When it comes to excellence, Quality Group Limited, Tanzania, has excelled in every sphere. It has made a name for itself in terms of technological know-how and innovation in East Africa, and is busy scripting several tales of success under the effective leadership of Yusuf Manji, the Chairman of QGL
With the entry of Quality Group Limited in the early ’70s, Tanzania as a country was introduced to the idea of quality, expertise and novelty. In many ways, the organization has been a driving force behind the improved socio-economic structure of the country, and has eventually turned into an institution that is basking in the glory of rich history and legacy. Having been in the race for more than four decades, QGL has lived with a vision to promote and keep up with its leadership standing coupled with fineness and superiority. And there has always been an effort to deliver more than what is promised under the headship of Yusuf Manji. Founded by Mehbub Manji, Yusuf Manji’s father, as a motor works company in the late 1960s, QGL has been a witness to several social and economic restructuring in Tanzania. And down the line the company has emerged as a reputed business enterprise, and has eventually become Tanzania’s lifeline. The organization’s headquarters are housed at ‘Quality Plaza’ at Nyerere Road in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, which is a noted landmark and one of the most modern offices and commercial complexes in Tanzania.
When Yusuf Manji took over the reins of the family business in 1995, he was only 20 years old. Under his direction the Dar es Salaam-based motor works company, QGL, grew from strength-to-strength and became a successful phenomenon. Today, QGL is a USD 1-billion conglomerate that deals in a wide range of verticals like automobiles, real estate, food processing, consulting, transport, aluminum, entertainment, e-commerce, media, and health care. Though things weren’t easy in the beginning, Yusuf took all the challenges head-on and through his vision and hard work, paved a way for QGL’s triumph. This evolution has been possible only because of Manji’s sheer determination, hard work, sharp business acumen, and his dream to conquer the world. However, it was sheer luck that when Yusuf took over QGL, the previously adopted socialist economy in Tanzania made way for a free market economy. Furthermore, the liberal market helped in the business growth.
Humane and pragmatic, he has immense capacity to turn any venture into a roaring success. Always looking out for opportunities, Manji is brimming with ideas all the time and believes in defying all odds. In fulfilling his vision, he is assisted by an experienced and senior team of professionals with local and international expertise.
When asked about his journey so far, Yusuf Manji says, “It has been all about my company and my work towards its expansion.” Manji uses every challenge as a stepping stone to success and has learnt a lot from his father, Mehbub Manji. He elaborates, “In my teens, I used to work with my father in his garage and watch him work till late hours. He loved what he did and worked with pure dedication and passion. It was an interesting phase as I was learning how to handle a business, and was also witnessing my father’s dedication towards his work. Moreover, I always aspired to be like him and decided to carry forward his legacy by expanding our company and bringing it to such a great height that he would be proud of me. Today, people from all over Africa, and from other parts of the world, identify Quality Group Limited by its name and work. What else could I want?”
Having learnt the ropes of business from his father, Manji has been well groomed to face adversities. He shows immense capacity as a leader and always keeps himself abreast with the latest developments. He has delivered exceptionally and has surpassed all expectations.
And how does he manage to achieve so much? What makes him tick? He says, “I love my work and it is passion that drives me ahead.”
INDIA CONNECTION AND EDUCATION
A native of Gujarat, India, Yusuf Manji spent most of his childhood in the USA and Tanzania. While he pursued his primary education in the USA, in Tanzania he completed his secondary education. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Administration that necessitated him to spend a year each at The American College of Switzerland (Switzerland), More House College (Atlanta, USA), and Hofstra University (New York, USA).
Having taken the reins of his family business in 1995, Manji introduced numerous changes in the organization, which went in sync with its dynamic structure. The set-up was completely overhauled and experts were hired in the respective fields. This professional approach helped Quality Group Limited scale new heights and create a niche for itself in the market. Support came pouring in and attracted several lenders from the East African region. This not only perked up the status of the conglomerate, but also built a spotless reputation in the market.
Manji single-handedly steered the Group to success, and in no time diversified and expanded the Group’s business portfolio. Hence, QGL today stands tall with its credible growth graph. One of the factors that make QGL a unique Group, is its investment in human capital sustaining the fact that employees play a pivotal role in the growth of any organization; an idea which Manji has been promulgating. He says, “I believe in exceeding expectations and this can only be possible if one is passionate about their goals.”
As far as business is concerned, Yusuf swears by QGL’s corporate motto of ‘Exceeding Expectations’. Devising his policies around the adage, he has created several milestones and makes sure to spread the essence to his employees as well. He makes it a point to encourage exchange of ideas and participation of the staff members during celebrations like QGL Day, Ramadan, Diwali Christmas and other functions.
