"Congolese human capital has evolved to respond to the mining industry’s needs. Universities in the DRC now offer excellent engineering programs, in addition to classes in secondary schools that enhance technical skills."
How does ITM attempt to bridge the skill gap in the countries it is present?
When ITM was created in 2011, its main objective was to develop training programs needed to increase technical expertise of staff. The increase of foreign stakeholders on the market presented an opportunity for us to bridge the skills gap for local and foreign teams to reach common goals.
ITM therefore offers technical and soft skills training thanks to its rich database of trainers in different fields including mining, which is our core industry in the DRC.
In order to continuously decrease the skill gaps, we also started focusing on recruitment. We strive to hire and train the best talent who can bring the solutions needed on the African Continent.
As a new entrant to the DRC market, what would be my main concern as a foreign company?
The DRC is a challenging competitive market, so a new entrant must invest in marketing to raise awareness of the product and targeting a niche in the market.
ITM supports new investors by first conducting an assessment to analyse the company’s viability as well as its competitive advantage such as a certain technological advancement or any other. We mainly support foreign investors as they establish their commercial entity by ensuring that the lengthy legal processes run smoothly. Additionally, we offer to represent new businesses through our trained workforce based on our understanding of the social and economic constraints.
Does the new mining code in the DRC address transfer of skill to the Congolese population? What does the code stipulate regarding local content?
Extractive-based economics around the world always address local content in their mining codes. The New Mining Code reinforces local content requirements in the DRC. It does not explicitly stipulate it but it does support the rise of Congolese SMEs, through the subcontracting act by promoting local procurement.
However, long-term growth is more driven by human capital that complements physical capital accumulation. Congolese human capital has evolved to respond to the mining industry’s needs. Universities in the DRC now offer excellent engineering programs, in addition to classes in secondary schools that enhance technical skills. Nonetheless, the skill-gap exists partly due to the conflict that ended in 2003, which forced many skilled Congolese professionals to move abroad. For this nation to develop, Congolese nationals abroad should consider returning.
How has the DRC’s experience with Ebola benefitted it in combatting the outbreak of COVID-19?
The DRC’s success in containing Ebola greatly helped the country with the current pandemic, as the two outbreaks present significant similarities. The measures that were initially put in place to counter Ebola, mainly handwashing and social distancing, played an important role in the fight against Covid-19.
Both outbreaks emphasize the need to invest in essential healthcare to develop the nation’s capacity. Nonetheless, the DRC’s contact tracing programs ranks highly relative to other African countries, adopted from Ebola.
What are ITM Holding’s expansion plans in Africa in the upcoming years?
The ITM headquarters in the DRC will continue to supervise operations across the continent. Our goal is to become the leading business solutions service provider in Africa. To reach this goal we plan to establish a West and East Africa division, then later strategically establish in North and Southern Africa. Our expansion plans are based on business opportunities and a thorough study of markets’ potential. Jurisdictions such as Ghana, Guinea and Kenya have attracted our attention; we are therefore exploring our options to tackle those markets.