Specialising in logistics, construction and mining, GPC Groupe is forging a promising future for Guinea. General Director Aly Kaba explores localised value, and harnessing people power
Writer: Phoebe Harper | Project Manager: Joshua Mann
My country is one of the richest in terms of minerals in the world,” opens Aly Kaba, General Director of mining, logistics and construction specialist, GPC Groupe (GPC).
In the resource-blessed lands of West Africa, the nation of Guinea boasts a mineral wealth that is almost unparalleled on the continent. The country hosts deposits of world-class bauxite, iron and gold, with open-pit mining activities benefitting from 75 percent purity.
Kaba expresses an extreme pride and patriotism in the country that he calls home, and where GPC has established itself as a major player of industry. He brings to his role a wealth of experience, with over 15 years spent in various positions at major multinational companies specialising in iron ore, bauxite, and gold. This has also included interventions on various public and private infrastructure developments.
The GPC enterprise is composed of wholly-owned subsidiaries and joint venture companies. The group unites three different companies holding 100 percent, including GPC Mining, BAA DECOR-PORCELANOSA and Wolf Guinée. The joint venture companies under its remit include Civil Solutions Guinée, Pharma Advance Guinée, and Jovi Africa.
“Our main client today is Guinea Alumina Corporation (GAC), a wholly owned subsidiary of Emirates Global Aluminium Company,” shares Kaba.
During the course of his tenure at GPC thus far, Kaba has witnessed and navigated the peaks and troughs of the country’s industrial landscape.
At present, the overall potential of mining in Guinea remains untapped. Despite its capacity and resources, the sector pales in comparison to agriculture as an economic force. Today, the accumulation of Guinea’s mining operations contributes to between 12 to 15 percent of the nation’s GDP.
“The country’s mineral endowments have been poorly exploited for a long time,” he observes. But hope prevails, as government interventions within the past decade have stimulated further activity for the industry. Since 2013, a renewed mining policy has promoted greater profitability for investors, broadened Guinea’s tax revenue base, and promoted more local value.
As a result, the industry today is in relatively good stead, and stands as a realm ripe with opportunity.
“Although we are in the middle of a transition, the industry in Guinea is now doing well. The country has significant potential for mining to be considered one of the levers of the national economy.
“The opportunities are endless in this industry and the business climate is conducive to companies.”
Returning to the promotion of local value as a key tenet of the national mining policy, Kaba’s belief and confidence in Guinea’s local content is absolute.
“The opportunity is here for all the local companies who want to evolve with the local content,” he says.
“For over seven years, our local content has been among some of the best in the world. The mark of local companies compiled was very pure, and GPC was there at the right moment to make it a reality.”
This sentiment is fully encapsulated by the GPC mantra, “Our Mining with Local Value”. Such emphasis has fuelled GPC’s successes, establishing its strategic differentiation as the only company local to Guinea that operates for a multinational from start to finish – from the stages of stripping, drilling, or felling, all the way through to the finished product.
GPC’s focus on local value extends not just to corporate entities across the country as it propels economic development, but arguably most importantly to the employment opportunities this brings and the people at the heart of GPC, the majority of whom are Guinea nationals.
“We are very keen on making locals work, and we want to promote a local workforce,” says Kaba.
THE PEOPLE DIFFERENCE
A close-knit company strengthened by family, GPC understands and appreciates the value of a localised workforce. It is an ethos that unites the whole GPC team.
“GPC was established in early 2000 and formalised in 2009 by my two brothers and I,” Kaba explains. As mentioned, of the 560 employees that are the backbone of GPC, an overwhelming 95 percent are Guineans, and just five percent expats.
“Today, I can say that we have one of the best teams in our different fields,” he comments proudly.
In order to attract and retain the best staff, GPC adheres to strict recruitment practices, and invests heavily in formation to keep pace with a dynamic industry and ensure that everyone is well-equipped to perform their work both safely and efficiently.
Through continual investment in training and empowering its workforce, Kaba recognises the company’s own progress as a reflection of the country as a whole.
“We heavily invest in our workforce because it has enormous potential,” he says. “We invest in them in terms of training, and we do our best to retain it.
“By doing that, we really participate in the development of our country and the revitalisation of our economy.”
This returns to the note of collaboration that runs at the very core of GPC and its offering to customers. As a client-centric organisation, this overriding emphasis on the customer is key in differentiating GPC from the competition.
“GPC believes in the power of collaboration, which creates a win-win for both parties.
“We grant the highest importance to customer satisfaction and relationship. Our goal is not a ‘one shot’ - we want our clients to obtain the results they signed up for, that’s why we make sure they are satisfied from the beginning right through to the end.”
For GPC in the years ahead, Guinea’s future is exciting and defined by opportunity. Kaba hints at the prospect of a GPC Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast branch set for opening, with some clientele already secured.
In the shorter-term, a client-centric focus prevails as GPC seeks to fulfil its current contracts.
“Our priority right now is to make sure we successfully achieve the contracts we already have, especially with GAC as we have a 16 months contract with them,” Kaba shares hopefully.
“In addition, we will be investing in even more efficient equipment so that we can respond to more RFPs and thus expand our customer portfolio and extend our turnover,” he closes.
With this guiding ambition, a promising future for Guinea’s mining industry is safe in GPC’s hands.