For the Love of Liberia
Multifaceted Jomanday Group is driving development in its beloved home country and across borders as it continues to invest in entrepreneurial pursuits across a range of industries
Writer: Tom Wadlow | Project Manager: Josh Mann
Liberia is a country looking forwards after a turbulent recent past.
Strategically nestled on the West African coast and entering a new chapter of its development under the leadership of legendary former footballer George Weah, the country has been declared Ebola-free by the World Health Organization.
Optimism renewed, it is now time for enterprise to drive development forwards.
“I would like to say that Liberia and Africa as a whole is ready for business,” declares Sekou Jomanday, Chairman & CEO of Jomanday Group.
“Any investors out there that are ready to work in Liberia or neighbouring countries, I can assure you that the business climate has improved and keeps improving as we have superior infrastructure in place compared to 10 years ago. Most industries are booming, and smart competition is like never before.”
Jomanday is an impassioned Liberian entrepreneur.
Determined to contribute to the upliftment of his beloved nation, he opted against his initial desire to enter the banking industry after discovering a flair for business at a young age.
“I started selling clothes in high school and I was very good at it,” he recalls. “I was making 100 percent margin on every item I sold with a minimal amount of effort, as I knew how to conquer my target group.
“Making enough profit at that age to take care of my high school expenses gave me a second thought of my career path.”
After breaking numerous sales records at various companies having obtained an MBA from Long Island University in New York, the creation of Jomanday Group in 2015 unified the wider interests of several subsidiaries, now a multifaceted holding company geared towards national and regional upliftment.
“We wanted to create an organisation that would contribute in improving the development and lifestyle of Africans in our region,” Jomanday adds.
“We also want to be the proof that when talking about business in Africa it’s not only Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, or South Africa that has something to offer, but that Liberia is equally equipped enough to provide esteemed, valuable products and superb, specialised services to the international market.”
Indeed, Jomanday Group is one of Liberia’s most diversified business conglomerates with a reputation for sustainable development and product quality.
This is amply demonstrated by plans to build a rice milling facility in its home country through subsidiary Doramart Trade Limited.
“Being a country with 4.8 million people where rice is the staple food, it is necessary we become more self-sufficient,” Jomanday explains. “Liberians spend as much as 18 percent of their income on rice, so keeping rice prices stable and affordable for them is a major factor in reducing poverty.”
Once complete, the mill will operate at a capacity of 30,000 tonnes per month and will help reduce reliance on imports which has forced prices upwards. “Our goal is to produce local rice that will be cheaper than imports while at the same time empowering our local farmers, who we will purchase paddy rice from,” the CEO adds.
It is not just in Liberia where Jomanday Group is continuing to make an impact, however.
Indeed, the company operates its diverse portfolio of businesses across the Sub-Saharan region with further operations in Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Ivory Coast, countries that the firm is seeking to expand its presence in across several disciplines.
“Our main aim for these expansions is to encourage growth and social development in the region,” Jomanday says. “We strongly believe that we can benefit from one another’s offer – as our business communities exchange goods and services with each another, it will encourage our governments to trade.
“Specifically, we have plans to move to the upstream activities in oil and gas in Liberia and neighbouring countries. We are currently in the planning stage with international and local partners to ensure the rightful blocks are selected.”
Built by people
That Jomanday Group is in a position to continue expanding its already diverse portfolio is testament to three standout attributes in the eyes of the CEO.
Among them is a commitment to staying on-trend, offering something different and not treading on the toes of potential competitors, while a second key differentiator comes in the form of a strict adherence to quality.
“We treat quality as our oxygen,” Jomanday explains. “Everything we do, starting from customer service right through to delivery, is carried out with a quality conscious. We can’t afford to jeopardise our image with inferior products – if it can’t solve a problem, then it shouldn’t increase the problem.”
What truly differentiates the organisation however, for Jomanday, is what he describes as a dynamic and energetic team that works fantastically together and doesn’t take no for an answer.
“Each one of our team members has reached a point in their self-growth where they are independent and take full accountability for every action they make on behalf of the company,” he adds.
“We are very mindful that a happy employee is a happy customer. For this reason, we retain our employees’ invaluable expertise by ensuring job satisfaction and enrichment through delegation of authority.
“As we have many subsidiaries within our group, we have the luxury of offering new positions and locations to employees that excel at their current job or for those facing challenges.”
This is backed up by continuous training and development opportunities covering numerous facets, from technical aspects and market trends to disaster management and customer communication. Middle management and senior staff are further provided with regular external training to help stay abreast of key industry developments.
Another motivational strategy centres around the annual award programme, an event which recognises the best performing subsidiary and employees for their efforts during the year.
A defining period of peace
It is this cohort of dedicated staff that will drive Jomanday Group into what appears to be a prosperous future.
Immediate priorities cited by the CEO include the completion of the aforementioned rice mill and extension of fuel stations across Liberia, the entrepreneur full of confidence when asked about the positive role his company can play in years to come.
“Our companies are and will continue to contribute to the future development of Liberia by bringing the best of our country to the international market,” he says.
“We are committed to showing the world that Liberia has its own share of exclusivity in terms of quality. As Italy is known for fashion and Germany is known for being the best machinery producers, Liberia should be known for the best mines such as gold, and best agro product producer for the likes of including cassava, pepper, rice and rubber.”
Jomanday’s closing words reflect the emboldened comments made at the beginning – a statement of pride in his nation, and an urge to look forwards.
“We have so many prospects and so much to offer but we didn’t know in the past how to harness and redirect all that energy.
“Even during the peak of war, you had foreigners that didn’t want to leave Liberia because of what it offers. Liberians are full of natural joy and pure talent that can be a catalyst for a lot of achievement if we nurture it correctly.
“I strongly believe Liberia has had enough self-reflection and mental healing of our dark days. Those dark years allowed us to also see the other side of life.
“Liberians got to experience first-hand from our various host countries what the real benefits of peace and reconciliation look like – how peace contributes to sustainable development, how unity is stronger than division, how patriotism is the opposite of selfish individualism, and how self-sufficiency is better than dependency.”