Can you elaborate on your operations in Nigeria?
Jean-Marc Ricca Our primary focus remains construction chemicals leveraging our manufacturing plant in Lagos; it is not just concrete but also performance flooring, repairs, and waterproofing. As construction continues to increase in Nigeria, we see more new projects coming up and manufacturing assets being built, and this comes with a need for new performance flooring, roofs, insulation, and so on. Another key focus area is the food value chain, from crop protection all the way down to packaging recycling. The food value chain and particularly the food security aspect of it saw significant development in 2017 as we also structured the cold chain project.
Kwame Gyan-Tawiah In Nigeria, the demand for power far outstrips production and supply. Cummins plays a key role in supporting the Nigerian economy by supplying and servicing generators that ensure that business is never interrupted by power outages. In addition to our power generation solutions, we also provide engines that can be used in a range of equipment, from buses, trucks, and trains to earthmoving equipment, mining applications, and any other machinery that requires power. Nigeria is a significant part of the Cummins' operations in Africa. Companies cannot be in Africa without being in Nigeria.
What are the particularities of the Nigerian market?
JMR Get the right product at the right place at the right time and business growth is more or less guaranteed. The challenge is everything else around market and customers. Nigeria is the only country in the world where we have so many strategic enablers that we have to unlock such as supply chain excellence, security, and other factors needed for business empowerment. We do not worry so much about growth; we worry about making sure the basic enablers are in place. It would take some effort to get there, but we cannot continue struggling in getting the basics right.
KGT Nigeria is a dynamic market. One can get anything and everything they want in this economy. Even in difficult times, we always find a way to overcome. We are currently in difficult times, where forex is the main issue; however, this has not stopped the market from operating. There are innovative and astute businesspeople in this economy who can keep it going. The market is one of the largest in West Africa and is growing by the day.
What is your ambition in Nigeria?
JMR We have a clear vision to deliver on our promise of enabling our customers to create value. Then, there is the internal view, which is very much linked to us as a team. Looking at the number of people that have joined—and we still intend to recruit this year—it is an extremely significant achievement for us as our success will come from our ability to build people and organization. It is still modest, but we are having a real impact in terms of job creation. We receive compliments from people saying we have the best team; these are measures of our success, and this has been confirmed as we have just been awarded the Top Employers Award accreditation in West Africa for 2018 for the third consecutive year. This is all about profitable and sustainable development, not just about ambitious numbers.
KGT We want to be number one in the market. We want to be the first choice of our customers and also strive to ensure that we make a positive impact on the communities in which we live and operate. We strive to further develop our local communities by hiring local talent, as well as developing them by offering knowledge transfer and training. We want to develop our human capital so that our employees are agile, and if they work outside of Nigeria, they can be effective with the knowledge and experience that they gain here. There is still a long way to go, and we are relatively new in Nigeria. Our competition may have been in the Nigerian market longer, but we are ramping up our operations. We strive to demonstrate to our customers that Cummins' products are reliable and they can have full confidence in our ability to service them.