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Identity, Diversity, and Africa’s Markets by Vijay Mahajan

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While recognizing that markets across Africa have much in common, we cannot gloss over their differences. There is tremendous diversity of economic, political, and social conditions in the 53 nations that make up this huge continent.

Does Africa Exist?

When I bought a Celtel SIM card for my phone in the Nairobi airport, I complimented the representative on the beautiful advertising on the package featuring a pair of smiling models holding a cell phone. She made a face. When I asked why, she explained that these models were not Kenyan. They were Nigerian. She didn’t consider them African. Although Celtel’s slogan in its advertising was “The African Dream,” this dream means something different to people in different parts of Africa. To the woman ...

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