Africa now has its first Africa-focused Brand Leadership Academy (ABLA), announced by award-winning pan-African marketer, Thebe Ikalafeng, aimed at sharpening the minds that build brands that build Africa.

ABLA’s flagship programmes are the Post Graduate Diploma in African Brand Leadership (PGDABL), these programmes are complemented by a range of short-term Short Learning Programmes for individuals who need short-term learning interventions to sharpen their skills, in inter alia, Responsible Branding; Brands, Boards and the Bottom-Line and Leadership Branding and Public Sector Branding.

“For Africa to compete globally and attain sustainable economic independence, it will have to complement its entrepreneurial skills with brand leadership to transform its many commoditized products into world-class brands,” says Ikalafeng. “Throughout history, brands have proven to be a powerful vector of the image, identity and competitiveness of people, products and nations. There are several exemplary brands such as Nigeria’s Dangote, South Africa’s MTN and Kenya’s Mpesa among several African brands challenging non-African brands in Africa and transformed the image of their nations. With the imminent implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which is aimed at boosting intra-African trade, it will be an epic tragedy if in the long-term, the majority of goods and services moving across African borders are not made in Africa.”

ABLA has a global African faculty network of respected specialist practitioners, thought leaders and academics and institutional partnerships which collectively bring a rich blend of deep insights on the continent and building brands in Africa.

ABLA leadership and governance include; renowned Ethiopian thought leader and business woman, Dr. Eleni Zaude Gabre-Madhin who founded the highly acclaimed Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX) is the founding Chancellor/President, retired Namibian academic, Professor Tjama Tjivikua, the founding principal of the Namibia University of Science and Technology, is the founding Council chairman and ABLA founder, Thebe Ikalafeng, is the founding principal. This team is led by a Council of diverse and respected Africans who are responsible for the good order and overall governance of ABLA.

Recognizing the need to remedy the challenge of under-performance of most African brands (following The Brand Africa 100: Africa’s Best Brands research is conducted independently by Geopoll, Kantar and Brand Leadership.), ABLA aims to sharpen the brand leadership capability of established and the next generation of executives and entrepreneurs in Africa to build meaningful, distinctive, sustainable and competitive brands that will transform Africa’s competitiveness and inspire the world.