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Mary Kimonye, Brand Kenya/FILE


Sh76m campaign to boost Kenya’s image

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 10 – A new integrated communications campaign aimed at improving Kenya’s brand image and reputation was launched by Brand Kenya on Monday.

The Sh76 million campaign, dubbed “Nitakuwepo” (I will be there) is intended to build national cohesion, pride and patriotism among Kenyans.

“The determining factor of whether a country will be a strong brand or not is the citizens of that country. It is the citizens who give the country either a good or bad name. The campaign is asking Kenyans to take the personal commitment; a call to action,” said Brand Kenya Board Chief Executive Officer Mary Kimonye, during the launch.

A recent national perception survey, released by Brand Kenya revealed that 78 percent of Kenyans expressed pride in the country, up from 62 percent in a 2009 baseline survey.

Through the six-month campaign, Kimonye said she hopes “we’ll see an improved level of pride among Kenyans, we’ll see reduced political rhetoric among our leaders and Kenyans demanding more positive action from their government and leaders.”

The recent events of the Sinai fire tragedy, weakening shilling and tourist abductions in Lamu have shed a less than favourable light on the country’s image over the past couple of weeks.

However, Kimonye argued that this has been countered by an increasing flow of foreign companies choosing to set up shop in Nairobi, in the last year and tourism numbers increasing every quarter.

Firms such as US-based pharmaceutical company Pfizer, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, IBM and Google, have announced plans to either establish regional hubs in Kenya or revamp their local operations to serve sub-Saharan Africa.

The tourism sector registered a record number of tourists for the first half of 2011, with estimated revenues for the first six months standing at Sh40.5 billion, up 32 percent from Sh30.7 billion in the same period last year.

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Kimonye said Kenya is on the right track as far as a national strategic plan, compared to other African countries, citing a new sense of pride and cohesion developing amongst Kenyans.

“We are doing our third year in trying to build our nation, while South Africa is on its 11th year and there are not even there. One of the differences about our strategies is that Brand Kenya started within, we started with our citizens,” she said.

Kimonye further explained that country branding is a long-term process that may take up to 10 years of sustained promotion to build a formidable Kenyan brand.

The campaign is the first of a series of upcoming marketing promotions targeting Kenya’s international audiences set to begin next year.

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