AfricaThe Multi-Industry business trend forecasters, Biz Trends, predicts that 2014 will be the year of the African Renaissance. Citing the term introduced by Cheik Anta Diop, author Terry Levin illustrates Africa as a major trendsetter for the New Year. Sounds overly generalized? We’re curious as to your thoughts on her speculation.

First, Levin says ‘African fashion will come out of the closet.”

“Although to many the latest ‘fashion trends’ themselves don’t seem to be of much consequence, throughout history fashion has acted as a mirror to global zeitgeist and can be used by savvy trend spotters as an indicator of broader trends. If we didn’t heed the signs that African style was on its way up when Louis Vuitton copied Masai check in 2012, we now have another chance. Stylists have been attempting to convince us that African motifs are on trend for years, but this is the year that it will really stick. What else is the trend for miss-matched colours and motifs than a happy meeting of Lesotho blankets, Sheshwe print and the symbols of Malian mudcloth?”  To that end, Levin suggests we can anticipate an increase in African designers and fabrics in haute couture.

The next prediction involves a “higher presence of joyous Afrocentric multimedia and cross disciplinary co-labs,” via the increase of Afrocentric multimedia content. The exposure to Afro-culture and “the magnificent history and richness of our continent in unbridled truth will continue to spawn more new high profile African authors, musicians, filmmakers and global fashion, dance and style trends.”

With the recent mobile and overall technological advances across the continent, we can also anticipate the emergence of Afro-Apps this year.  “It’s all been a bit quaint, the raving on about mobile penetration in Africa, when only a miniscule percentage of these are smart. Add to this hit and miss infrastructural support from purveyors of broadband and what have you and you can see the race for mobile penetration in Africa has barely begun.”

Levin envisions Smart Agriculture on the horizon as “December 2013 saw the governments of South Africa and the Netherlands in collaboration with partners such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Bank and the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), host the 3rd Global Conference to discuss the food, nutrition security and climate change.” The hope is for key figures in the agriculture arena to collaborate and develop new methods to create sustainable, healthy agricultural & farm systems.

Lastly, on the marketing front, Biz Trends says, “No matter how accomplished Africa’s culture and craftsmanship, to compete will require some savvy marketing and merchandising strategies. Skills like branding, positioning and business acumen are vital… to fully realize the economic value of our innate advantages in many areas.” In other words, entrepreneurs can continue to make some lucrative moves in 2014.

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