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Waking up to Africa: memories of the 2016 AMIN Conference in Nairobi

By Andy Thomson, managing director

Thinking Juice


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May 20, 2016 | 3 min read

When I was recently presented with the opportunity to visit Kenya, I initially had some reservations about how beneficial the trip could be for the agency. How wrong I was to be.

Andy Thomson of Thinking Juice.
Andy Thomson is managing director of Thinking Juice.

Andy Thomson of Thinking Juice.

Andy Thomson is managing director of Thinking Juice.

April 24th was the 2016 AMIN Worldwide Conference in Nairobi, hosting leaders of over 50 independent agencies across the globe. The conference was hosted by East African marketing agency Swivel in order to dispel myths and demonstrate the opportunities for business development in Africa today.

To refer to my visit to Africa as an “eye-opener” would be a huge understatement. Here are the headlines:

Mobile usage

Statistics tell us that Facebook has more than 100m active users in Africa and around 67 per cent of the population now have mobile phones. In Kenya specifically there is an encouraging increase of people accessing media through their mobiles, which is impacting the regular use of traditional media. Mobile usage has almost doubled despite the growth in population.


Viewing Africa as a single market is extremely unlikely to get results. The second largest continent in the world has 5 regions that contain 54 countries, speaks over 2000 languages and is home to over 3000 distinct ethnic groups. Key markets to make a note of are Algeria, Nigeria, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo.


Africa is a rich territory for those who take a considered approach. Challenges include huge variance in operations, regulations and currency, and cultural diversity within unique markets. When it comes to media, with high penetration levels and the highest level of accessibility, radio reigns king across Africa. There has also been a significant growth in regional TV stations. Needless to say, working with local experts who understand the complexities of the landscape is a must.


For directors who are yet to consider the potential of this territory, the advice is to jump in with both feet. By 2040 Africa is set to have 1 in 5 of the planet’s young people. Rates of urbanisation in Africa are the highest in the world, and we were ecstatic to learn that poverty levels of Africa’s population are expected to decline to 20% by 2020.

I will always be grateful to have had the opportunity to learn more about the beauty of Kenya, the generosity of its people and, of course, the potential for new business in Africa.

Andy Thomson is managing director of Thinking Juice.

Content by The Drum Network member:

Thinking Juice

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