How Confident are Young Africans about 2017

Posted by Patrick Gaincko | January 17, 2017
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70% of Africa’s population is less than 30 years old: this is the youngest continent! More than 50% of all Africans over the age of 15 own at least one mobile phone. 75% of Africans don’t have a bank account. 75% use internet every single day.

The young and urban is part of most of The African Consumer Trends 2017 that I present at the Heineken Experience in Amsterdam the Netherlands this Friday 20 of January for the Southern African Chamber of Commerce (SANEC) and the Netherlands Africa Business Council (NABC).

A trend I discuss is the Post Call Era where Africans want to maximize their cells, use it for so many things beyond just calls. This opens great opportunities for local and global innovators, investors, product designers and project managers.

From Morocco, Nigeria, Kenya to Ethiopia, DR Congo, South Africa, I take you into my field explorations and in-depth analyses of how Africans feel, what they want, how they spend.
I provide real-world examples, keys to opportunities and exclusive insights.

More event info:

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What’s an Influencer in Casablanca Morocco

Posted by Patrick Gaincko | August 13, 2016
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What African Millennials Want: in Bujumbura Burundi

Posted by Patrick Gaincko | July 8, 2016
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In this section, I normally explore how millennials through their digital prowess, high-energy entrepreneurship, insatiable hunger for innovation, extraordinary sense of navigation in both the informal networks and the corporate world are contributing to meeting the needs or changing the experience of today’s consumers across Africa. So in this third installment, I was on my way to introduce another proven and tested entrepreneur, influencer, innovator, but then I met Ange.

Ange Irankunda hails from Bujumbura, the capital city of Burundi. She has just finished her studies in financial banking and was thinking with no hurry about what’s next in her journey. Burundi is a small country, so professional career options are relatively predictable. Then, she received a phone call from nowhere.

Ange has been selected to participate in the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. Launched by President Obama, the program aims at supporting and empowering future African leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators.  Ange is among 1000 selected fellows who will during 6 weeks on the American soil receive academic courses and leadership training and benefit from multiple networking opportunities. At some point during the program, the fellows will even meet with President Obama.

In addition to the program above, Ange has been selected as one of 100 fellows who will participate in a Professional Development Experience. That’s another six week for an internship at a US-based company, organisation or agency.

I was also impressed by what Ange has actually in mind for her future: she wants to be a farmer! I thought she was joking, she said “I am serious“. Organic, high quality, social change, consumer interests, economic development, sustainability are the areas she wants to commit herself to when she returns to Africa.

Ange’s endeavours and ambitions are truly fascinating. I look forward to offering you again tickets to more leadership and entrepreneurship stories as they unfold.


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What African Millennials Want: in Casablanca Morocco

Posted by Patrick Gaincko | June 16, 2016
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Saoussane Hmidouch is a Casablanca based beauty and lifestyle youtuber, the winner of the 2015 Miss Webelline contest, an ambassador of various local brands such as Morocco Mall, one of the three largest shopping malls in Africa. Her following across social media channels sees an unstoppable growth, making her a new member of the much coveted elite of Africa-born influencers with an international audience. Hers spans across North Africa.

SM: As a teenager, I was very passionate about recycling. I used to create a lot of things with used stuffs. I created a cellphone case, a t-shirt, a bermuda, etc. People were impressed and would encourage me to show my creations on the internet. This is how my facebook page started. At the beginning it was just an audience of around 300 people. Then I noticed that people don’t read on facebook, they don’t go beyond a few lines, so I opted to offer them more options for accessing my content. I progressively moved from facebooking and blogging to youtubing.

PG: How has youtube impacted your relationship with the audience?

SM: Video is a much more active channel, people feel more engaged. I regard viewers as friends and neighbours. I came to build that relationship through various ways such as the language I use – the darija (Moroccan Arabic) – and the setting. I sometimes shoot in my bedroom, other times I shoot at 6AM. People like that I am spontaneous, true to myself, telling it like it is. I also literally reply to all queries.

PG: How often do you post videos?

SM: It used to be whenever I felt like posting. Any time I had an idea. But then people don’t necessarily come back when you disappear for a while. Now I post minimum twice a week, on a weekday. Never on weekends. People are mostly connected via cellphone on those days, they don’t watch videos and tutorials on their cellphone. They may bookmark it for a later viewing.

