Who is Who

Pumela Salela

Pumela Salela is a Global Business Facilitator, dedicated to linking in-country investment opportunities across Africa with investors worldwide through Invest Global.

Pumela served as the Country Head for the United Kingdom under Brand South Africa, the custodian of the South Africa Country Brand, based in London for eight years. In this role, she marketed South Africa in the UK, attracted foreign direct investment (FDI) into South Africa, mobilized Global South Africans (GSA) abroad, and managed South Africa's brand reputation. Her exceptional contributions have earned her numerous awards in Leadership, Business, Politics, and Economic Development.

Her previous experience includes working for prestigious organizations such as The World Bank in Washington DC, The Rockefeller Foundation in New York, The Department of Economic Development in South Africa, Trade & Investment South Africa, Unilever, SABC, and Media 24 in South Africa.

Pumela's philanthropic efforts are channeled through her foundation, which focuses on Education, Volunteerism, Leadership, and Social Impact.

Q&A with Pumela Salela on Branding Africa – One Country at a Time

Africa's rich diversity and cultural heritage present unique opportunities for nation branding. What drives the vision to brand Africa, and how are the challenges and opportunities of different countries addressed? We caught up with Pumela Salela, who shares her vision for a strong (brand) Africa - one country at a time.

Can you elaborate on your vision to 'brand Africa one African country at a time'? What inspired this initiative?

My vision to 'brand Africa one African country at a time' is driven by a deep desire to showcase the rich diversity, potential, and unique cultural heritage of each African nation. By branding each country individually, we can highlight their unique strengths and contributions to the global community. One of the biggest misconceptions is that Africa is a monolithic entity plagued by poverty and conflict. I want the world to see Africa as a vibrant, dynamic region with thriving economies, rich cultures, and innovative solutions to global challenges.

You’ve travelled to 38 African countries with a goal to visit all of them. How has this extensive travel influenced your perspective on business opportunities and challenges across the continent?

Traveling across Africa has been incredibly eye-opening. Each country has its unique opportunities and challenges, and understanding these nuances is crucial for effective investment. For instance, the tech boom in Kenya presents different opportunities compared to the mining sector in Southern Africa. This extensive travel has also reinforced my belief in the potential of intra-African trade and the importance of building robust regional networks to support economic growth.

With your experience working in prestigious organizations like The World Bank and The Rockefeller Foundation, how have these roles shaped your approach to fostering economic development and investment in Africa?

Working with The World Bank and The Rockefeller Foundation gave me a deep understanding of global economic trends and the importance of strategic, impactful investments. These roles taught me the value of collaboration between public and private sectors and the necessity of sustainable practices. I've carried these lessons into my work across Africa, always looking for ways to create partnerships that not only bring in investment but also drive long-term, inclusive growth.

How do you plan to address the diverse challenges and opportunities across different African countries in your branding efforts?

We recognize that each African country faces its own set of challenges and opportunities. Our approach is tailored to each nation's specific context, focusing on collaborative engagement with local stakeholders to identify and amplify their unique selling points. We aim to create a cohesive narrative that resonates both locally and globally, leveraging each country's distinct advantages.

What are the key elements or pillars of your branding strategy for African countries?

Our branding strategy is built on several key pillars: cultural heritage, economic potential, innovation, and tourism. We emphasize the richness of local cultures, the dynamic business environments, innovative advancements, and the breathtaking tourism opportunities that each country offers. These pillars help craft a comprehensive and appealing image of each nation.

How do you measure the success of your branding initiatives? What metrics or indicators are you focusing on?

Success is measured through a combination of qualitative and quantitative metrics. These include increased tourism numbers, higher levels of foreign direct investment, improved perceptions in international media, and positive feedback from local communities. We also monitor social media engagement and other digital metrics to gauge the reach and impact of our campaigns.

As an international keynote speaker and thought leader, what key messages do you aim to convey to your audiences about the future of trade, investment, and economic development in Africa?

When I speak to audiences around the world, I emphasize the vast potential of Africa and the need for a nuanced understanding of its diverse markets. I talk about the importance of sustainable and inclusive growth, encouraging investors to look beyond short-term gains and consider the long-term impacts of their investments. I also highlight the role of innovation and technology in driving development and the critical importance of fostering local talent and leadership. Ultimately, my message is one of optimism and opportunity – Africa is on the rise, and there are countless ways to be part of its exciting future.

Keynote Speaker & Facilitator

As a keynote speaker, Pumela Salela has had the privilege of leaving an indelible mark on audiences across the globe. With a commanding presence and a talent for eloquence, she possesses a unique ability to captivate and inspire listeners. Her speeches are characterized by deep insights, incisive analysis, and a passion for social and economic transformation. Whether addressing global business leaders, government officials, or grassroots activists, she strives to resonate with clarity and vision, igniting a sense of purpose and urgency in her audiences.

The impact of her words positions her as a trusted voice in the realms of international diplomacy, trade, investment, entrepreneurship, leadership, and social justice. Her compelling and dynamic speaking style has earned her recognition as a thought leader and advocate for positive change.

Pumela LIVE

Consulting & Advocacy

Investment Facilitator
Drawing from her experience as Deputy Director for Investment Promotion at Trade and Investment South Africa (TISA), Pumela mastered the art of attracting investors, negotiating deals, and maintaining lasting relationships. Progressing through government roles, including Director for Policy Making and Chief Director for Economic Development, she managed diverse stakeholders, and positioned South Africa as a globally competitive nation.

Branding Services
Pumela brings a wealth of experience as a former lecturer in Branding at Vega the School of Branding and as the Head of Branding for an international market. Her expertise extends to Country Branding, a meticulous process where she assists nations in refining their value propositions for global competitiveness.

Strategic Advisory Services
With a proven track record in leadership and a deep understanding of diverse industries, Pumela's skills are rooted in navigating complex business landscapes and driving sustainable growth. Her ability to synthesize information, make informed decisions, and offer astute guidance sets her apart as an invaluable asset in the boardroom. Moreover, her dedication to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) seamlessly aligns with the evolving dynamics of corporate governance.

Connect with Pumela

You have a question about Pumela or would like to send her a message through TPBO? Please use this contact form.

Pumela is part of our Who is Who of Place Brand Impact Makers. You' like to get involved, perhaps with your own professional profile? Get in touch!