By Margaux Narbey, Institute for Cultural Diplomacy.
We have been talking about nation-branding, tourism and investment before. Not a new topic here. But let’s go then to the third act of our reflection.
We have witnessed Hon Mulugeta Seid Damtew, State minister in Ethiopia talking about sustainable development and Hon Kamanga Clementine Shakembo, ambassador of Congo to Germany presenting opportunities and challenges of eco-tourism. So let’s look at what Prime minister of Namibia, Hon Nahas Angula, has to say.
Nahas Nagula came to the ICD to talk broadly about nation-branding, tourism and international investment. He focused on one very important idea: setting new relations for investment. This idea is underlined in this sentence: put an end to so-called neo-colonialism and a very paternalistic attitude generally felt toward Africa.
We have already talked about it. Africa needs to change its image. Africa needs to be branded positively. Using natural resources, extraordinary landscapes, a great variety of languages, culture, music styles, sports and a lot more! He reminds us that the image of Africa has been shaped by explorers and colonial writers. It is time for Africa to build its own image. And « image » here, can be used as a very broad concept. Because we are not only talking about branding. Africa needs to regain control over its resources, its wealth, and its landscape; numerous issues that have not fully been dealt with yet. And Prime Minister Nahas Angula does not hesitate to point it out.
Change is needed. Nahas Angula has great ambitions for Namibia and for Africa in general. He wants a real partnership with foreign countries, a « win-win partnership ». African people can take their destiny into their own hands, they can work together and what they need is support, but not aid. By « win-win partnership », Prime Minister of Nambia underlines that this has to be an equal, mutually beneficial partnership. And this includes risk-sharing, joining ventures, diversified investments.
When it comes to Namibia, Nahas Angula is pretty clear. He wants « quality investment ». Where Namibia brings raw materials, labor and capital, foreign investors bring technology. And African investment has to be reinvested in Africa to create a shared economic growth, to permit a better redistribution and to lead to sustainable development.
To change these relations, Africa needs to be branded positively. « History has been cruel to Africa » he says, but « it appears that branding should start with historical connections ». Colonization has build up connections with European countries and these connections need to be used to set a sustainable partnership. Positive aspects must be extracted out of it: culture, language, sports, tourism as a basis for such partnerships. A very interesting idea indeed…