1. Does the West still have misconceptions about Africa and its people?
Too often people think it’s the Africa of huts. They don’t know there are skyscrapers, they think electricity is only for the wealthy. The stereotypes need to be broken: There so much wealth, Africans want to buy, but they can’t access the retailers. People also don’t realize how brand conscious Africans are, it seems to surprise them. I grew up reading GQ magazine. I went to boarding school and on the inside of my locker I had pictures of watches and shoes cut out of the magazine. The kid next to me had pictures of jeans and clothes. In Africa there are a lot of cultural influences from social media, pop stars and elites. People are heavily influenced by Western branding and marketing – when a James Bond film came out with him wearing Tom Ford sunglasses, everyone wanted them. Status symbols go a long way in Africa: People are very status conscious and are willing to pay for it.