French ad firm to shake up the competition in Kenya

French advertising group Havas Media International is setting up shop in Kenya through a joint venture with a local firm, and is on track to give the country’s industry leader, Scangroup, some tough competition, Business Daily Africa has reported.

Havas has a 60 percent stake in Havas Media Kenya, while its local partner, Corporate Talk Group, owns the remainder.

“The venture would target the growing list of multi-nationals that have set shop in Kenya, which the Paris listed firm has been serving including Unilever, Total, MTN and Orange — the owner of Telkom Kenya,” the report explained. “This will set off a battle for control of these big ticket clients that has been the focus of Scangroup, which recently bought its rival Ogilvy East Africa to boost its stranglehold of the region’s media buying and advertising scene.”

Havas isn’t expected to stop with Kenya; the agency plans to open offices in 20 African countries by 2013, and could announce a similar partnership with a Nigerian company in the next 10 to 15 days, Jorge Irizar, CEO of Havas Media International, told Bloomberg.

In the past two years, it has begun operating in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Senegal, while its Gabon office may open this month.

The African market has seen a growth in investment from local and multinational investors in recent years, as an increase in marketing spend in the region is causing marketers to push harder to maintain their market shares, according to Capital Business.

Image: Havas locations in Africa, via Havas.com

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