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The rebranding of a nation

The rebranding of a nation

As Sierra Leone struggles to shake off the legacy of the past and promote enormous strides taken in recent years, Rwanda is enjoying a status as Africa’s least corrupt and most business friendly country.  (Photo: Acanchi Chairman, Fiona Gilmore)

With President Kagame’s intention to move from an ‘aid’ to ‘trade’ based economy, his country (Rwanda) is seen as role model for progress; in good standing on issues of political and economic stability, safety, minimal corruption and openness to the private sector.

In contrast, recent headlines on Sierra Leone have highlighted political violence, timber scandals, corruption investigations and drug smuggling among other things.

In the Rwanda resurgence the country’s Brand Strategy was key to enable them manage the future, stimulate enterprise, strengthen unity and allow the world all that was happening.

To this, Rwanda was assisted by countries branding specialist Acanchi, and who had previously helped the Dominican Republic, Mauritius, Hong Kong and Lebanon develop their brand identities.

After in-depth research and consultation, Acanchi developed the brand ‘Enduring Spirit’, an inspirational distillation of the spirit of the people, place and history.   An umbrella strategy tailored for groups in Rwanda and around the world – citizens, the Diaspora, returnees, investors, tourists and public opinion formers.

In March of 2010, Brand Rwanda was launched for stakeholders, the public and private spectrum. Leaders were trained as Brand Ambassadors and nationwide workshops were held.

Rwanda’s resulting international perception bears testament to the success strategy.

In November 2011, the Acanchi Chairman, Fiona Gilmore, visited Freetown to offer her specialist guidance. It was her belief that the time was ripe for Sierra Leone to change its image.  “The potential is clear, she said, successive governments have created a fertile environment for investors, which up until now pay dividends.

“Sierra Leone is poised to become one of Africa’s best investment destinations. I am excited at what I have seen and Acanchi looks forward to returning to help Sierra Leone achieve this goal,” Ms. Gilmore affirmatively assured.

“Rwanda, Lebanon, Sri Lanka, Cambodia & Vietnam have all successfully upset the ghosts of their past, why not Sierra Leone?”

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