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Title: The role of brand Africa in sustainable development : a diasporan perspective
Author: Muzanenhamo, Penelope
ISNI:       0000 0004 5361 9536
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2014
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Brands mean and do something for someone somewhere. Brands are also created and owned by someone. However, some ‘brands’ appear to simply ‘exist as givens’, without attracting notable academic attention. Brand Africa is arguably one such ‘brand’. Therefore, this research applies the paradigm of social construction, netnography with two African diasporan communities, and semi-structured interviews with experts to explore brand Africa and its potential contribution to sustainable development. Research on place branding is grounded in corporate branding theory. Our work consequently reflects on the potential extension of the underpinnings of corporate branding to a supranational region of continental scope. Our findings reveal that brand Africa is an allusion to Africans based on what they do collectively, locally yet within a global context as evaluated by outsiders. A supranational place brand such as Africa can thus be conceived of as a people centric construct, which revolves around the collective actions undertaken by the inhabitants of a place in a recurrent fashion over a long period of time. Collective actions are central to the emergent place brand – they signify something about both the people and the place, and that signification renders a place with meaning. Our results strongly show a lack of delineation between the place and the people in the construction of the meaning of Africa. From the perspective of the African diaspora studied in this work, people are the place and vice versa. Moreover, we postulate that if the place is the people, and people collectively act, then a place can be abstractly seen as a ‘human actor’. The manifestation of collective actions implies that places act, ideally in pursuit of specific goals (e.g. produce enough food). The actions undertaken create (or should create) value for the place (as the people). People make places metaphorically by giving them meaning through collective actions as observed by outsiders. People also make places literally in the sense that they drive sustainable development internally. This is analogous with the pivotal role of members of a corporate service organisation in defining its respective brand and socio-economic value to stakeholders. We also contend that collective actions are only valuable to sustainable progress insofar as they generate value through the utilisation of competitive resources available to a place, and for the place. Resource endowments alone do not warrant sustainable and more equitable growth. The process of value creation is internally oriented, and for the benefit of the inhabitants of a place. We maintain therefore, that the co-ordination and internal organisation of collective actions to ensure resource utilisation is as central to the enduring prosperity of supranational regions like Africa as it is to corporations. The factors crucial to such management are integration, committed political leadership, human capital, and the place’s effective participation in global partnerships. A supranational place brand must be a coherent and effective entity, as a prerequisite for ensuring sustainable development. We formulate our research implications as: I) Supranational place branding involves the co-ordination of collective actions, which requires top management; II) Internal brand building should be prioritised and; III) The sustainable development of a place reflects that of the inhabitants collectively. Research limitations are linked to the online environment as the research site. Future studies may expand into statistical analysis offline. Our research is deemed academically relevant in its endeavour to conceptualise brand Africa and its significance in value creation with the context of sustainable development. Practically, our research highlights factors that should be harnessed and leveraged in order to create a more competitive brand Africa.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HD Industries. Land use. Labor