THE ACADEMY OF BUSINESS STRATEGY - DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
LESS SITA MANA (EGP) BA
EXECUTIVE GLOBAL PARTNER (EGP)
Less Sita Mana – Certified Business Specialist (CBS)
GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION: Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo)
At the origin in 1881 the city was mainly populated by the Teke and Humbu tribes living from agriculture and fishing. It is been founded as trading post by Henry Morton Stanley in 1881 and named Leopoldville in honor of King Leopold of Belgium. In 1920, the city became the capital of Belgium Congo. The construction of a railroad joining Leopoldville to the harbor Matadi hastens the development of the city which became soon the principal pole of expansion in the region. In 1965, the city is renamed Kinshasa by the former president Mobutu Sese Seko. In 1974 is hosted the boxing fight of the Century between Mohammed Ali and George Foreman where the former became World Heavy Weight champion. Kinshasa is now a vibrating megalopolis, the capital and largest city of the Democratic Republic of Congo. With a population of more and less 10 million (representing 1/6 of the population of the country), Kinshasa is the second largest city in sub-Saharan Africa and third largest in the whole continent, after Lagos and Cairo. It is an administrative and commercial center living from food and beverage processing, textiles and cement. It is a major cultural and intellectual center in Central Africa. The majority of the population works in the informal sector and lives from small commercial activities.
Kinshasa is a city that has expanded drastically, attracting people from the inside of the country looking for fortune and better living conditions. From the 90s and for two decades, the rural migration includes mostly people flying the civil war consuming the east of the country. The infrastructure has not followed the growth of the population, most of the roads have no asphalt and there is a recurrent lack of power and water. Years of civil war in the late 90s, as mentioned early have affected the growth of the GDP. The revenue of the central administration is boosted mostly by the revenues coming from the mining industry situated in the distant Katanga region. Much economic activities still occurs in the informal sector and the rate of unemployment is very high. Nevertheless, Kinshasa is a dynamic city with great opportunities to do business. The flowering of banks is a proof of the new vitality of the town. Like many African cities, Kinshasa is a green field where innovation and courage lead often to success and help to climb the social ladder quickly. In sub Saharan Africa, moving along the social classes is easier than in developed market like Western Europe or Northern America. The emergent middle class working in the corporate environment and owning prosperous commercial activities is boosting the local economy. Unfortunately, the public administration is the poor parent of this economic expansion and the civil servants under paid and under qualified cannot provide the structural stability prerequisite to an effective fiscal and economic control. As mentioned above, the economy of the city is driven mainly by wholesale, retail trade, manufacturing and construction but the informal sector represents a significant portion the economic activity. Yet, the potential is there and according to the IMF and the world bank the GDP has good chance to constantly reach the 2 digits in the upcoming years if the government maintain a rigorous financial policy.
Kinshasa is an important pole of development in Central Africa. The human potential is extraordinarily dynamic. People are trying to get the most of everyday life notwithstanding the challenges. Compared to some other African cities, the town is like a beehive just waiting for a more organized queen to take over the direction of the city and the country. With the basic foundation in place, the stability of the local currency and a slight increase of the purchase power, the boost of commercial activities will be incremental. To take an example, a sign of this rising vitality can be found in the telecommunications industry where the two main operators Vodacom and Airtel are claiming an increase of their customer base. According to the World Trade Organization, a 1% increase in mobile phone penetration results in approximately a 0.5% increase in real GDP in Africa. Airtel having increased his database by 40% in 18 months shows clearly that there is something happening there and still there is only 10% penetration cell phone rate in the region. The incertitude for the future mainly resides in the maturity of the political leader to orientate the institutions in the right direction and legislate on laws acting as incentive structure for the real development of the country. With the economic crisis hurting West European countries, a lot of highly qualified emigrants are aiming to be back in their country, some taking charge of jobs in administration and other re-investing in commercial activities. Other are still working overseas are increasingly sending funds to help their families. This translates in an increase of local consumption and boost of local economy. Still, restriction of resources, poor taxation structure and low added value of the economy do not allow the city to take off yet. Improvement of the tax perception is still a challenge and will not be accomplished without a parallel strengthening of central government structure. The informal economy with it s vigorous expansion is still the predominant factor to take into consideration when analyzing the near future at it is represents the dominant economic force. Kinshasa has a bright future. It surely called to become the trigger which will boost the Central Africa economy in the coming years.
