For the past 10 years, Sannae Sabbak has supported institutions, governments and personalities in sub-Saharan Africa to communicate better. In 2011, she founded Saba Communication, with the ambition of promoting the progress of the continent. Since then, the Moroccan entrepreneur has traveled the countries of sub-Saharan Africa to change the narrative on Africa and its institutions.
It is with great passion and optimism that Sannae Sabbak talks about Africa. Because for her, the African continent is full of many advances and progress … which are still too little valued by the Western media. Drawing on her international experience, particularly in the field of communication, she has been offering her expertise to institutions, governments and personalities on the continent for years to better succeed in their international communications and to tell the story of the continent differently.
Born in Morocco, she flew to France at the age of eight and did all her studies there. After a business degree from IDRAC Paris, she joined the Yahoo group in the « search marketing » department in 2009. In 2010, she joined the communication agency DDB France as a project manager. Coached by the co-president of the group at the time, she trained, but above all developed her long-standing passion, communication. In a few months, she was entrusted with the organization of two major events, including the 50th anniversary of the Aramco oil group and the 75th anniversary of the Caisse de dépôt et de gestion (CDG) in Morocco. An experience that allowed her to forge many relationships, and to take a particular interest in communication in Africa.
Having traveled to several countries in sub-Saharan Africa, she met many people and was amazed by the proliferation of initiatives in agriculture, education…. “I found this to be an injustice and I told myself that there was work to be done to promote these advances and these great projects,” she emphasizes. Not to mention that Africa was often associated with negative stereotype images, she notes. “At the time, we heard about the continent in a miserable way. When you read the few articles in the pan-African press, they talked about security, corruption, governance problems,”she notes.
Communicating better to change the narrative on Africa
After leaving DDB agency at the end of 2010, she decided to enter the communication sector and help African institutions, leaders and governments to communicate better. “It was a niche that nobody was interested in,” she says. In 2011, Saba Communication agency was created with the mission to convey the image of a continent in progress and development.
In a few years, she worked with several sub-regional institutions, governments of sub-Saharan Africa. She supported, in particular the Bank of Central African States (BEAC), to improve its image, by promoting, among other things, its new mode of governance. “We communicated on the bank’s collegial governance mode. People weren’t necessarily aware that the bank had reformed a lot. Today, the governor does not decide alone. Decisions must go through a collegial system of 6 people who represent their respective countries, ”she explains. The agency, based in Paris, also advises African personalities on communication and offers services in press relations, digital media buying and events. It has organized several regional events, including the 40th anniversary of the BEAC.
After all these experiences, Sannae is convinced that Africa still faces many challenges preventing it from better communicating about its projects, initiatives, reforms and improving its image. “The colonial history between France and Africa has a lot to do with it. I think it doesn’t suit some media to be objective, to say nice things about Africa. There is always this need to take away from Africa the influence it deserves, ”she explains.
Evolving in an environment that is still masculine and in a cultural environment different from her own, Sannae Sabbak has been able to impose herself through perseverance and professionalism. After spending a decade helping institutions and governments in French-speaking Africa to communicate better, the Moroccan entrepreneur aims to continue to make Africa shine on the international scene in order to break down clichés about the continent.
Danielle France Engolo