Monday, February 25, 2008

The Confessional | G. Kofi Annan

G.Kofi Annan, New York | He’s a New Yorker working on branding Africa since after all, l’Afrique, c’est chic. This gem from Ghana is an Entrepreneur, a Strategist, a Thinker and what every Boardroom needs. Guidance from the Man behind the imposing & famous name.

You live in New York, the City known as the Big Apple. Is this questionnaire the Big Headache? It’s never a headache to talk to interesting people. That’s where my inspiration comes from.

In a recent interview in Entrepreneur Magazine, you evoked the necessity for Africa to learn to brand itself. I agree. Where or how should the Continent start? People in the African Diaspora need to first value the resources, culture, and history that Africa has. We have to convince ourselves that what we have is unique to the rest of the world, and that makes Africa extremely valuable. We should understand the reasons other communities seek out African style, culture and resources. Only when we attach value to Africa will we understand how that value translates to others.

What’s worse for Africa? Dictators or Hollywood celebrities? I would say dictators are worse for Africa because they restrict the development of African countries and they often destroy the efforts of the people. It’s the situations dictators create that ill-informed Hollywood celebrities exploit.

I wish books by African writers and poets were mandatory reads in schools all over the World. Name three books that should be on the curriculum. “Africa Unchained: The Blueprint for Africa's Future” by George Ayittey, “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe, and anything by Wole Soyinka especially “The Interpreters”.

You have a fantastic clothing line which includes fab tee-shirts. Who would be your ideal spokesperson/model? Anyone who inspires, thinks big, and kicks ass; whether they’re famous worldwide or just in their community.

What turns you off? Ignorance, closed-mindedness.

What is your favourite curse word? I can’t say I have a favourite. I let my emotions speak for themselves. (My parents would kill me if they read this.)

What has to stop? Injustice.

What has pleasantly surprised you in the past two weeks? The things my nieces and nephews say and do.

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? You made a difference.

You are in front of 90 000 screaming & adoring fans at Wembley Stadium. What song are you belting out? I’d be singing a modified version of “Spend Some Time” by Brand New Heavies.

On a deserted island, what do you bring besides your I-Phone & your Amex? Tons of magazines and pictures of my family.

What entity or person is most in need of a new PR campaign? Africa.

When will I see you next? Maybe in Dakar. Until then I’ll “see” you online.


Read him in Entrepreneur Magazine:

See the Tees:

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