AfricaLive: Could you elaborate on the background history of the Ando Roofing Product Company.
Ado Maimu: Ando Roofing Company was established in 2007 with the lead directors, including myself, in Tanzania. The vision for the establishment was to manufacture roofing, construction, and building materials to serve the country. Ando Roofing Company has taken part in many roofing, decorative coating, and light steel structural works. Over time, we have managed to specialize in the Ando Roofing products and wall coating. The products we offer are innovative and customer-oriented, dealing with both residential and commercial building needs. We have achieved more in terms of market shares, and we have employed more than three hundred staff.
AfricaLive: What are your plans regarding future growth and expansion? Would you be looking to expand your products or build more partnerships in the future?
Ado Maimu: Yes, we have expansion strategies in place, and we are focusing on coming up with more products. We have different customer segments, and we plan to have more lines of products while improving on the already available products. There are a lot of customers among the low-income earners in Africa, especially in Tanzania.
AfricaLive: What impact have you made towards the development of Tanzania?
Ado Maimu: We have brought in technology that local Tanzanians can use and also manage to cross the border from the experience they have learned from us. We have reduced the cost of shipping finishing products from overseas. We have also shown our social responsibility as a company, to the churches and hospitals. The fact that we have proved to be able to conduct and run our business also gives confidence to the future generation and aspiring entrepreneurs that they, too, can succeed in business.
AfricaLive: Where do we begin building the eco-system required for successful African entrepreneurship?
Ado Maimu: Access to funding is the biggest challenge that African entrepreneurs face. Even if you manage to get the funds, the terms and conditions are generally unfriendly in most cases. Another problem is infrastructure, whereby importing goods from overseas ends up being cheaper than having business deals locally and with neighbouring countries. Addressing these challenges would build the eco-system required for successful entrepreneurship.
AfricaLive: How would you advise young African entrepreneurs who are about to embark on the journey as a businessman?
Ado Maimu: Opportunities are very many if you have decided to do business in Africa. You have to be specific about what you want. You also have to be very careful with the funding because they are costly and can wipe away your business if you are not very keen on what you are doing. Please do not take things on yourself; instead, get into a group and try to put together what you have as a group, and then you bring a little from the borrowing sites because they are costly.
AfricaLive: How can we derisk Africa in polici of foreign investors, and what would be your message of confidence to them?
Ado Maimu: The opportunities are there, and there is no doubt about that. You should do a proper search for what you are doing. Most investors like complaining about poor infrastructure, political instability, and poor communication. We should know that the African continent is in a developing process, and therefore you can’t expect everything to be like Europe or anywhere else. In taking the challenges, I am very confident that the African countries are working on those challenges, which will take some time to come to an end. Those challenges are the opportunities for people who want to do business in Africa, so do not wait for the problems to be over before you start your business.
AfricaLive: How does Tanzania today compared to the country that you dreamt back of when you first became the CEO of this business? How do you vision the future of the country to be in the years to come?
Ado Maimu: We are very positive about the few years to come, and we are investing a lot in terms of infrastructure. Many activities are happening in Tanzania to ensure that power and water are in place. As you can see in our TV stations and newspapers, our new president is working very hard, giving the pandemic for education from the primary schools to universities and technical colleges. We have a lot of platforms, and the government is very positive when taking our views as in the business. We want to solve the challenges and look for Tanzanians to get involved in the industry.