Founder of Promasidor Group, Robert Rose, has said that Nigeria is the company's biggest market in Africa with untapped potentials and avenues for development. Promasidor, founded in 1979 in Zaire (now Congo Democratic Republic), is currently present in 26 African countries.
Mr Rose, who was on a visit to Nigeria recently spoke on the company's visions, competitions and its growth process in Africa.
For him, Nigeria's large population creates room for immense opportunities. "Our biggest market is Nigeria because you have more people than anywhere," he said. "At the moment, we sell to about 600 million people in Africa." However, he identified several factors which hamper growth in Nigeria adding that things have to be done better. "There is huge unemployment, but we have huge resources, and we can all do it better. We've all got to play a part in doing it. I believe there are huge opportunities but there will be even bigger opportunities if we all work at doing things. Basic education needs to be put right, basic medical services need to be put right. It should be put right, it can be put right, we've just got to hold everybody to account to start doing it better. We've got the resources to do it better. No more excuses, let's start doing it better." Having been in Africa since 1957, he sees the development of Africa as a personal objective. "Africa is two percent of the world's GDP and it should be 25 percent or more," he said. "We all have to do something about it, all of us in a more orderly manner. That is going to be one of my objectives, not wearing my Promasidor hat but wearing my personal hat. I hope that we can be setting up an organisation across Africa which would encourage improved governance, which would grow everything across the continent."
While speaking about competition, Mr Rose said that he was happy about the level of competition in the market, adding that it only geared them to do things better. "We are very happy about competition. Competition grows the market. We can't expect to have 100 percent of the market, it's not healthy, it's not good, but we can be better." He also spoke about the company's plans for the future, saying that there would be a major investment soon with an additional factory outside Lagos.
"We are going to build another factory, we've run out of space in a few years. We are going to be building another factory in another part of Nigeria which will enable us not only to do our existing better but we will go into new things." The company plans to make products using Soya as its basic raw material. For Mr Rose, Soya is a nutritional vegetable and farmers would be given the necessary tools to grow the plant in large quantities. "It would actually be grown in Nigeria. They will be based on Soya and we are going to improve nutrition of everybody."
Having made giant contributions to the milk market, Mr Rose said that Promasidor has succeeded in increasing the market share and growing the milk market. However, he said that the company was nowhere near the potentials and they were going to continue growing the market.
The Cowbell National Mathematics Competition, he said, would also be taken to the whole continent so it won't be just a Mathematics competition for Nigeria, but it would be a Mathematics competition for Africa.
Keith Richards, managing director of Promasidor Nigeria Limited said he is optimistic about the growth opportunities in Nigeria adding that Mr Rose started the company in Kinshasa at a time when Congo Democratic Republic was going through several political and economic problems.
"He's proven that if you continue to be confident in what you're doing and believe in it despite the people operating in the environment, there is still opportunity. "The situation in Nigeria today is not as difficult as when Robert started in Kinshasa in the late 80s. Here in Nigeria, there are fantastic opportunities."