Madagascar is a land of increasing opportunity. Chairman, Zouzar Bouka, explains his vision of a new Madagascar and how VIMA Group is helping make this a reality.
Much like the endemic wildlife that has adapted over centuries to survive on the isolated island, Madagascar as a nation continues to evolve rapidly. Through the development of strong economic ties with the likes of the United States, Japan, Germany and its main trading partner, France, the country’s primary sources of growth today originate from tourism, agriculture and the extractive industries.
With its wealth of untapped mining resources Madagascar’s economy is predicted to expand in the years ahead. In addition to the big mining projects underway in the south and east of the country there are also a vast number of other concessions that need developing. This understandably creates a ripple effect across all sectors as there remains a need for investment in infrastructure, logistics, transportation, lodging and soft skills.
Founded in 2000, VIMA Group was born out of the vision of chairman Zouzar Bouka. Part of this vision was to create an organisation that could play a leading role in the development of a new Madagascar.
“In this new Madagascar,” Bouka explains, “large scale private sector projects will be the engine for growth throughout the country.” Since the group’s first subsidiary, VIMA REAL ESTATE was created in 2000, it has been working to meet the demands of the market in terms of real estate development and construction. In the years since VIMA Group has extended its reach to procurement and import services with the creation of VIMA SERV’, the wood sector with VIMA WOOD INDUSTRY and the construction business with VIMA CONSTRUCTION.
“The features of a new Madagascar as we see it,” Bouka continues, “include a wider opening to the world, a country in line with international norms and standards and one that attracts long-term foreign investors who are able to put their trust in the expertise and skills of Malagasy companies.”
In order to achieve this, VIMA Group has three main strategies. The first of these is having a strong marketing policy that maximises its visibility at a local, regional and international level. Second is the maintaining of a strong international network. VIMA Group’s partnerships with organisations such as the World Trade Center Association, Century 21 and REGUS provide it with access to a multitude of business opportunities. Then there is its development policy. Thanks to this policy its franchisee licenses allow it to extend its activities to a regional and international level.
“Since its birth,” Bouka enthuses, “VIMA Group has strived for perfection in every aspect of its business. Specifically, it has established a set of core traits that guide the company on a daily basis. These include adaptability, having a customer centred approach to business, maintaining a high level of customer service, having high speeds of delivery and ensuring it always delivers its customers with high quality solutions.”
These core traits have helped contribute to various success stories over the last 12 years, while VIMA Group’s ability to offer a one-stop-shop for major organisations looking to enter Madagascar has seen it build up an impressive portfolio of case study examples of its work. One such example occurred when the Embassy of South Africa approached the group to assist them in finding a new embassy building.
Taking the lead in this project was VIMA REAL ESTATE, which worked closely with embassy staff in order to create a comfortable work environment conducive to the needs of the diplomatic mission from South Africa. Location was an integral part of this project and so VIMA REAL ESTATE sought out, found, and bought a plot of land situated on a main thoroughfare with easy access to both the downtown of the city and the diplomatic neighbourhood.
VIMA REAL ESTATE subsequently decided that it would be best if the Embassy of South Africa chose an architect of their liking, which would be paid for by VIMA Group, to design the actual embassy building, accommodating for the needs of the South African embassy staff.
VIMA CONSTRUCTION built the embassy, while all of the procurement for the construction materials, interior design, and furniture was bought by VIMA SERV’ while VIMA REAL ESTATE worked in conjunction with a bank to calculate a fair market price for the rent. Currently, VIMA REAL ESTATE manages the rent, maintenance, and customer relationship with the embassy.
The year 2012 has seen VIMA Group continue to expand with it making two new, strategic acquisitions on the west coast of the country. The first of these is a fish processing facility located in the city of Maintirano. The group’s aim is to rehabilitate the existing site with offices, warehouses and laboratories in order to support mining, oil and gas companies located in the area.
The second property, currently under the process of acquisition, lies within the economic hub that is Majunga. This acquisition of 32 hectares of land, with approximately 60,000 square metres of built-on surface, will see the group develop the site to support the growing economy of the region by rehabilitating the buildings for office use by companies involved in mining, oil and gas and high intensive labour. This property will be connected by fiber optic network.
Elsewhere within the group, VIMA CONSTRUCTION and VIMA REAL ESTATE are in the piloting stage of the project “Casa Ivandry” or CI for short. CI is a luxury apartment complex located in a high end neighbourhood in the capital of Antananarivo and is designed for families, couples, or single occupants. Upon completion, CI will be equipped with a swimming pool, movie theatre, tennis courts, gym and restaurant.
This year VIMA Group has also gone about creating a new subsidiary, that being MADAGASCAR ENERGY. This subsidiary is responsible for producing and supplying electrical energy with its operations split into two divisions, one dealing with thermal power plants working with heavy-oil and the other with renewable energies. In the near future, MADAGASCAR ENERGY will supply 1.4 MW and 2 MW to private companies in the country. MADAGASCAR ENERGY is set to become a major player in the renewable energy sector.
A fundamental part of VIMA Group’s mission is to support the community in Madagascar in various ways. It achieves this through its sponsorship and association with various sporting events and budding stars, including the International Marathon of Tana and the young tennis prodigy Randy Randrianasoloson, its sponsorship of cultural events and groups, such at the Rencontres du Film Court film festival and the Madajazzcar music festival, and its charity work with the likes of Akamasoa and the Starkey Foundation.
“Since VIMA Group’s creation,” Bouka says, “we have evolved accordingly to meet the needs of the market by moving into different sectors, working with a wide variety of partners and taking on ever-more ambitious projects. Having consolidated our position as a leader in business, we fully intend to continue expanding and building our network of partners.”
In order to provide even greater value to its clients, VIMA Group intends to focus on several important aspects of its business, most notably its ability to integrate its operations in order to provide quick and efficient solutions, and its ability to fill the gaps that exist with the economy that are integral to the overall development of the country.
“With its diversified economy and natural resources,” Bouka concludes, “Madagascar is an attention-grabbing country for outside companies and is well placed to attract these investors. Indeed, the mining sector will see a large amount of growth and will be the significant sector of the economy in the coming years. In addition, the agriculture, fishing, tourism and construction sectors will continue to see growth and we intend to be there every step of the way to support this in any way we can.”
Written by Will Daynes, research by Robert Hodgson