Less Sita Mana
Global Partner status (Associate – Executive – Senior): Executive
Country of registration: Democratic Republic of Congo
City of registration: Kinshasa
Marketing strategy and planning
Creative, media, activation agencies management
Retail marketing management
Product launch management
INDUSTRY SECTOR EXPERIENCE:
FMCG – Beverage industry
QUALIFICATIONS AND EDUCATIONAL ESTABLISHMENT:
BA Economics University of Kinshasa
Less is a marketing executive that has provided leadership and expertise to the marketing teams in the companies he has worked for, at local and international levels. Starting in the FMCG field particularly in the beverage industry with Heineken Congo (D.R.C), he has contributed to the reorganisation of the sales route in one of the toughest district of Kinshasa. Managing distributors, wholesalers, retailers and truck sales, he has increased the Heineken co-op Bralima market share in his sales area from 2002 to 2003. In 2004, he joined then the marketing team as brand manager to take ownership of premium beer portfolio: Heineken, Mutzig and Guinness. He supported the sales team with the re-introduction of Heineken beer in the country. He took part in the regional rejuvenation of Mutzig with a new label, and organized activities aiming to push the sales with up market activities, the main co-sponsoring of Miss Congo 2004 and promotion in selected premium clubs in DRC. He moved then to the position of brand manager for non alcoholic beverages in the same organization bringing his dynamism and out of the box thinking in the successful re-launching of the natural Malta beverage called Maltina. This has been done in conducting market researches; participating to the creation of the new label with Heineken Africa regional team, and the supervision of related activities: Advertising TV and radio production and media; sponsoring of sporting activities: i.e. intra university football championship. Heineken being the Coca cola bottler in the country, he used to work closely with the Coca Cola Central Africa team to push the product at a retail level in relevant channels and to implement consumer activities in order to develop Coke brand equity. The subsequently actions has contributed to maintain and reinforce Coca Cola market leading in DRC. He organized the first Coca Cola Talent Search in the country which consisted in selecting the best musical talent in the 24 districts of Kinshasa the winner has been nominated to the African Kora awards in South Africa in 2006). He organized additional flawless Coke activation like the Fanta Fun Park which animated the streets of Kinshasa during long memorable week wends. In 2006, a new opportunity to use Less skills is found. A Retail Trade Census was conducted to identify and categorize the key retail stores selling beverages in Kinshasa and Bas Congo – two main provinces of DRC. He undertook the training of the survey team, coaching it on the ground even in the most recoiled areas of Kinshasa, Matadi and Boma. In doing that, he has been able to develop the communications skills that end to be useful in the later development of his career. He is then appointed Advertising manager with the mission of reshuffling the way the company was using the media before. An efficient way to optimize budget allocation was found and Less succeeded in this strategy by working out the right balance between the key ATL touch points(TV, Outdoor, Print and Radio). This has been achieved by initiating and managing discussion with media partners and agencies. In this role, he spent long hours negotiating agreements with media channels and making sure that Heineken portfolio brands get better exposure than the competition. He participated actively to the re-branding of Bralima, Heineken operational company with creation of the new logo, company jingle and launch of social activities towards disadvantaged schools in providing free school furniture. In 2007, a shift in his career conducted him to join the world leader mobile manufacturer Nokia in the position of Category marketing manager for Central Africa. Nokia was implementing new operations in the region with DRC and Cameroun as the key markets. Less contributed to raise Nokia brand preference in the region by 8% in one year with a new look in reshaping the way of advertising mobile phone and localizing global creative. He won the best Nokia marketing practice award for the sub Saharan African region in 2008 for innovative Nokia marketing operational implementation. After the fusion of the West and Central Africa offices, Less took the lead of the marketing team in providing his experience and ensuring that the global Nokia strategy was integrated at the local level in the region key countries: Ghana, DRC, Cameroun, Senegal and Ivory Coast. Working in a seamless execution of the marketing strategy in the region and travelling between countries, he had several meetings with local creative and media agencies making sure that the marketing activities were executed at best level of efficiency with strong impact taking into account the budget constraints. Less achievement in the regional marketing conducted him to relocate in the most advanced African market: South Africa. There, he joined the South Africa marketing team dealing with Smartphone brand management and campaign activation of Nokia in the country. Helping the sales team to achieve sales 23% above targets of the flagship product Nokia N97 and laying down the foundation of the launch of the Nokia 6710 Navigator. In April 2010 he joined Samsung mobile phone division in the newly created Africa telecommunications organization in the position of Marketing manager. He helped creating the marketing tools to be used in Southern, East and West Africa. In collaboration with key partners in the Southern Africa region he organized key trade marketing activities involving the key retail chains: Edcon, Pep, Ellerines, Beares. His skills have been constructively employed to launch new kind of activities in the market to push the Dual Sim technology in tough countries like Angola, allowing consumers to experience Samsung devices technology even in remote areas. Working on improving the Samsung experience for Africa consumers he is busy formulating, evaluating, and monitoring all the marketing plans and activation in the main countries of the region like: Mauritius, Namibia, Angola, Zambia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Madagascar and Botswana. Budget owner of Samsung Southern Africa Mobile phones, he is making sure the funds are allocated efficiently to keep the right balance between the key touch points and the different countries. As results of actively supporting the sales team in the sell in sell through and sell out, the sales turnover have been increased by 100% in 20 months .Less has experience developing and executing marketing processes, particularly in the following regions (Central Africa, West Africa, and Southern Africa and South Africa). He anticipates internal and external business issues and development and use this knowledge for target settings, prioritization and driving improvements. He has proactively developed marketing processes and strategic forward-planning, operating within the tight financial disciplines imposed by budgets constraints; methodical administration to deadlines (not to speak of crisis management where necessary); and the application of modern leadership methods (through staff motivation and involvement in both decision-making and target-setting, clarity in communication, and easy personal inter-relations).
Kinshasa – Democratic Republic of Congo
Dakar – Senegal
Johannesburg – South Africa
Global Partner preferred location
Country: Democratic Republic of Congo
To contact Less Sita Mana (EGP), please forward an email to the Academy of Business Strategy.
Less Sita Mana – Certified Business Specialist (CBS)