SLPP Detractors Contentious about President Koroma’s Initiative to Re-Brand Sierra Leone?

Written by Joseph Seidu Sherman, Editor-in-Chief, The New Rising Sun

Monday, 11 May 2009

Re-branding Sierra Leone is absolutely necessary in these days of bleeding edge technology and rapid change, people still enjoy going to places that follow a pattern of operation-it provides a sense of security.

Since the appointment of Rev. Kabbs Kanu as Minister Plenipotentiary to Sierra Leone Permanent Mission to the United Nations and Co-coordinator of the African Union Committee of 10. Whose sole functions are to deal with Press and Public Affairs, Commerce, Tourism and the Re-branding of Sierra Leone, a new government initiative designed to change the international perception and image of Sierra Leone. Numerous articles have been written by detractors questioning the President’s initiative terming it a “wasteful endeavor and putting the cart before the horse.”

The detractors cited “the inhumane settlements of Kroo Bay, Susan’s Bay and others languishing in filth, squalor, disease and degradation” whose problems should have been addressed instead of appointing the Rev Kabbs Kanu as the new Minister Plenipotentiary to Sierra Leone Permanent Mission-UN.



While I don’t want to question the sincerity of these detractors of their concern about the poor conditions of these settlements but it begs the question as to the motive behind these contentious statements when after 11 years of governance of Ex-President Kabbah a man perceived to work for the UN for 30 years, could not used his influence to have these settlement rehabilitated or create policies that will attract investors to our culture, tourism and investment opportunities under branding procedures.

The principles of re-branding Sierra Leone are important at this time. The benefits of a consistent and professional country branding can be observed in every region-they include the ability to win more investment business because the country image says the right things about taxation, labor skills, safety, the environment, political stability plus the chance to apply a ‘made in’ label because it will positively aid the sale of a product in overseas market.

The essence of re-branding Sierra Leone in these stiff global economies is of paramount importance in that countries that start with an unknown or poor reputation will be limited or marginalized. They cannot easily boost their commercial success. Consequently, they will often languish at the bottom of the ladder of influence. No voice or even worse they are subject to ridicule at every regional summit. Similarly, when the reputation is clear and positive such as with Germany (and that despite the two world wars), products made in that country carry an extra aura.

\Equally so, Sierra Leone has had its share of brutal war which is known throughout the world, so President Ernest B. Koroma’s initiative to re-brand Sierra Leone is not “putting the cart before the horse,” but a move in the right direction which has the power to change the world’s view about post-war Sierra Leone and how they choose to see the country in contrast to another.

More than any other country, America appears to be blessed with a huge range of positive brand attributes: one only have to observe its more successful exports brands to see the expressive power of these attributes. Consequently, American brands can simply hitch themselves onto this powerful national brand, and cultural and commercial trail is instantly blazed for them around the world. Little wonder that so many brands from other countries are keen to borrow American attributes.

The benefits and impacts of national and social responsibility and brand reputation cannot be separated from the impact they have on the human resources of a country. Similarly the marketing and community investment strategies have a similar influence on, the ability to recruit the best employees to carryout those strategies. So, it not a “wasteful of resources” for President Koroma to appoint Rev. Kabbs Kanu to champion the cause of re-branding Sierra Leone rather it is a prudent decision because he always stood for the development of Sierra Leone and portraying its positive image amidst ridicules and slanders.

Re-branding Sierra Leone is absolutely necessary in these days of bleeding edge technology and rapid change, people still enjoy going to places that follow a pattern of operation-it provides a sense of security. This is becoming more important as time goes on and our world, generally speaking, becomes increasingly unstable, therefore, successful branding effort delivers benefits that exceed any government or administration.


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