Weber Shandwick opens Kenya office, instead of partnering with a local PR agency

Instead of partnering with or buying a stake in an existing local PR and communications agency, Weber Shandwick has decided to go it alone by opening its own office in Nairobi, Kenya, to individually serve its client base.

“This new presence builds on the firm’s existing commitment to African markets through its headquarters in Johannesburg, and its affiliates and partners on the continent. The office will act as hub for East Africa and allow the firm to execute pan-Africa client programs that reach across the region,” said the firm in a statement.

Allan Kamau, formerly head of Portland Communication, joins the firm and will lead its operations in Kenya and the East Africa region. Previously Kamau was head of Portland Communication’s Nairobi office.

According to the statement, Weber Shandwick “will support public and private sector organizations looking to establish a footprint or expand their presence on the continent and act as an advisor on complex cross border market and international development issues.”

Africa’s growing economy is one of the most significant and energizing trends of our time. The continent’s consumer and business spending is estimated to be worth $4 trillion between now and 2025, and more than 50 million new middle and upper class households will emerge in the next decade,” said Tim Sutton, chairman, EMEA and Asia Pacific, Weber Shandwick. “A global firm such as Weber Shandwick can help clients navigate – and succeed – in such a rapidly transforming market.”

Jill Hamilton, Weber Shandwick’s Africa CEO, added: “With over 75 percent of our work being pan-African, our new office will strengthen our ability to provide world class services seamlessly across the continent. With growing demand from our clients, our new operation will support clients focused on this fast-growing sub-region.”

Weber Shandwick’s client base in spans through a range of sectors – from technology and consumer marketing, to healthcare and CSR.

In the coming months, Weber Shandwick plans to focus on further expanding its client base in the region and building its consulting team.

Nairobi is the economic powerhouse of east Africa and increasingly the location of choice for multinational organizations looking to tap into regional opportunities,” Kamau said. “With its new capabilities in East Africa, Weber Shandwick is well placed to serve these companies.”

Previously, Weber Shandwick’s Africa headquarters in South Africa had to identify local agencies to work with while handling some of its clients. Among these was Ericsson which the firm handled together with Gina Din Group and later Tell-Em PR in Kenya.

Unlike Weber Shandwick, another South Africa-based agency, Burson Masteller opted to acquire a stake in Engage PR instead of setting up a local office. Through such an arrangement, the local firm acts on behalf of the foreign-based partner, representing clients who have been seconded and catering to their PR and communications needs when they have local events.

Weber Shandwick currently has operations in 78 cities with a network extending to 129 cities around the world, deploys expertise across sectors and specialty areas, including consumer marketing, corporate reputation, healthcare, technology, public affairs, financial services, employee engagement, social impact, financial communications and crisis management.

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