting intra-Africa trade, it will be an epic tragedy if, in the long-term, the majority of goods and services moving across African borders are not made in Africa,” he added.

ABLA has a global African faculty network of respected specialist practitioners, through leaders and academics and institutional partnerships which collectively bring a rich blend of deep insights on the continent and building brands in Africa.

The founders of ABLA are Dr. Eleni Zaude Gabre-Madhin, who founded the highly acclaimed Ethiopia Commodity Exchange, Professor Tjama Tjivikua, previous Vice-Chancellor of the Namibian University of Science and Technology and Thebe Ikalafeng. ABLA is opeating out of its headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa.


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