- With the acquisition, MARCO further strengthens its presence as the go-to agency across the African continent building from its stronghold in the Maghreb led by its office in Casablanca which was founded 8 years ago.
- Africa Communications Media Group (ACG) is headquartered in Johannesburg (South Africa), with additional offices in Abidjan (Ivory Coast) and Nairobi (Kenya) as well as long-standing partners in Kigali (Rwanda), Harare (Zimbabwe) and Lagos (Nigeria) and additional affiliated offices in 40+ additional countries across the African continent.
- MARCO invests in a growing continental economy with Botswana seeing real economic growth of 8.7% in 2021, followed by Côte d’Ivoire, Rwanda and the Gambia whose GDP has grown by over 6% and Kenya at 4.7%, while key European economies in Europe such as Germany are only expected to grow by 2.1% and the EU`s forecasted growth is estimated at 4.8% in 2021 dropping to 4.5% in 2022.
MARCO, the most awarded agency in the last decade, specialised in brand building and reputation management, announces today that it is expanding its communication capabilities across the African continent, through the acquisition of a majority stake in Africa Communications Media Group (ACG). This stems from a strong leadership base in the Maghreb region, which has seen the agency successfully support prolific African clients as well as global client’s communication needs in the MENA region from its office in Casablanca, Morocco. In addition, MARCO services well over 100 clients from its now 16 owned offices globally.
For ten years, Africa Communications Media Group (ACG) has been the leading go-to communications consultancy for communication support across sub-Saharan Africa. It is also the largest African-owned agency handling communications solutions for global clients across the entire continent. Both MARCO and Africa Communications Media Group (ACG) have developed over several years a solid network of affiliated and in-country partners covering all parts of Africa. Africa Communications Media Group (ACG) is headquartered in Johannesburg. In addition, the African PR powerhouse has additional owned offices in Côte d’Ivoire supporting the Francophone market, together with MARCO`s operations in Casablanca, Morocco. Furthermore, Africa Communications Media Group (ACG) has a third office in Nairobi, Kenya that serves as the regional head office for East Africa. MARCO’s new sub-Saharan owned agency has excelled in providing tailor-made communication solutions to prestigious clients such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Mercedes Benz, Bloomberg and Ethiopian Airlines.
MARCO strongly believes that Africa is a continent on the move with a rich tapestry of cultures, languages, and economies. The acquisition facilitates greater expansion to provide communications support to clients across the African continent. The top five economies in sub-Saharan Africa with the highest GDP – Nigeria ($514 BN), South Africa ($330 BN). Kenya ($106 BN), Ethiopia ($100 BN) and Ghana ($74 BN) offer huge potential for expansion within the communications sector. Africa is often associated with mineral or fossil fuel production, but new sectors are rapidly emerging. Media and marketing communications were valued at over 10 billion in 2019. The tourism sector is also set to blossom with projections of 34.8% growth in 2022 that will fuel a strong demand to promote African countries as top tourist destinations such as Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, and Mozambique. For eight years, MARCO has provided world-class communications support to high profile clients in the Maghreb Region of Africa such as the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) and the European Investment Bank (EIB). MARCO has also led the international outreach for COP22 held in Marrakesh in 2016 and supported the government of Morocco with a five-year global support programme to encourage investment.
Didier Lagae, Founder and CEO of MARCO said: “MARCO has been partnering with Africa Communications Media Group (ACG) for many years now. I have had the immense pleasure of working alongside Mimi Kalinda, and the rest of her team, in a variety of campaigns especially for institutional clients related to the European Union. Since we handled all the international communications and outreach for the COP22 held in Marrakesh, Morocco in 2016, MARCO has been the go-to communication support agency for key institutions and corporations operating on the African continent.”
“MARCO’s award-winning work for institutions, such as Invest in Morocco, and private corporations like Bombardier and Intelcia have all been led from our operations centre in Casablanca, Morocco. Eight years of a strong base in Morocco has consolidated MARCO’s footprint, especially in the Maghreb region with an ever-growing number of clients using our expertise, the latest addition being the European Investment Bank (EIB).”
