TBWA\ Africa recently signed a partnership agreement with Tanzanian agency, Khanga-Rue Media, making it the third new affiliate agreement concluded by TBWA\ over the past few weeks. TBWA has also confirmed a new partnership with Berry Advertising in Ethiopia and concluded an agreement with Optimum Communications in DRC. These new partnerships are aimed at establishing relationships in two key East African countries and strengthening TBWA agency footprint in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Graham Cruikshanks, TBWA\’s Director of Africa Operations, says the three signings are the culmination of an extensive process to bring partner agencies with a strong cultural alignment to TBWA\ into the network. “Equally, as a network office, we need to ensure we provide the right kind of value through skills transfer, strategic tools and new business.”

This two-way, closely collaborative approach in developing the network is fundamental to TBWA\’s strategy in Africa. Cruikshanks says TBWA\’s vision is not to be the biggest network across the continent, but to be the best. “We do this by being highly selective and only partnering with strong, dynamic local agencies with impressive local track records.

“These agencies will be bolstered by aligning themselves with TBWA\, rather than becoming dependent on the network. We must be able to provide and extract value in equal measure and ensure that our partner agencies have a shared vision for building a powerful TBWA\ brand across the continent.”

While the relationship with Optimum DRC has been operational for some time, the finer points of the agreement were only officially concluded in September. “Optimum DRC is a full-service agency in Kinshasa, with an events business, PR & publishing expertise, digital capability and a media buying and placement arm.

“Earlier this year, Optimum DRC was awarded the Vodacom business and the telecoms company has since become one of its biggest accounts. Through its partnership with TBWA\ Africa, the agency was able to leverage expertise from the greater TBWA Group and provide specialist solutions to meet highly specific client requirements,” says Cruikshanks.

Berry Communications is a small, creative shop in Ethiopia, with a highly motivated team and a clear vision of becoming a significant local agency, working and growing with local clients.

Cruikshanks says in a market that is growing rapidly, Berry Communications’ strategy is exciting, especially in the face of exponential multinational business growth. “The agency’s desire to develop and grow with local brands, raising them to the stature of some of the global players, is truly inspiring. We saw massive synergies between its approach to business and what TBWA\ stands for, especially as a business that is constantly challenging convention.”

He says the Khanga-Rue team in Dar es Salaam is equally inspiring. “Khanga-Rue is a relatively new agency, which has found a niche for itself in delivering highly creative communication platforms for clients. It is also able to bring these to life through a high-value TV production capability. The team at Khanga-Rue has built up a strong and diverse client base, from FMCG companies to telecommunications businesses and NGOs.”

“It is always exciting to be able to grow our network with strong partners and we are thrilled to welcome Khanga-Rue, Berry and Optimum into the TBWA fold,” concludes Cruikshanks.