October 26th, 2010
04:10 PM GMT
I was sitting staring out the big windows in my 15th floor office, looking at the Johannesburg skyline and admiring the bursts of purple Jacaranda trees dotting the cityscape when my phone rang.
It was Chris Karanja, who is corporate communications manager from Kenya Airways. He phoned to point out that one of the recent interviewees on Marketplace Africa misrepresented the airline industry in Africa. The guest said that you couldn’t fly across Africa from west to east or east to west and that if you wanted to travel across Africa you would have to fly to Europe and back.
Now, this was a real problem some time ago but he says Kenya Airways now operates many flights across the continent. Besides his commercial interest in pointing out the guest’s error, he also stressed that it made Africa seem backward.
Now, the perception that Africa is "backward" is something that irritates and worries many businesspeople on the continent, particularly those working for world-class companies or in highly developed industries.
So my questions are – what are the biggest misperceptions about Africa? Are Africans too sensitive about what people think of them and the state of Africa?
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