The bottom line is that I want as many viewers as possible as it also helps with how youtube finds you in search requests for instance. Now I have much more content and ideas. They come with the trends. In order to be in sync with the trends, I have to post more videos, to have the appropriate frequency. Now I do tutorials about make-up, lifestyle, discoveries, purchases…

PG: Can you walk us through the process?

SM: I do my own videos from filming to editing. My equipment is pretty basic but that’s all good because I have always liked learning different things, touching on diverse areas in the process, perfecting my own way up. I like the craftsmanship aspect of the whole thing.

PG: Do you know your numbers with precision across social media?

SM: I do actually. But I see value more in the two-way relationship I have with the audience, in how they react to my postings. I feel like my community is a real community. But as it is growing, I get concerned about losing the strong relationship with my followers because this is what differentiates me from other bloggers, youtubers and influencers.

PG: How do you cash in on your achievements so far?

SM: Through advertising but it is not worth mentioning as it is very low compared to other markets. In Africa, in Morocco, revenues from blogging are close to zero because you hardly reach the threshold defined by youtube for revenue generation.

Another source may be sponsored videos. Things are starting to move forward in Morocco as bloggers, particularly in cosmetics, bring in more results when it comes to attracting specific audience targets. Compared to traditional advertising, people prefer to trust someone who has really tested the products. It is not a sponsored video per se, but I did like the work I did with L’Oréal for Elseve. I wrote the script, there were three bloggers involved… From there I have participated in other initiatives from L’Oréal.

PG:  How do you position yourself in the local youtuber landscape,?

SM: I have come to consider my blog as a mini communication agency because I am also contacted by companies who are looking at penetrating Morocco. A recent collaboration was just that and I got to submit concepts that resulted in two great videos. I had total freedom in the creative process, I was allowed to say whatever I wanted – liked the product or not.

It is not all rosy though: recently a partnership with a global brand did not materialize, even though both parties were satisfied with the creative, the legal and the financial. So far I have no clue as to why nothing happened. That left me frustrated because I don’t know whether they moved on hiring someone else and implementing my concept, or they just buried the whole thing.

PG: Big corporate brands tend to be the dream partner for youtubers. Do you consider independents and starters?

SM: Yes! I believe blogs are mostly done for them! Because if you don’t talk about new things, don’t offer things for people to discover, what’s the point? Talking about stuffs that have been there for ages? Talking about new products, new brands in particular, is extremely exciting for viewers and consumers.

But then, it’s up to the new kids on the block to deliver, notably in terms of distribution, customer service, availability everywhere…this has been a serious issue in Morocco where you see labels, products, brands one day in the shelves and gone the next day. Followers complain so much about products I have talked about but that are no longer available in stores.

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What African Millennials Want: in Jo’burg South Africa

Posted by Patrick Gaincko | May 27, 2016
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Maria McCloy is a fashion designer who creates Africa inspired accessories, such as shoes, bracelets and necklaces. Her shoes, clutches and jewellery pieces are brought to life by her creative team who operate in Johannesburg. I met her 10+ years ago and followed her since as she made her progression in South Africa’s urban culture, wearing many hats and developing her network in a variety of sectors from journalism and public relations to the music industry and fashion.

“Why copy Europe or America when we have all this amazingness here” is a statement she made as a speaker at a recent conference about entrepreneurship. I take it that she has a broad vision touching art, music, cinema, fashion, and interior design in which aesthetics is original, capturing the essence and diversity of African cultures.

Having attracted international attention, among which a feature in CNN’s Inside Africa show, Maria is well positioned to develop her influence, capabilities and outreach as I see ethnic design, original creations, ethical fashion making headlines in the mainstream press and accessing the global fashion marketplace.

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What African Millennials Want: an Interview (2/2)

Posted by Patrick Gaincko | April 7, 2016
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Sinqobile Zwanes is a fresh graduate in electrical engineering. He leaves in Berea, Johannesburg.

Patrick Gaincko: Do you shop online?
Sinqobile Zwanes: I tend to prefer physical stores. I go to malls, I shop in Johannesburg. In reality, I am not familiar with online shopping…maybe it’s expensive…

Patrick Gaincko: Do you have a preference: malls or speciality stores?
Sinqobile Zwanes: It doesn’t matter really. I do malls and individual, speciality stores. I look for good quality, best prices, I shop on a budget.

