ECCO Global PR Network Reputation Matters is research partner
17 May 2024

New Report Unveils Vital Role of Ethics in Shaping Africa’s PR Landscape

A Global PR Network with new research

ECCO Gobal PR Network is proud to present brilliant new work from it’s member Reputation Matters out of South Africa. This is the fifth year that Reputation Matters has been the research partner to conduct the Ethics and PR Landscape survey in Africa.

The Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) Africa has published its third annual study, the second in its partnership with the African Public Relations Association (APRA), examining the state of PR and communications practice and ethics in Africa. This collaborative effort underscores PRCA Africa and APRA’s commitment to advancing ethical standards and industry excellence across the African continent.

The 2024 research marks a significant milestone with the highest number of responses to date, totalling 365 participants from various African countries. Among the key findings, South Africa emerged as the leading contributor with 45% of responses, followed by Zambia (19%), Nigeria (15%), and Ghana (5%). The study provides unprecedented insights into industry trends, challenges, and opportunities.

The survey encompassed professionals from diverse industries, with Media and Marketing comprising the largest segment (35%), followed by ‘other’ industries (18%), including communication, law, events, PR, and the energy sector.

One of the highlights of the research is the exploration of ethics and reputation management within the PR industry. The findings underscore the critical role of ethical conduct at both individual and organisational levels, with integrity and values emerging as primary drivers of ethical behaviour.

Other key findings of the 2024 PRCA Africa APRA Report

  • Smaller teams of ‘2-5 individuals’ dedicated to PR are prevalent (32%), a significant proportion (14%) of larger organisations have between ’11 -25 people’ employed for PR roles.
  • Despite progress, the majority of respondents (45%) feel that ‘the role of PR and Communications is not appreciated at board level,’ highlighting the need for continued efforts to elevate PR’s influence in organisational decision-making.
  • Respondents express varied levels of concern regarding the potential risks or limitations of heavily relying on Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies in PR and communications, emphasizing the need for proactive management of AI-related challenges.
    • Amidst challenges such as corruption and governance issues, respondents advocate for proactive engagement, ethical leadership, and strategic communication to navigate the complexities of reputation management in Africa.

Regine le Roux, Founder and Managing Director of Reputation Matters shares, “This is the fifth year that Reputation Matters has been the research partner to conduct the Ethics and PR Landscape survey in Africa.

“Every person, entity and country has a reputation that is built through consistent behaviour, which is driven by values. Unlike reputation, ethics are binary; one is either ethical or not. You can’t be ‘a little bit’ ethical; there’s no middle ground. However, questionable ethics invariably tarnish one’s reputation. Which in turn impacts whether people want to be associated with, and conduct business, with you.”

Chanell Kemp, Reputation Specialist at Reputation Matters and lead researcher on the project, adds “This year saw the highest number of responses to date. The online survey was distributed among Communication and PR professionals across the continent. The results underscore a growing emphasis on ethics within the PR profession and the important role that PR professionals play in communicating ethics. Notably, the 2024 responses revealed an increase in reported cases of unethical behaviour compared to 2023. This trend signals a growing intolerance toward unethical conduct, with individuals increasingly willing to speak out. Recognising that in the long term, ethical businesses will contribute to an ethical economy, country and continent.”

To mark the launch of the research findings, PRCA Africa and APRA invite industry professionals to join a live panel discussion hosted by the Ethics and Practices Network. Moderated by Katy Katopodis, an independent member of the Network, the panel will also feature Dustin Chick, Network Chair, and Bridget von Holdt, Network Board Member. The Network will be joined by Regine le Roux, Founder and Managing Director of Reputation Matters and Arik Karani, Lead Communications Specialist (Community Resilience & Sustainability) at Wikimedia Foundation, and Current President of the Public Relations Society of Kenya. Together, they will explore the implications of the research findings, discuss industry advancements, and outline the path forward.

For more information about the PRCA Africa Ethics and Practices Network, visit here.

The report is available in English and French and can be downloaded here (scroll to the bottom of the page).

Access to the ECCO Global Communications Network is simple. Contact information for a specific geography is available on the agency overview pages accessed here or contact the ECCO Global Communications office in London at +44 7899941744 or via email