20.07.2006 Business & Finance

Don't Be Afraid To Do Business In Africa - SAL Tells Entrepreneurs

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Mr Krobo Edusei, Group Executive Chairman of Safebond Africa Limited (SAL), has encouraged African entrepreneurs and financing institutions to invest on the Continent because its rewards surpassed the perceived risks.

"We are not afraid of the scary stories about Africa because we believe that Africans have the primary responsibility to lead the way in building the Continent and SAL's investment is paying off," he told Ghanaian journalists in Maputo. SAL is one of the two Ghanaian companies, which sponsored the CNN Multichoice African Journalist Awards.

It sponsors the M.K.O. Abiola Print Journalist Award, while Global Media Alliance provides for the Sports Journalist Award. SAL, headquartered in Tema, provides transport and logistic services in four African countries.

Mr Edusei said it was critical to believe in the ability of the African as a creditable performer, stressing that Africans, who deployed first class business attitudes and practices, would have thriving enterprises like their counterparts anywhere.

With a staff of 40 in 2001 and financial assistance from mainly Africa, SAL, which started as Carl Tiedemann Stevedoring Company, has grown into five companies with strong presence in the major seaports of Africa and corresponding staff strength of 1,800.

"The banks have helped us a great deal because we have kept faith with them," he said. "We have relied on African expertise but engaged Western skills where necessary and we have won competitive bids against major international companies." By 2009, the Company aspires to locate in 12 countries to operate stevedoring and marine terminal services, road freight transport, warehousing, among other services.

At present it operates in Ghana, Kenya, Liberia and Sierra Leone with the Tanzania office to be opened soon. Apart from thriving on its efficiency record, Mr Edusei noted that his Company had benefited a great deal from the goodwill towards Ghanaians.

"In Liberia, in Sierra Leone and elsewhere, the name of Ghana and President Kufuor open doors because of the goodwill shown to refugees and the mature and splendid demeanour of our leader," he said.

Mr Edusei said SAL last year joined the sponsors of the African Journalists Awards to encourage and reward journalists because African journalists were the best people to tell the good stories of Africa to bring hope, peace and progress to the Continent.

In an interview with the GNA, Mr Nolo Letele, Chief Executive of Multichoice, South Africa, said it was unfortunate that Africa's image was changing too slowly in spite of the numerous business opportunities it offered. He said more pragmatic strategies and adequate resources had to be deployed to address the image problem with Africans leading the way.

As an African company, Multichoice had been very successful and there was much more to be reaped from an under serviced market like the African one, he said. For instance, Africa has the fastest growing cell phone market on the globe, he said.

Celtel, another African-owned company, which operates in 14 countries, ECOBANK and other successful African companies, shared their success stories with journalists.

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