“Nenda” means “go” in Swahili, and go, go, go is exactly what the Flow Communications team did when conceptualising a name, corporate identity and website for what would become AfricaNenda, a new start-up that facilitates financial inclusion across the continent.
From the get-go, almost all of Flow’s studios – from design and development to project management and content – pitched in to create a brand and bring its service offering to life.
Working closely with the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors to birth a visionary new, independent, Africa-led organisation to accelerate the growth of instant and inclusive payment systems for all Africans was an intensive and fascinating process, says Flow head of project management Gail Cameron.
“We created the name, brand and corporate identity (CI), did the design and development of the website, and edited the supplied content for the site. It was basically a 360-degree project for us,” she says.
Project manager Ros Caboz explains that the extensive CI process included brainstorming a new name for the organisation (its original moniker had been the far less catchy African Payment Acceleration Network), logo and payoff line, and then designing letterheads, infographics, email signatures, digital backgrounds – the works.
Then came the website. Says Gail, “The website design is slightly unconventional and innovative – we came up with an identity that is unique to AfricaNenda. And the content management system we used is also an innovative and highly efficient tool.”
This project once again showcased Flow’s well-honed capability to work with international partners in creating global products (AfricaNenda is headquartered in Kenya), and was unusual in that the branding and the website were set up before the business had even begun operations, says Gail.
Flow has also undertaken work for other international clients in recent months, such as the Aig-Imoukhuede Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the German development cooperation agency (GIZ) and German Information Centre Africa (GIC), as well as the Carbon Trust, Mainlevel, the Swedish Workplace Programme and Flexability. The AfricaNenda website and CI project marks the latest such cross-border partnership for Flow.
As AfricaNenda looks forward to its official launch in October 2021, next up for Flow on this project is translating the content on the website into African French and Arabic to serve a broader African market needing access to digital financial products and services.
“It was really cool working with the excellent and clever Rockefeller team, who are all highly skilled at what they do,” reflects Gail. “And it was really meaningful work for us, as AfricaNenda is all about working with partners to help facilitate and build capacity in-country to give people access to low-cost instant payments, especially among the poor and unbanked. It was a really lovely collaboration between us and the client.”
Ros adds, “It was fabulous to be part of the birth of a new African company offering support for corporates and governments to help facilitate digital banking services. We loved developing this company and concept from scratch with a big international team. It was a very rewarding project to work on.”
Segilola Adeola, a senior adviser on the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors’ sponsored projects and funds team, describes the AfricaNenda project as “a very interesting process, with everyone being very involved and giving their inputs. Flow has been highly responsive, even when we had to get the logo and CI redone at 48 hours’ notice.”
She adds: “Coming up with the name was quite a challenge, as there were a lot of cooks in the kitchen and we had to get a variety of stakeholders from all over Africa and the United States to agree to the name. But it was made easier when Flow presented the thinking behind each proposed name, giving us an informed background and the meaning behind each proposal.”
People could vote for their favourite option via a Google poll, removing any “groupthink” pressure and enabling each person to reach their own decision individually, she says – once again harnessing the power of technology to bring together thinking from a cross-section of intra- and inter-continental stakeholders.
“Once we obtained buy-in for AfricaNenda … we could take ownership of #IAmAfricaNenda. It was no longer just a name; it now has an etymology.”
Segilola says the team is looking forward to the October launch of AfricaNenda, and to rolling out a pan-African service to accelerate inclusive payment systems and reduce poverty across the continent.