My Fifty Years Of Learning And Doing Business
Looking back at the past fifty-five years, I cannot say that there was a “start” and “finish line” in my learning and doing business journey. As is often stated, life itself is a continuous learning process.
In my case, I embarked on several entrepreneurial and industrial adventures in the early 1970s, including in the transportation, bakery, import-export trading and tobacco growing, processing and manufacturing sectors.
Over the last fifty years and following a series of failures and experiments, my businesses have grown into a Pan African and international family conglomerate active in such sectors as construction, energy resources, mining, farming and cattle breeding, food processing, air cargo, real estate, hotels, malls and supermarkets, etc.
As I now retire, the various businesses I created operate and serve mostly across Sub-Saharan Africa, with a footprint in the East African Community (EAC), Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).
These various companies and operations are in Angola, Burundi, DR Congo, Nigeria, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, but also beyond Africa, in North and South America, Europe and the Middle East.
Wherever we have activities, we strive to be a key stakeholder in wealth-creation for host countries through agro-production, manufacturing, local sales and exports, thus earning foreign currency and job-creation. Further, we stimulate secondary African businesses and workers such as transporters, builders, workers of all sorts, farmers, as well as a multitude of various corporate or individual service providers.
The most memorable moment of my life of learning and doing business across Sub-Saharan Africa, was learning by mistakes, working with families, communities and governments in countries and regions in which I did business. When I took the first step, I was driven by getting out of poverty and building up something which will not only help me and my family, but also the communities around me. The teams I worked with, the communities and local authorities also greatly facilitated this journey, for which I am most thankful. This work turned me into a truly African citizen – as opposed to just the country of my birth.
To the families, communities, employees and government officials that I had the opportunity to serve, special thank you for going beyond the call of duty to make our partnerships happen and deliver! I could not have done it without you!