Looking ahead to the future - 28 Nov 2016

[Louise Marsland] It's that time of the year when predictions for business in the next year and industry trends start filtering in to newsdesks and you know the end of the year is near! The fact is that the world is in a state of constant digital evolution, making business today very fluid. One of the most sought after skills in any career today is flexibility, in the context of being able to adapt to change and take chaos in one's stride as almost every industry is "disrupted" by disruptive technologies. This "on-demand economy" of ours presents unique challenges for business and individuals because we are expected to be "always on" and brands need to be immediately responsive to consumer demands. read more

Finding the hopeful news - 21 Nov 2016

[Louise Marsland] If one looks beyond the bad news emanating from Africa and elsewhere on the globe, you can always find that which will uplift your spirits. This is a continent of incredible innovation, hopeful initiatives and entrepreneurs. read more

Research under the spotlight - 14 Nov 2016

[Louise Marsland] One thing that will be hotly debated after this year and the subject, no doubt, of numerous case studies and future research papers, will be how research got it so wrong in two major global events this year: Brexit and the US Presidential election. Or how in both cases, social media pollsters got it right when all the other pollsters got it wrong. read more

Towards Agenda 2030 - 7 Nov 2016

[Louise Marsland] A global action plan for data is in the spotlight this week with the news that the inaugural United Nations Data Forum will be held in Africa, specifically Cape Town, in January next year. The objective is to improve the use of data and stats to achieve a transformational vision of a better future for all people on this planet, as set out in Agenda 2030. It is hoped the event will inspire innovation and dissect all the tools available for tracking and analysing data, including data journalism, for sustainable development, and create data ecosystems with all stakeholders. An integrated approach is needed to meet Africa's development goals as the Millennium Development Goals transition to Agenda 2030 and NEPAD transitions to Agenda 2063. read more

The human element - 31 Oct 2016

[Louise Marsland] Has social media fundamentally changed language and the way we communicate? JP Kloppers, the CEO of BrandsEye says in his article on social media and data, that we actually changed how language works in using the limits of tweets and status updates, plus emoticons to convey feelings. However, given the complexity, cultural nuance of language and even acronyms, Kloppers says we still need people to decode the trends and patterns in what is being conveyed online, as algorithms and machines will not pick up the subtleties to provide accurate social data to make informed business decisions. This week Deloittes reported back on a session with business execs on how to extract value from mega business trend and disruptor, the internet of things (IoT). read more

Innovative new tech from Africa - 24 Oct 2016

[Louise Marsland] One of the most innovative new technologies to come out of Africa is the growth of 'pay-as-you-go' solar electricity services - often supported and available through mobile networks. It is a vital service that is being rolled out across key African nations such as Ghana and Uganda, with plans for roll out in DRC, South Sudan and Burundi by 2018. Using renewable, clean energy and rolling it out through available services such as wireless, mobile networks, is the only way to go in the future with all such services - in particular bringing electricity to all, including underresourced rural areas in Africa. Strategy is always a strong news focus, and this week we have published articles on digital strategy, PR, apps, creative strategy and the internet of things. In other news, Africa's editors gather in Pretoria today to meet with outgoing African Union chair, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, to discuss how to "deepen" Africa's narrative and deliver on Agenda 2063. read more

African journalists honoured - 17 Oct 2016

[Louise Marsland] CNN and Multichoice honoured Africa's top journalists last week at the CNN Multichoice African Journalist 2016 awards. There were a record number of entries this year: 1,637 from 38 countries in Africa. read more

Numbers are positive for Africa investment - 10 Oct 2016

[Louise Marsland] Economists globally have been talking up Africa from an investment perspective, despite the drought, decline in oil revenues and despite global economic recession elsewhere. This week a report from the United Nations said there is an evident "bounce back" in investment. The investment story continues, especially in the hotel sector, where there seems to be a race on between the global hotel groups to open new hotels on the continent, including in Africa's tallest building - the Hilton in Nairobi, Kenya; and Marriott is also opening three new properties in Cape Town. read more

Digitising Africa’s economies - 3 Oct 2016

[Louise Marsland] Congratulations to DDB Middle East & Africa for being crowned Network of the Year at the African Cristal Festival advertising awards, held last week and congrats to all the winners. To attract the attention of consumers these days, brands have to create experiences that consumers can share, says Ogilvy's chief creative officer, Pete Case. These include experiences where the consumer is entertained or informed without overt branding. read more

Media industry outlook to 2020 - 26 Sep 2016

[Louise Marsland] Despite the decline of the publishing industry in certain regions due to the growth of digital media, there are still growth opportunities to be found in the media and entertainment industry in Africa, according to the latest PwC Entertainment & Media Outlook in which they unpack future trends until 2020. Video gaming, television and 'filmed entertainment' are growth areas in Africa, in particular Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa. The B2B market will be a major source of revenue for the media industry due to the amount of data required by business. While the print industry will decline by a billion rand in South Africa, total advertising revenue will rise due to the growth in internet advertising and television advertising dominance. In Nigeria and Kenya, growth will come from internet advertising as access increases; as well as from television growth and an emerging middle class with more disposable income. The latest PwC outlook highlights five key shifts that will emerge in sub-Saharan Africa up to 2020: primary growth is being driven by the youth market; content is still king; content consumption will be curated; growth will differ from one region to the next due to varying levels of disruption; and ongoing disruption of the market and media models will transform the market, as technology companies also enter the race to become hybrid content companies. read more

Spotlight on media freedom in Africa - 19 Sep 2016

[Louise Marsland] It was not a good week for media freedom in Africa, as several more incidents have been recorded that violate free flow of information and human rights in countries in Africa. Eritrea is in the spotlight again on the 15 year anniversary of a purge of journalists and politicians who have not been seen or heard of since. read more

Thoughts with Tanzania earthquake victims - 12 Sep 2016

[Louise Marsland] Keep Tanzania in your thoughts this week as a 5.7 magnitude earthquake struck north-western Tanzania on Saturday. The death toll on Sunday was updated to 16 and 200 people were reportedly injured. read more

Mark Zuckerberg visits Nigeria, Kenya - 5 Sep 2016

[Louise Marsland] Facebook dominated the news in Africa last week as founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg made his first trip to the continent, visiting start-up hubs and entrepreneurs in both Nigeria and Kenya. By all accounts, he was suitably impressed with the level of innovation, passion and ideas that he encountered. read more

A new narrative for Africa? - 29 Aug 2016

[Louise Marsland] Africa needs a new narrative to 'Africa Rising', argues a new book, 'Innovation Africa: Emerging Hubs of Excellence in Africa'. read more

Africa’s top creative festival - 22 Aug 2016

[Louise Marsland] It was The Loerie Awards in Durban, South Africa, this past weekend as part of Creative Week, so look out for your special Loeries newsletter with all the news in the Loeries Special Section for the awards, which take entries from Africa and the Middle East; as well as news from the annual public relations conference from PRISA; and the DSTV international Loerie judges' seminar. Elsewhere on the continent, while Africa moves to open up its borders with the launch of the Pan-African passport, the United Kingdom tightens up on its borders with the Brexit vote - what will both moves mean for those of us living and working in Africa? It is heartening to see international aid coming in via the various United Nations agencies like the World Food Programme, to provide food for the hardest hit areas in Southern Africa, facing the worst drought in decades due to the El Nino weather system. Japan is the latest to donate. read more

Next >