Fleishman Hillard (FH) South Africa recently hosted the MDs from its African partner offices in Joburg to discuss the building of African PR capacity in the wake of recovering business levels and the run-up to the World Cup. The meeting saw partners representing Egypt, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Mauritius, Zambia and Cape Town in attendance.
L-R: Kevin Welman, Fleishman-Hillard SA MD; Elizabeth Cook, Tell-Em PR MD; Aisha Allee-Mosaheb, Blast, Mauritius MD; Mildred Kaunda, Cutting Edge PR, Zambia MD; Michelle de Pons, Fleishman-Hillard Cape Town MD; Kevin Bell, Fleishman-Hillard regional president UK, Middle East & Africa; Serena Hylton, TRACCS, Egypt MD; Sarah Broberg, TRACCS, Egypt deputy MD; Bolaji Okusaga, Quadrant Communications lead consultant
According to FH SA MD, Kevin Welman, "FH JHB and our affiliates have spent the past 3 - 4 years investing a lot of time and effort in building both capacity and our partner networks across the African continent. Global perceptions are definitely shifting and Africa is a very exciting place to be, especially now, with the growth of broadband communications across the continent and with fewer than 70 days to the FIFA World Cup."
Looking at current communication trends in Africa; Welman said, "The growth of broadband communications across the continent has translated into Africa rapidly becoming a global citizen, part of the rapidly growing digital economy."
"This process has fueled other changes as access to the internet has spurred education and learning and has also encouraged the democratisation of the media in those countries where freedom of expression has often been frowned upon."
He said other socio-economic factors contributing to this perceptual shift include the reality that with the recession and collapse of first world markets, global companies can no longer afford to condescend to the third world as emerging markets have now become central to their economic growth.
Growth in PR business
Welman said he has personally seen a marked growth in PR business throughout the continent as he traveled to and visited FH affiliate offices stretching from North to West and East Africa and back down to South Africa.
"We have become and remain highly proactive in building our African network as we now have more capacity and skilled PR professionals on the ground than ever before."
The end result of the meeting among its attendees was a renewed energy to share all works across Africa's FH network with its more than 150 PR professionals.
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