Interview with Ghislain Bawolo, La Manne des Braves, Democratic Republic of Congo
Interview with Ghislain Bawolo, Manager and Owner of the company Manne des Braves, Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo
Africa-Marketplace: Hello Mr. Ghislain Bawolo, we are delighted to be able to welcome you as manager and owner of the company Manne des Braves, a customs and tax agency which assists several companies in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Africa in general. Could you please introduce your company, and the elements that set it apart from others in your industry?
Ghislain Bawolo: Thank you for this very relevant question. You know that the Democratic Republic of Congo is a very large country, having of course a variety of companies of all kinds, including customs agencies and companies that specialize in labor placement… Insofar we are concerned, we have taken the time to first analyze what existed and was being done in this country. So after our analysis, after observing the market, we realized that there were a lot of gaps that needed to be addressed in terms of customs clearance. As an expert, I felt the responsibility to create the company “Manne des Braves” (Manna of the Brave), with the express addition of the word “Braves”, to set the difference we wanted to make with other companies. We have made a difference in the sense that with our company, customs formalities have become easier than ever. It used to be that people would take 7 days, 8 days, 10 days to clear goods, but we are now able to do it in 1 day only. In 1 day, a customer or importer receives his goods. And, I can tell you this is quite exceptional.
We provide our customers with a facility called “emergency pickup”, where we can pick up any urgent goods anyone would have, even before payment of a single franc. And the goods are delivered to that very customer, at his premises or at home. We also manage disputes and any unexpected events related to our customers ourselves. In today’s world, we believe our customers shouldn’t need to face the challenges of handling these kind of situations by themselves. And obviously, we do whatever is necessary to ensure that our customers are not only protected, but also very satisfied.
In the context of imports / exports, whatever the route, we ensure the logistics so that the goods can reach their destination within a very short time. We also help our clients obtaining bank licenses and do a professional job so that the importer, as a customer, has no hassle with customs, tax or any other service. We work for companies like Gécamines, Katanga Plastique, Vitamousse, Union Africaine des Commerces…
[…] In the field of labor subcontracting, the Manne des Braves is also active. As a multiservice company, we are approved by an order of the Minister. We operate throughout the entire Republic for the placement of labor, whether national or expatriate. One must know and understand the positions very well, recruit the right people, train them, and ensure all the necessary administrative follow-up. We also make sure that the company that hired us does not have any conflicts in connection with any dismissal they would have to take with an hired resource.
I want to end the presentation of my company by adding a component that we have put in place in the field of construction and civil engineering. You know, the DRC is currently a large construction site in need of engineering services. We ensure the procurement of contracts to the public in good and due form, with respect of duties and taxes. As such, we are also a tax advisor. Our aim is to ensure no one falls into a situation that could be regrettable. In one day, within 24 hours, we create a company with all documents in good and due form according to the Congolese legislation on business creation. I think this is briefly what I can tell you about Manne des Braves, which is made up of experts, hardworking men and women who can do a really good job to whoever trusts us.
AM: What channels does your company use to generate new customers and revenue?
GB: Today in our country, the Internet is becoming an easier way to reach customers around the world. Access is sometimes a problem however. That is why we must use consultants like yourself, so that the voice of Manne des Braves is discovered and heard throughout the world, because I can tell you today in our country, among other things, we have electrical energy problems which do not facilitate business, even if you want to establish your company, but with our untimely cuts, it makes the work difficult.
AM: What obstacle do you most often encounter in your commercial approach? What would you need for your company to multiply its income, say by 10?
GB: Our first difficulty is visibility. Because in order to have international visibility, you have to go through the appropriate channels, which can attract customers to access [your services]. It is this appropriate visibility that some companies, like ours, do not have, and it is a significant challenge! If one can not be discovered in the international playing field, one can not be spoken to or be spoken about. Investors may be interested,… but if one wants to settle in Congo, import to Congo,… how can anyone know which customs agencies are going to facilitate the entry of any given merchandise? When one doesn’t have that visibility at an international level, it makes work very difficult, it makes it difficult to be discovered, to sell products and services, and even to be competitive.
AM: What do you think of a platform that could bring together all the information related to companies active in Africa in a single location?
GB: Of course. First, I think it’s a good initiative, and having a common platform requires effort. Unfortunately, in the competition, everyone tries to “combine efforts for themselves”, and it can be difficult for just one business to setup a common platform where we can, with one click, find such and such business and its competition. Maybe in time, the State would have been able to handle this matter, but once again, first we must bring in consultants like yourself so that we can be seen. Above all, it is visibility that we need. Once we are seen, we may attract interest of one or the other person, and when that person is interested in our services, by means of our contacts, we may be able to give him the required information. Or perhaps it can be read directly from the platform, and we can then be contacted for a job.
AM: I am delighted to hear this answer because it is in fact the very solution on which the company JPMB Ventures, which I represent today as Director, is preparing for 2022. It is a platform (Africa-Marketplace.com) on which any citizen in Africa or internationally can visit to identify, in a single click, various companies offering a plethora of services. One of the biggest challenges we see today in Africa, whether for international or domestic investors, is the difficulty in quickly identifying which service providers are relevant to one another. It is to address this need that our platform will be live as of 2022. Thank you very much for having accepted this interview.
GB: This is really a good thing. Thank you very much. All the pleasure has been mine. I wish you a lot of success in this brilliant initiative. May the Lord bless this work!
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