AGB Technoprint Group

Print

One of the most effective means of transferring significant levels of knowledge to support development is to build capacity in domestic publishing firms. A healthy publishing and print industry is vital to retaining the huge revenues often paid to print academic and other publications in more capable markets. Affordable in-country publishing services are also essential to the marketing efforts and therefore the growth of local SMEs.

Stimulating growth of SMEs and larger enterprises in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is challenging. Over 60 percent of firms in the DRC cite access to finance as a major constraint to growth3. However, BIO has a longstanding commitment to ease the financial hurdles faced by the private sector in the DRC, a partner country of the Belgian Development Cooperation. In December 2008, BIO agreed a direct long-term loan of 700,000 EUR to the Congolese publishing company, AGB Technoprint Group.

Founded by the entrepreneurial Hautekeete family in 1989, AGB Technoprint Group has become one of Kinshasa’s three main printing companies. Managing Director, Mr. Stefan Hautekeete, has even greater ambitions:

“With this additional capital we can upgrade our machinery and our publishing skills, enabling us to win big tenders in the academic sector and meet the needs of SME’s and larger public sector players – locally.”

The loan and a 17,000 EUR technical assistance subsidy were agreed after a rigorous process of assessment. Discussions began in 2007 when BIO was introduced to AGB Technoprint by two local partners, the Federation of Enterprises of Congo (FEC) and the Fonds de Promotion de l’Industrie (FPI). As standard BIO procedure dictates, several organisations were engaged to deliver independent assessments; an audit of the company was conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Belgian Development Cooperation assessed the development impacts of BIO’s intervention.

In the DRC loans tend to be available for a maximum of three years, limiting private sector development (PSD). The eight-year loan from BIO will allow AGB Technoprint to maximise growth over the long-term. The company currently employs 200 people and can print up to one million A4 pages per day. It is expected that 50 new skilled jobs will be created as a direct result of this loan. And, with the modernised machinery and processes made feasible by this loan, capacity should increase by half a million A4 pages per day. Annually, this will have a huge impact on the need to import printed material.

The overall development impact of enhanced knowledge transfer at a local level is difficult to quantify. However, what is certain is that by that building capacity and skills at AGB Technoprint BIO is creating real and sustainable advances in the domestic knowledge economy. The benefits will
be reaped over the medium to long-term by the private sector and individuals alike.

3  Enterprise Survey 2008

Dimitry Van Raemdonck, Investment Officer, BIO:

“Working in the DRC is challenging but the team at AGB Technoprint have shown real professionalism in their interactions with BIO. I look forward to supporting the team as they pursue their ambitious growth plans.”
  • Investment amount (€):

    €735,907

  • Contract signature :

    2008

  • Nature of intervention :

    Debt

  • Development impacts :

    • 1 — Knowledge transfer
    • 2 — Import substitution
    • 3 — Job creation

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