African brands must break down all barriers to trade for intra-African trade to flourish – McDan

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McDan
McDan

Chairman of McDan Group of Companies, Dr. Daniel Mckorley has indicated that the way forward for African brands for growth, sustainability, and robust capacity is to be able to break down all the barriers to trade to enable intra-African trade to flourish.

According to him, African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) is a beautiful platform that begins its maiden journey to break down those walls from the North to the South and from the East to the West of Africa.

McDan was addressing IAA “Africa Rising” Conference, 2022 where he indicated that African brands are like African families, they have always known how to do it for themselves.

“So, while they rely on others, their foundation is always strong. I believe in the future of brands in Africa. It is possible if we can work within the global and local economic challenges, knowing that they are part of our business evolution, understanding also, that, the challenge of change will continually come, and navigating the business brands through this is part of the purpose to success.”

He gave some lessons in Sustaining Brands; indicating that one has to learn and teach the team to be adaptable and responsive to the tiniest level of change, Strong personalities don’t just build a business rather SYSTEMS & STRUCTURES.

“You must let your systems, structures and good governance work and your business will succeed.”
“Lesson3: Discipline is not just a keyword but a watchword. And above all, the fourth industrial revolution is closer than we ever thought. We felt it through the pandemic, we feel it now and we are going to feel it tomorrow.”
He was speaking on the Theme “Building And Sustaining Brands Through Tough Economic Seasons.”

Below is his full address at the event:

Good morning, ladies, and gentlemen

I would like to stand on existing protocols and to say welcome to all of you traveling from far and near and to you being with us virtually, you are welcome to our beautiful nation of Ghana.
I would like to thank the conveners of this relevant and noteworthy event.

To the leadership of the IAA, Mr. Joel Nettey, Madam Norkor Duah, and the entire organizing partners across for inviting me and for giving us this platform to have a conversation about brands with purpose and for people.
My topic today, “Building and Sustaining brands through tough seasons, is a topic I have spent my last couple of years living the reality of:

So, my conversation with you this morning is going to be from experience I have gathered, the lessons I have learned and where I expect to see not just my business brands, but yours and the others across our continent.

When we hear the concept about “finding opportunity in adversity” it sounds straightforward. And of course, my life story as a street boy who hustled to get by daily bread and eventually founded a significant Ghanaian brand, makes it all possible. However, our biggest challenge yet, happened very recently: When I led my Group of Companies to launch two pioneer sizeable businesses at the peak of the Covid 19 pandemic.

Over the period I have asked myself many times if I was being brave or I was being completely foolish. Whilst I have never gotten my answer, I can say the journey continues to be worth it.

The first business was in the mining sector. I started a project to build what is arguably, the largest salt mine in West Africa; a natural resource that has the potential to transform an industry, our country, and our continent.
The second was the first private jet terminal and local fixed base operator in Ghana.

These businesses were large, they were in 2 growth sectors in the country, and they had to be driven with clear direction and purpose.

The projects required physical activities for engineering, construction machinery operation, whilst keeping teams safe and healthy.

Those were challenging times but yes, it is always said that “tough times don’t last but tough people do”. Well, in this case, I had to lead my team through impossibilities to make them tough people that got through the period of the pandemic.

What are the experiences we had? What are the lessons we learned?

The first experience we had was working with technical partners who were the best in the world but had to design, organize, and coordinate a whole project across borders.

The second experience was logistics. Getting any kind of item in our value chain (even including acquiring a plane) across borders.

As some of us may know, I started my first and flagship business in logistics, my group is a logistics business and I have been in logistics for close to thirty years.

Through these trying and testing seasons I had to find creative and innovative ways to drive logistics not only for my business but also for other businesses that continued to rely on us as trusted partners.
Lessons in Sustaining Brands

Lesson1: learn and teach your team to be adaptable and responsive to the tiniest level of change
Lesson 2: Strong personalities don’t just build a business rather SYSTEMS & STRUCTURES. You must let your systems, structures and good governance work and your business will succeed

Lesson3: Discipline is not just a keyword but a watchword

And above all, the fourth industrial revolution is closer than we ever thought. We felt it through the pandemic, we feel it now and we are going to feel it tomorrow.

When I look at African Brands, what is the way forward?

The way forward for African brands for growth, sustainability, and robust capacity is to be able to break down all the barriers to trade to enable intra-African trade to flourish.

And that is why I am so excited to partner with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) as they begin their maiden journey to break down those walls from the North to the South and from the East to the West of Africa.
We must remember, no one is going to do it for us. African brands are like African families, they have always known how to do it for themselves. So, while they rely on others, their foundation is always strong. I believe in the future of brands in Africa.

It is possible if we can work within the global and local economic challenges, knowing that they are part of our business evolution, understanding also, that, the challenge of change will continually come, and navigating the business brands through this is part of the purpose to success.

As I conclude, I would like to share this quote with us

“It’s not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the most responsive to change.” – Charles Darwin

I believe that African business brands with purpose will respond to change and will sustain its growth, and leave lasting legacies

Thank you very much ladies and gentlemen.

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