Q&A with Chairman & Director General Leopoldino, 'Dino', Fragoso do Nascimento

Africa as a continent is experiencing a resurgence of growth and economic development. How far can Angolan companies go in this new climate?
The answer, in one word, is far. Angola is central to Africa’s success story. We have one of the fastest-growing economies in the world thanks to rich mineral resources and macro-economic stability. This has meant a stronger Angola, attracting significant investments in electricity, roads, clinics, housing, and educational institutions. This presents a tremendous opportunity for any company seeking to gain a foothold in the services, products, and infrastructures that underpin our economy.

How sustainable is this growth?
The growth is sustainable as long as funds continue to be channelled into health and education, giving younger generations the opportunity to contribute to our country’s advancement. Investment cannot simply be financial. We have an obligation to provide social investment, including the creation of jobs and job training.

How did Cochan come to be established?
It came out of this idea of sustainable growth. I was interested in creating positive, lasting impact in our communities. I wanted to help businesses become proud leaders in whichever sector they are in, known for quality standards and business intelligence. I started in the telecoms sector, because of my background in telecoms and engineering. But I soon saw that best practices in one area could be applied to many others. I used my experience, along with the partnership of many smart minds, to create a vision—and a platform—for business growth.

How would you describe your approach?
I want to empower businesses. I want to create robust strategies that are foundations for success over the long term. Capital investment should be a positive agent for change and a good force for society. There is no reason for ambitions to be modest.

I identify potential demand and match it with capabilities. It has been a learning experience, but one that has been extremely successful. I think it is essential to understand your competitive landscape, the challenges that are unique to each market and sector, and how resources can be deployed efficiently.

What would you recommend to businesses looking to grow in an emerging market?
Understand your consumer. Identify any trends on the horizon. Understand your business environment including regulations, codes, and access requirements. Prepare to work hard with the right partners and the right people. It helps to be restless, as I have been my entire career. Opportunities move quickly and I am in constant search for new ideas and solutions. Then of course, the work must satisfy you tremendously, as it has for me.