Maja Pawinska Sims 26 Feb 2018 // 4:13AM GMT
NAIROBI — Weber Shandwick has opened a wholly-owned office in Nairobi, Kenya, to meet growing demand from domestic and multinational companies for marketing and communications expertise in the region.
The agency already has an office in Johannesburg, and affiliates and partners across the continent. The Nairobi office, Weber Shandwick’s first wholly-owned operation outside South Africa, will act as hub for East Africa and help the firm execute pan-Africa programmes for clients.
Allan Kamau, previously head of Portland's Nairobi office, has been appointed as managing director of Weber Shandwick East Africa. He said the city was chosen because “Nairobi is the economic powerhouse of east Africa and increasingly the location of choice for multinational organisations looking to tap into regional opportunities.”
Weber Shandwick's EMEA and Asia Pacific chairman Tim Sutton said Africa’s consumer and business spending is estimated to be worth $4 trillion between now and 2025, and told the Holmes Report that the new office would help the agency service clients across the continent:
“Our particular focus has always been on multi-market pan-regional clients in sub-Saharan Africa, which covers over 50 countries. It’s not the easiest region – you can’t just say ‘we do Africa’. It has very diverse languages, markets, cultures and political systems, so it’s a challenging region for multi-national firms to understand.
“South Africa is still the de facto regional hub for the whole continent and, as with all networks in Africa, until now we’ve subsidised our business out of Joburg with a range of affiliate relationships. Nairobi is a crucial step for us, and it will make it easier for us to address the challenges faced by clients. It won’t necessarily be our last step, but it gives us the opportunity to dive deeper for clients.”
And he said the new office demonstrated Weber Shandwick’s commitment to Africa: “It’s the next step in a long-term project for the next 10-15 years as Africa develops its potential. It’s an exciting economy but it won’t happen overnight. There’s a fast-growing, more affluent middle class developing, lot of positive stories beyond famine and disease, a younger demographic that has hugely embraced mobile, and lots of energy."
Jill Hamilton, chief executive officer of Weber Shandwick Africa, added: “With over 75% of our work being pan-African, our new office will strengthen our ability to provide services seamlessly across the continent.”
Weber Shandwick works with clients in the region across sectors from technology and consumer marketing to healthcare and social impact. Over the last three years, the agency has garnered industry recognition for work implemented across the continent. Over the coming months, Weber Shandwick will focus on expanding its client base in the region and building its consulting team.