Zambia: Interview with Antonio Ventriglia

Antonio Ventriglia

Managing Director (Zambezi Portland Cement)

Antonio Ventriglia

Zambia has a wide spectrum of possibilities on its different industries but to really exploit its potential it is important to invest. Why would you say Zambia is an attractive destination for investors?


Zambia is a wonderful place for business and has shown as such for the past years as there has been a rise in FDI coming into the country. I am currently satisfied with the current government because it is incentivizing investors to come to Zambia. The country is still at a development stage and therefor it’s a land full of opportunities that are friendly to investors. This country has been peaceful since its independence and the privatization has been successful leading to tremendous changes in the economic outlook. We are currently facing some challenges but the government and companies are working hand in hand to tackles those. Thanks to the current Government, to its rule of law and to the opportunities it is giving investors.


The Engineering & Construction Industry is a basic sector for the growth of the country’s economy. How do you think the sector is developing? Which are the different challenges and opportunities in the sector?


At the moment, the new government is trying to realign the economy of the country by attracting new investors to the country. The construction sector is actually booming due to recent Infrastructure Development Projects undertaken by the government – Link 8000 & Pave 2000. These two projects have given the opportunity to large & small companies to enroll into projects and therefore creating employment within the sector. However, challenges are there but if there is a will there is a way. The government is doing its possible to develop the sector because of its important. Building a large road network will catalyze Zambian development at different level of the economy. At the moment, the new Government is trying to realign the economy of the country and is trying to attract new investors into the country and is pointing to help the Engineering & Contruction Industry to start taking off again.


Zambezi Portland Cement started its operations in 2005 in Ndola and, today, it manufactures 1400 tonnes cement everyday. What do you think it has been the key for this success ? What is the current position of the company within the market?


We have built our company from scratch and there were no economic activities around the zone before. The key to our success is mainly our management team that has grouped a different set of skills to provide our customers with the highest quality cement in the market; as well as serving our customers in the shortest time possible. We are present in Zambia and we manage to serve our neighboring countries, such as Congo, Malawi, Burundi or Rwanda. We are managing to keep our customer base loyal providing them with high standard cement. We are constantly changing things here to be on the edge of the cement technology. Zambezi Portland Cement is purely a Zambian company that is able to compete with international ones. We are holding up and we will keep succeeding in doing so by maintaining our quality product.


A lot has been said about Zambezi Portland Cement in the past months. I would like to understand and have your side of the story for our readers to have a full understanding of what happened and what is happening.


At the moment there is a forgery case ongoing that has been taken to court to prove the legal ownership of the Ventriglia family. The rule of law has been applied in Zambia and we managed to get back what has always belonged to the Ventriglia family. Ventriglia family has been in Zambia for over 50 years and unfortunately we have been taken to court unfairly and we are happy that everything is settling up.


The development of a country brings new opportunities but also new challenges, such as the competition. What is your greatest asset, what makes you unique to stand out among your competitors?


As you must understand competition is always good for a market. As a company, we pride ourselves to sustain higher standards and the uniqueness of our products gives us a competitive advantage. Plus, we are a Zambian Company that customer can relate to. We will always be part of the leaders as long as we sustain our capacity to innovate and circulate unique and higher quality products.


As the market becomes more sophisticated, one of the main challenges is to maintain the quality standards of the products, but also with affordable prices. How do you manage to achieve this balance? How do you stay close to the clients’ needs?


We stay close to our esteemed customers by supplying them top quality service.


We believe that a company must have a clear set of goals, but it is only the vision of its leaders, which can make it reach those objectives. In this context, where do you see Zambezi Portland Cement within the next 5 years?


In the next 5 years I believe our factory will grow to at least double the production that we have today, and we will be able to satisfy not only the Zambian clients but also our surrounding countries.


From a more personal perspective now, looking at your Professional background we have found a long time experience in the industry. When you look back over the years, what do you feel most proud of?


What makes me proud it is the fact that we never gave up, even though the difficulties, and we managed to achieve the goal we were aiming for.