African nations facing marketing skills gaps: WFA study

The World Federation of Advertisers’ (WFA) new study of six African countries suggests talent mobility is adding to skills gaps in the sector.

Stephan Loerke, WFA MD in Marrakech

WFA: Stephan Loerke

The WFA report, carried out with global branding and communications consultants Millward Brown and national advertiser associations in Cameroon, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa and Zimbabwe, finds that marketing firms in these countries are facing skills shortages, with talented people relocating to agencies across the continent or overseas.Four in ten respondents to the survey to gauge marketing expertise across Africa believe there aren’t enough talented young people entering the sector, despite marketing being seen as an attractive career choice. A further third believe that the best marketing professionals are being lost to other countries or overseas, attracted by agencies in other regions.The report was launched last week in Morocco at the WFA’s first-ever annual gathering in Africa. Its wider conclusions, based on insights from 82 marketeers working for well-known local and global brands at a country or regional level, include the need for reliable market-level data at individual country level and local solutions to this issue and others, such as weak infrastructure.Charles Foster, managing director of Millward Brown Africa & Middle East, commented, “Africa's main challenges lie in its enormous size and diversity; it's imperative that companies wanting to succeed and grow here recognise that the continent isn't one economy or homogenous population block.“The WFA study highlights that, for marketers, success requires a thorough understanding of local cultures, beliefs, customs, economics and practices. Companies and practitioners that have followed globalised assumptions and methods have often failed to make an impact, and we've seen that a key factor for success is having marketing operations headed by locals who understand and connect with what consumers need.”Stephan Loerke, WFA managing director, added, "Africa offers huge and untapped potential for the brands that can not only manage their budgets efficiently, but also connect with its populations via powerful insights. We should not underestimate both the amazing work that's already taking place in Africa, but also the opportunity for it to grow even faster."For more HR news and features from Re:locate, please click here. And for more about Africa, click here

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