Interview with Adriaan Du Plessis, Entrepreneur & Medicam’s Vice- President
1- Hello, can you please tell us who Adriaan is?
I am a motivated individual born and bred in Africa. I was born in a small town called Ladybrand in South Africa. My dad worked for the railway and later for a logistics company after his retirement from the railway. I am goal orientated and have been from an early age. At the age of 10 I earned my instructors certification as a Kyokushin instructor and later my black belt in Tae kwon do. My parents were not financially strong and thus there were no funds for university. I learned everything I could within the import export market and regularly attended courses and thus ventured into the import export market. With a lot of queries for rough diamonds I educated myself in this direction and qualified myself as a rough diamond evaluator and grader, later traveling all over Africa to evaluate parcels.
2- How do you describe “Medicam”?
Medicam was established in 2013 in the Republic of Cameroon. Medicam is made up of a multi-national management team. Medicam group’s primary focus is to be a leader in the development of Cameroon into an Emerging Market prior to 2035 target goals. Medicam is a dynamic company with strong leadership in Mr. Alexander D Powers with the ability to enter into a variety of sectors.
3- How did you come up with the idea to start a business in this field?
Being a child of Africa and fascinated by its mineral wealth and natural resources it was a logical step to venture into import and export and more specific that of diamonds and other minerals. Having a relationship with the leadership of Medical Limited combining our strengths towards a mutual goal was a natural evolution of business.
4- And who is “Medicam” typical customer?
Medicam being diverse in its entry strategy has the ability to accommodate a spectrum of clients. Typically our client base consists of governments, buyers of minerals, import/export clients. We also run loterie.cm so every man and women on the street is a potential customer as well.
5- Sure Africa is the business Promised Land, but what does the continent represent to you?
Africa is in my blood so being “the business Promised Land” is only part of what Africa represents to me. Africa is my home and the where I raise my kids. Africa is the embodiment of potential not only for business but for so much more.
6- Where do you think you are making an impact?
We are creating jobs which are the most important part of entrepreneurship. Our NGO Better Future for Change www. betterfutureforchange.ngo assists the community with funding and services for Cameroonians for education and healthcare. Normally gambling is not considered a social benefiter but our www.loterie.cm technology which launches by 2017, allows players to enter small amounts of money and win millions of dollars. If we achieve a steady 2 million players a day we produce more millionaires in one year than Ghana or any other developed African nation produced in 15 years.
7- You are only covering Cameroon for now; do you plan to cover foreign markets as well?
We are looking at other markets within the Central African arena and even further abroad as well. Medicam has been exploring the mineral market within Cameroon and surrounding countries and actively building relationships for the past 2 years. We are confident in moving forward within this sector in Cameroon, Central African Republic and Congo.
8- What are you most excited about at the moment?
Personally I am very excited about the opportunities opening up in Central African Republic for the mineral sector and more specific the diamond sector. CAR can legally export diamonds again and Medicam has patiently waited for this to happen, building relations with artisan miners and dealers within country. Medicam also operates loterie.cm and this is something our group is very excited about. The system is a socially responsible system set up in such a way to produce winners. It is more social development than anything else, we believe it will have a positive impact on the community.
9- Any advice for a candidate looking for new business opportunities in Cameroon or any other African country?
Africa is not a hit and run market. To achieve success within Africa you need to know the market you want to enter into, understand the people. Do not come with the expectation that things happen quickly and be willing to spend time on the continent and in the market you intend to enter. Be teachable and flexible in your thought patterns. Africa is a highly rewarding continent not only for business but on a personal level as well, you just have to be patient.
10- The last Word or final thoughts?
Cameroon and the majority of Africa is growing into a force to be reckoned with. If you look at the business landscape across the continent you can see it opening up for business and expanding into a phase where industrialization is opening its eyes. We are seeing an increasing amount of African entrepreneurs in the international arena which is a good indication towards the maturity of the business atmosphere within Africa. Medicam group’s primary focus is to be a leader in the development of Cameroon into an Emerging Market prior to 2035 target goals.