Title: Place branding sovereignty: re-marketing Africa's investment narrative from 1619-2019

Authors: Frederick Ahen

Addresses: Department of Marketing and International Business, Turku School of Economics, University of Turku, Rhetorinpellonkatu 3, 20500 Turku, Finland

Abstract: The enduring nature of negative branding distorts Africa's image. This is emblematic of the problematic nature of brand Africa, albeit normalised and treated ahistorically and uncritically in extant literature. This paper analyses the origins, causes and effects of negative branding of Africa and proposes novel sovereign (self-determination-based) strategies for rebranding the continent. The study practices literature mapping and historical institutionalism as a two-pronged approach for probing and highlighting the important historical stages in marketing strategies that are partly responsible for relegating Africa to the bottom of a global caste-based branding system. We synthesise extant literature about the role of imagery, urban myths, deceptive marketing and pejorative media/academic portrayal of Africa as being dependent on the eleemosynary gestures of others. We analyse the extent to which these issues obfuscate our understanding of the institutional reforms, numerous positive macro-economic indicators and political changes which are favourable conditions for MNCs and diaspora entrepreneurship to thrive.

Keywords: Africa; Africa rising; brand Africa; country of origin; racism; international business; place branding.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMCS.2020.107684

International Journal of Multinational Corporation Strategy, 2020 Vol.3 No.1, pp.66 - 91

Received: 12 Aug 2019
Accepted: 16 Dec 2019

Published online: 08 Jun 2020 *

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