The Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, Patrick Akinwuntan has advocated a synergy between super brands in Africa to solve the multifarious challenges facing the continent. Akinwuntan, who made this submission at the International Advertising Association (IAA) Africa Rising 4 virtual conference, posited that recent happenings in the global arena such as covid 19 pandemic further reinforces the need for bigger brands on the continent to collaborate effectively to achieve sustainable solutions to challenges facing the continent.
According to him, “It is not just about digitization but understanding that life itself has deeper substance. What we have learnt in the past 18 months calls for common agenda for human race, an opportunity for collaboration to search for sustainable solutions to the myriad challenges facing the continent. This also reenforces the fact that until we are comfortable, no part of the globe is comfortable. This provides a completely new direction between developed worlds, developing worlds and whatever categorization that you want to bring to the table. With people having to stay at home because of the pandemic, we quickly saw that being disconnected from the economy fabric is much more dangerous than the health risk that we are trying to avoid from the social distancing and stay at home”.
On how Ecobank as an African Super Brand responded to the covid 19 pandemic, Mr. Akinwuntan noted that the bank’s success story in handling the outbreak and spread of Ebola disease in some parts of Africa came handing, adding that the bank’s investment in technology also paid off as it was able to provide financial services seamlessly to its customers in countries where the operates.
“We came out with strategies to ensure that small business and women enterprise leaders are able to learn to improve their capacity and source for labor without physical contact and able to access market without physical contact and be able to be financially strong without having to physically visit distant locations. For the small businesses, it is enabling them to have faith in themselves to be able to see that tomorrow has a brighter future. The covid-19 pandemic was a leveler and therefore everyone felt the impact. For a brand like Ecobank, we needed to demonstrate our ability to reach everyone at the same time. First is knowledge, people need to know, is this circumstance unique to my country, or to my own livelihood? if it is not, what has worked for other people and how have we leveraged it. That is quite a lot of learning that we focused on. We actually partnered with NEPAD and brought about leveraging on technology and capacity building for the small and medium scale business.”
Aligning with Akinwuntan’s submission, another speaker at the session, Group Executive for Marketing, MTN, Bernice Samuels said it was imperative super brands in Africa have a common platform to address and offer solutions to challenges facing the continent. The captivating session was moderated by Robyn Curnow, Anchor & Host of CNN Newsroom
Earlier in his welcome address, World President and Chairman, IAA, Joel Nettey said the 2-day virtual conference with the theme: ‘Africa To The World’ is aimed at projecting African brands to the world and bringing together the best on the continent to discuss trends and key developments. According to him, “as the most influential network of industry leaders with a broad spectrum of expertise, we help brands grow, strengthen, and forge new paths around the world through meaningful relationships with consumers. We use our thought leadership, initiatives in education and development, and world-class events to help our members navigate through the ever-changing worlds of business and technology. We are delighted to be able to put together this conference in such trying times to add value and bring together those who shape the industry’s future. The African continent is endowed with vibrancy, creativity, culture, its people, and strong brands weaving coherently into what makes the engines of economies move.”
The International Advertising Association’s (IAA) Africa Rising for Leadership Conference 2021 is first IAA virtual conference and it is congregating speakers and participants from across the globe – Nigeria, Kenya, south Africa, USA, Italy, Russia, Malaysia and several other leading countries where IAA has presence.