If we don't own our story, we will lose our sovereignty.

Author:Pompigne-Mognard, Nicolas
Position:Media - Africa's story

Since 2007, APO Group, a media relations consultancy and press release distribution service in Africa and the Middle East, formerly known as the Africa Press Organisation (APO), has carved out a unique niche for itself. The founder of the group, Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard (right), talks about the importance of the African media in telling Africa's story, which is in danger of being hijacked by foreign media organisations.

Although many media groups in Africa have been suffering from dwindling advertising revenues and balkanised revenue models, APO Group and other media relations businesses have been thriving.

APO Group has enjoyed a 60% year-on-year growth in 2018 with turnover doubling in the last two years alone. Pompigne-Mognard expects a 40% year-on-year growth over the next four consecutive years.

This is proof, he says, of the interest Africa generates among the business community at large and a desire by multinationals to capture an ever-greater market share of the African opportunity.

Today, 85% of APO's clients are foreign companies, international institutions or multinationals looking to expand their work and business on the continent.

"There are over 400 American companies and 350 German companies in South Africa alone," he says. The demographic and macro-economic factors point to sustained growth, he adds.

"Growth is from a low base and the market is large and rapidly rising. These two factors therefore point to much scope for accelerated growth," he points out.

"For example," he says, "a client of ours, a late entrant to the African market, is setting aside a fair chunk of advertising and PR spend--in the millions of dollars--to gain market share. Their CEO has been given a target to increase revenues tenfoldin the next five years!"

He also points to the art market to validate his thesis. Africa today represents 0.2% of the global contemporary art market. African GDP as a percentage of the world's is 2%: "Some will see this 0.2% as insignificant but to me it shows the scope of growth that is possible. A bulge in demand for African art has led to considerable growth in the past three years and in turn has inflated the price African contemporary art commands today."

Pompigne-Mognard is in a position where he can gauge the pulse of the continent and what companies are doing. While companies will go to his organisation to communicate positive news stories or positive developments, he still feels the trend is definitely a positive...

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