“We feel passionate about the opportunities for growth in key markets in Africa and we believe strongly in the African continent as a whole. We anticipated that the moment was right for MARCO to expand its current leadership expertise to sub-Saharan Africa. The acquisition of ACG with their direct presence in three key markets plus an indirect presence in another 40 delivers the expansion that we were looking for. International and locally based clients now have a clear partner for Africa and that partner is MARCO.”
Africa Communications Media Group (ACG) is spearheaded by Founder and CEO Mimi Kalinda who hails from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda, while being raised in South Africa, London and Brussels. Mimi knows Africa throughout and she will lead the communications operations in supporting MARCO group clients in the sub-Saharan market. Mimi`s unparalleled experience in pan-African business development efforts comes with a long list of accolades. Mimi Kalinda was the first ever black African woman to become a VJ on MTV in London in 2000. Mimi was also part of the African Union`s campaign against Ebola with fundraising of over $51 million.
Linda Weaver, Chief Operations Officer (COO) and second in command at Africa Communications Media Group (ACG) has an impressive career that spans over 30 years. Focused on reputation management, strategic and crisis communications, Linda has delivered award-winning campaigns for Sandton City, one of the most iconic shopping centres in Africa and Isuzu, the most important producer of trucks in Africa. Linda who previously headed the African operation for Weber Shandwick has also provided strategic counsel to pan African clients such as Unilever and she led the country brand work for Brand South Africa.
Mimi will work directly with Didier on country branding while Linda Weaver will report on operations to Samira Sitail, one of the most well-known faces in Morocco’s media landscape. Samira joined MARCO last year heading its operations in the Maghreb region. Samira Sitaïl, who holds a double master’s from Sorbonne University, has an unparalleled 30 years of experience. She started her career as the anchor-woman of TV news for the leading Moroccan TV station 2M. She developed her career at 2M to become the Deputy CEO of the media group, encompassing TV, radio, and online operations. Samira was also the Global Head of Communications of the Steering Committee for COP 22, dubbed the COP of Africa, which took place in Marrakesh in 2016.
Developing and implementing complete, culturally attuned and effective communications for a complex continent is what Africa Communications Media Group (ACG) does best. Country brand building is one of the main strengths that both MARCO and Africa Communications Group (ACG) share. MARCO has worked successfully on country brand building for governmental agencies on three continents, including in Colombia, Mexico, Morocco and Portugal while Africa Communications Media Group (ACG) has been instrumental in promoting Ethiopia and Rwanda, often heralded as two of Africa’s economic success stories.
Mimi Kalinda, Founder and CEO of Africa Communications Media Group (ACG) said: “Uniting both MARCO and Africa Communications Media Group (MARCO Africa – ACG), we are now in a position to implement communication support to both sub-Saharan Africa and the Maghreb region. In addition, MARCO has a global outreach through its additional 16 offices worldwide and its affiliated presence in 100 markets outside of Africa. Africa Communications Group (ACG), being part of the MARCO family, translates into real opportunities for our clients to not only build their reputations and brands in Africa but also well beyond the continent’s frontiers.”
“Developing a presence and a reputation in Europe, most notably in Brussels, Paris and London, as well as in Washington D.C. and New York, are now available and accessible to our clients. I am also very pleased to combine my personal expertise in powerful country brand building with Didier’s unmatched experience and knowledge as well-articulated in his book “A Country Brand, a Branded Country”.
MARCO continues to expand its communication operations with 16 offices and almost 200 employees and will soon open an office in London. The acquisition of Africa Communications Media Group (ACG) will further create more employment mobility opportunities and cultural exchanges for all employees who can experience working in any of the 16 offices. It is a new era for reputation management and brand building as MARCO and Africa Communications Media Group (MARCO Africa – ACG) now join forces to offer communications support to their clients globally.