Patrick Gaincko: Do you have a preferred time for shopping?
Sinqobile Zwanes: I just go whenever I feel like shopping. Also I don’t prepare, I just go around, whatever I like, I take it.

Patrick Gaincko: How would you define your style?
Sinqobile Zwanes: I go for comfort as opposed to be fashionable. Here fashion changes every day, every day comes with new styles, new inspirations, new ideas, and you always want to try new things. Here clothes define who you are, some use them to be accepted, I dress to express myself. All in all, it’s all about comfort.

Patrick Gaincko: What are your influences?
Sinqobile Zwanes: Inspiration is everywhere. It’s a combination of different styles. I look at people. I don’t follow ads, I don’t look at brand ambassadors, I create my own thing.

Patrick Gainko: When you say you look at people, do you go through looks or profiles on social media?
Sinqobile Zwanes: I never use them. It’s in the streets where everything happens.

Patrick Gaincko: And when you say you don’t look at ads, how then do you keep updated with new brands, new models?
Sinqobile Zwanes: Most of my clothes are not branded. There is just a handful of brands that I trust. They are the ones that fit what’s most important for me: quality. I don’t want to buy something and come to regret it two months later. I look at durability. So that’s why I look at quality and diversity in my wardrobe. I have lots of clothes, so that I can compose, try, experiment, be spontaneous, be creative with my outfits.

Patrick Gaincko: At the moment, what are your favourite shopping destinations?
SinqobileZwanes: One, it’s Menlyn in Pretoria, two, Sandton City, three, Eastgate Mall. I also like the Rosebank Mall.

Patrick Gaincko: So you travel all the way to Pretoria for shopping!
Sinqobile Zwanes: Sometimes I go there twice in a month! It’s huge! It’s crazy! I can spend the entire day there. I like the idea of having a large choice. There are too many shops, exclusive stuffs, the best of everything.

Patrick Gaincko: Do you do the trip with friends?
Sinqobile Zwanes: I always shop alone. I take my time. I know what I want. I like to enjoy to whole thing.


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What African Millennials Want: an Interview (1/2)

Posted by Patrick Gaincko | March 7, 2016
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I met Laura Nkondi and her cousin, Kendra, near the Shoprite supermarket, in Gombe, Kinshasa. The interview was conducted early February 2016.

Patrick Gaincko: Prior to shopping, do you use internet?

Laura Nkondi: Yes, I visit instagram mostly. I follow various shopping agents, especially one who travels to Belgium and returns to Kinshasa with orders made by customers. I also visit European online stores. It’s mostly for inspiration. I do my shopping here and there.

Patrick Gaincko: Precisely where do you go for shopping?

Laura Nkondi: It really depends. I change destinations a lot. Sometimes I order stuffs via my sisters who live in the UK. Sometimes I use shopping agents, even though they can be expensive and do limited discounts. There is a handful of multi-brand stores downtown, but price-wise, service-wise, they suck. I like public markets, like Le Marché Central: you can find real brands there, like H&M. You can bargain and get great deals.

Patrick Gaincko: So what’s your favourite destination for getting what you want, when you want it?

Laura Nkondi: I look for printed fabrics and styles on google, facebook, etc. Then either I draw a model or I choose a model, and I show it to the tailor. He then makes a dress, a skirt, a top, according to my instructions and ideas. I stick to this pattern for special occasions like the Women’s Day on March 8.

Tailors are really the best destination when it comes to dressing well. You can be demanding, you are guaranteed service and quality.

Patrick Gaincko: Are you loyal to a brand?

Laura Nkondi: I like Woodin. They do print fabrics, dresses, skirts, suits, etc. They have original ideas, extravagant looks. I can do lots of things with their prints. I also like to mix up styles and customize. I try to be as much original as possible.

Patrick Gaincko: What are your influences?

Laura Nkondi: I am pretty much my own influencer. Sometimes I need Kendra’s advice, she is my cousin and best friend. I am afraid of finding something cool when I see it but then having another impression with time passing.

I use my cellphone most of the time for getting inspiration, but I also find myself taking notes when watching European fashion TV programs.

Patrick Gaincko: How you spend your budget?

Laura Nkondi: First it’s clothing, then it’s make-up.

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