I’m in the Nigerian capital Lagos where I’m meeting Kola Oyeyemi, the general manager of consumer marketing for MTN, Africa’s largest telecom provider, and the president of ADVAN, the Advertiser’s Association of Nigeria. Over coffee in the Eko Hotel, Kola has been telling me about his vision for Nigeria and Africa and how he is constantly working to drive positive growth in his home country.
“The economic potential of Nigeria and the whole of Africa have been hindered by mismanagement and weak institutions,” he says. “But committed visionary leadership can steer Nigeria and the continent as a whole back onto the path of growth and economic prosperity. It all boils down to leadership.”
Kola sees that the continent needs foreign investors, but, he warns, they will need to learn to work with the different African cultures if they want to be successful. “This is where ADVAN as an association and I as an individual can and will play a role,” he tells me.
“Interesting,” I say. “What role do you see for an advertisers association like ADVAN in driving positive foreign investment?”
“Well to answer that question, I first need tell you a bit more about ADVAN.”
“Please do,” I say, “that was going to be my next question.”
“ADVAN is the only umbrella body for advertisers and marketers in Nigeria, bringing together 60 leading organizations and representing over 200 brands with an annual marketing spend of more than N 100 billion (around € 450 million),” says Kola.
“Since its founding in 1992, ADVAN has worked to drive visionary leadership in the marketing communications industry, provided a discussion forum for advertisers and helped influence change within the industry.”
“I see, so ADVAN plays a crucial role in stimulating dialogue among advertisers, but also between the sector and the government and other stakeholders?”
“That’s right,” says Kola. “For example, we recently co-hosted a stakeholders meeting about the planned digitization of TV broadcasts with the minister in charge to get a clearer picture of how the development will affect advertisers and the marketing community as a whole.
“Another important dialogue we stimulated was with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration, the agency in charge of approving the sale and advertising of all food and drink items in Nigeria. ADVAN has for some time been pushing for friendlier regulations and more rapid approvals. We organized a meeting with them where we had the chance to discuss these issues and advance our objectives.”
“So if I understand correctly, your role is to keep the industry informed of developments, encourage debate about how to advance the industry and improve quality, but also identify opportunities for growth.”
“Yes,” says Kola, “In addition we also see it as our mission to further professionalize the sector: we are constantly hosting trainings, seminars and interactive platforms to ensure best practice within the marketing industry.
“But you know, to really understand the importance of ADVAN for the Nigerian and African advertising industry, you should come to the annual ADVAN Awards for Marketing Excellence. That’s where ADVAN’s achievements truly come to light.”
“It would be an honour!”
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