I am the Founder and Convenor of the Africa Brand Summit, which serves as a platform to monitor and assess the evolving brand image of Africa as a whole and its component parts (countries and regions).
We believe that destination reputation is a product of perceptions about that destination. Such perceptions can either open doors or close doors of opportunities, e.g. attract business and leisure tourists, investments, foreign students, and academics seeking to study in or research associate with local tertiary institutions. Destination reputation is a key to unlocking a whole basket of other foreign exchange earning opportunities.
The Africa Brand Summit looks at the issues that inform perceptions about Africa and proposes ways to progressively eliminate the negative ones while strengthening the positive ones.
First, confidence-building measures must be in place, at the center of which must be safe; especially health issues.
Second, better international and regional coordination can be strengthened. While each country and region of the world has its own unique features, there are also commonalities that can be used to share ideas and create crucial links across the globe.
Airline connectivity remains a major impediment to travel in many parts of the world. Improved, affordable, connectivity must be on the table and receive necessary investments by destinations and airlines. Easy connectivity is also a crucial contributor to economic development.
Access to VISA application and acquisition – without removing necessary security checks – can also play as an impediment to travel. There should be a way to come up with a platform similar to the Air Alliance that enables travelers to be vetted and enabled to access regional VISAS with ease. This last point needs to be unpacked further.
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