A humanitarian at heart, Yusuf has unveiled several CSR initiatives through QGL. Besides helping the marginalized people in the society on a personal level, Yusuf makes sure that QGL plays a part in uplifting the poor. Under its CSR initiatives, QGL sponsors scores of students for higher education and also provides monetary aids during national crisis. The CSR initiatives by QGL in spearheading the Ebola control campaign of African Union Commission (AUC) have attained a pan- African stature and stand as a stellar example. Such has been the work of QGL in combating the epidemic, that Manji was elected as one of the Founder Trustees of Ebola Solidarity Trust established by the AUC.
In appreciation of his work towards motivating the young population of Tanzania, Manji was elected as the Chairman of YANGA, the Young African Sports Club. He has always been a major contributor towards the growth of the youth; hence, being the leader of such a prestigious organization gives him an additional platform to execute his inspirational programs.
Extremely passionate about his work and actively involved in Tanzania’s development, Yusuf Manji is also a family man. He says, “I don’t take a break, except when I go for a month-long holiday with my family to the mountains for skiing. There, I am totally cut off from work, as there is no network.” What’s his hobby? He says, “I love skiing and spending time with my family.”
Quality Group Limited forms one of Tanzania’s premier and diversified business groups with over 50 wholly-owned and associate companies that enable them to provide employment to several thousands. Its manufacturing and export operations that cater to the demands all over East Africa are proof of the fact that its ambitions have no limit.
Always keen on exploring new vistas, which the ever-growing Tanzanian market provides, the company also keeps challenges and risk in the purview while doing business in the African continent. The sole purpose of QGL is empowerment of the locals in Tanzania, and it has tried to bridge the existing gap by setting up state-of-the-art energy facilities, infrastructure, revolutionizing communications and agriculture sectors, and working towards high-quality real estate options.
QGL produces a variety of products, many of which are market leaders in Tanzania and are exported to a number of countries spanning the African continent. Providing quality products and services to Tanzania with great zeal and passion, the Group represents some of the world’s most reputed organizations. Currently, QGL is venturing into newer businesses providing a variety of high-tech services such as e-education, e-health care, media service and mobile applications.
Quality Health Limited (QHL) is one of QGL’s latest ventures, wherein they have introduced the concept of e-MediClinic. QHL plans to launch a number of such clinics all over the country, which will help them to eventually reach out to the rural population as well, and provide them with the most advanced medical facilities in the whole of Africa.
FastaFasta, a mobile application-based service, has been initiated by QGL to provide services for booking taxis and bodabodas instantly. Such an application, which is quite popular all over the world, has been introduced in East Africa for the very first time. It aims to solve all the transport-related needs of the country.
Quality Media Group (QMG), a subsidiary of QGL, is a company that is in the process of becoming the largest media agency in East Africa. It is the one-stop media service provider, dealing in branding, radio, print and TV advertisements, billboards, signage, electronic media, and 3D animation. QGL gives high weightage to education, and believes that it should reach every citizen of this country. It is currently very difficult for the people to gain access to professional teachers, good quality books, and proper educational assessment. It is thus, for this purpose that it introduced e-education, a new concept in East Africa, which could reach even the rural parts of Tanzania at the most reasonable prices.
Ensuring that the Group contributes to the overall growth of the nation, it covers a wide spectrum of activities including agriculture, contracting, finance and investments, fisheries, food processing, manufacturing, services, trading and agency representation, and health among others.
Quality Group has also expanded their domain by forming long-term partnerships with numerous international brands. The world’s leading car rental brand, Hertz, recently entered into an alliance with Quality Group as a franchiser, with the aim of changing the way people travel in Tanzania. The Group has also partnered with high-end automobile companies like Chevrolet, Isuzu and Honda to bring elite brands in the country. Other internationally known brands like Kubota, Sonalika, BEML, Bridgestone, ASPEE and Greaves Cotton are also the main partners for the company’s farm equipment and automotive businesses.
The Group is now looking out to increase the export market of its manufactured products by seeking newer territories and adapting its products to suit these markets, and in the process, achieve self-reliance. To this end, ‘Employment Support’ for Tanzanian nationals, an area that has always been a priority to the Group, will continue to play a pivotal role in every facet of the Group’s growth and development.
Today, QGL and Manji, both are continually contributing towards the growth of Tanzania, and foresee the country’s economic progress to take place soon. When asked to share his vision for the future growth of the company, Manji says, “I want to see Africa, and specifically Tanzania, in the leadership map for bringing in the next generation change in the world. This, I believe, can happen only with sheer passion. In the near future, I see my company at such a great height, where it is capable of supporting efficiently, the aspirations of the people of Africa and develop the continent faster.”