Rwanda: New initiative to promote Kigali city as a brand

Kigali’s image and branding could be boosted in coming months following the inception of a campaign, “I am Kigali,” which will highlight the city’s innovation, cultural evolution and diversification.

The campaign is courtesy of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and Impact Hub Kigali, a Kigali-based co-working space.

IOM works internationally to promote the positive benefits of migration for people and societies.

The campaign’s components include highlighting the positive impact of population growth, migration and diversity of culture in Rwanda through art, exhibitions, movie screenings and panel discussions, among other ways.

The campaign is also utilising existing platforms and events such as the monthly poetry session organised by Spoken Word Rwanda.

The campaign curators say the city’s rapid change over the recent years into a cosmopolitan city provides an ideal opportunity to promote it as an emerging capital.

Jon Stever, the co-founder of the Impact Hub Kigali, said the campaign would bring the city’s innovativeness to the international spotlight.

“Kigali is changing rapidly, and this campaign is an opportunity to reflect on this change and to celebrate the innovation and cosmopolitanism that are emerging features of Rwanda’s capital,” Stever said.

IOM is utilising the opportunity to spread a positive message about migration in Rwanda and globally.

“IOM wants to challenge the anti-migrant stereotypes that often dominate the global public debate. The “I am Kigali” campaign will provide a platform for people from all walks of life to share their experience and stories to shed light on what it means to live in an accepting cosmopolitan society,” Jay Mullins, from IOM, said.

Ongoing efforts

City branding and promotion has been ongoing in recent years as the country seeks to become a regional hub for logistics, conferences and technology.

This has seen the city authorities and the government take part in several local, regional and international initiatives to boost its image.

Among the initiatives have been spearheading the Smart Cities agenda under the Smart Africa Initiative which has seen the city become internationally renowned as a leader in technology.

Smart Cities initiative encompasses multiple aspects including internet access in all public places and transport means, cashless payments in public transport, among others.

The city’s image has also received a boost from cleanliness, order and security with various international indexes naming it as one of Africa’s cleanest and safest cities.

In a past interview, one of City of Kigali former advisors, Sehoon Oh, the former mayor of South Korean capital Seoul, said brand strategy would have a synergy effect for economic development.

“Brand strategy is very important for now because if the government can achieve the ambitions outlined in the master plan, branding will have a synergy effect for economic development. I think it is very important because, as the government pursues success in ICT and other development, it is important to create the right perception about a country and a city,” Sehoon said.

Communication and product promotion experts say that city branding can be achieved by highlighting and celebrating multiple positive aspects of the capital which in turn earns them global recognition.

Sehoon said currently, platforms such as social media would play a huge role in raising the city’s profile.

Source: The New Times

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