Q&A: Jonas Bogoshi – Gijima shifts business focus

Gijima, a South African JSE (Johannesburg Stock Exchange) listed ICT company announced their 2011 annual financial results this morning at the Hilton Hotel, Sandton, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Jonas Bogoshi, Gijima CEO (image source: file photo)

Jonas Bogoshi, Gijima CEO declared that the Who am I Online (WAIO) project was a watershed moment for Gijima, as a result the company has decided to write it off.

Gijima was heavily impacted by its financial settlements, about R374 million (about US $51.8 million) with South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs.

Bogoshi revealed that Gijima is focusing on “ Vision 2025”, forming new partnerships, exploring the African business markets, exploring mobility and building efficient applications.

Gijima recorded a strong second half growth, with earning before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) posted at R119.5 million (about US $16.5 million). Gijima’s revenue for the year decreased by 12.8% to R2.57 billion (about US$346 million), the company’s revenue increased by 5.3% excluding WAIO project.

Speaking to ITNewsAfrica, Bogoshi discussed Gijima’s new business strategy and growth prospects.

ITNewsAfrica: Is Gijima considering expanding its business footprint in Africa?

Jonas Bogoshi: Gijima is considering providing new services in Africa. The company will provide services for clients in the ICT mining and financial services.

Africa has numerous business opportunities. Gijima’s strategy is to go more into Africa, it’s not an easy market to operate in. It’s very challenging and we need people who are familiar and understand the market to partner with us.

ITNewsAfrica: Upon entering the African market, what will be your key focus area?

Jonas Bogoshi: We will focus on two key areas, to grow the enterprise resource planning (ERP) business systems across Africa and the client’s system integration. Gijima foresees expanding across the continent with operations in Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Tanzania and Ghana. Gijima provides mainly ICT solutions for mining clients. In Tanzania we provide ICT financial services.

ITNewsAfrica: What is your business strategy in Africa?

Jonas Bogoshi: To provide ICT solutions for mining, deploying ERP solutions and applications, and the development of infrastructure and support for the financial and public sectors.

ITNewsAfrica: How is Gijima planning to grow its presence in Africa?

Jonas Bogoshi: Our current strategy is to grow behind our client. Gijima needs a strong presence in the African continent. The plan is to enter the market aggressively in a managed way.

ITNewsAfrica: Why is Gijima focused on cloud computing? Why do you think it’s a lucrative market?

Jonas Bogoshi: Cloud Computing is changing the way IT companies provide services. All the large IT manufacturing companies are adding cloud to their business.

Gijima is investing their business towards cloud computing. There are vast opportunities for cloud computing in Africa. It helps companies to move from capital expenditure to operational expenditure. It’s an affordable way to access services.

Gijima’s investment on improving bandwidth will make cloud computing easy to implement. A lot of African companies will experience huge growth from cloud computing services.

ITNewsAfrica: What are your sentiments regarding cloud computing uptake in Africa?

Jonas Bogoshi: We’re slightly behind the uptake curve and the global market is accelerating their cloud-computing roll out.  Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) including IBM, HP, Microsoft, SAP, major growth is outside South Africa. There’s  huge demand for IT services on the African continent.

South African ICT companies should partner with African companies to enter the continent’s market.

ITNewsAfrica: How will Gijima handle the business pressure from multinational software companies moving into the cloud computing space?

Gijima’s competitive advantage is the fundamental knowledge of our clients. We are building our own capabilities and we have to compete with other major companies.

ITNewsAfrica: Which African country are you considering entering?

Jonas Bogoshi: We can’t run away from Nigeria. Gijima’s strategy team is working on our plans in that region.

ITNewsAfrica: What is your key investment area for the next coming year?

Jonas Bogoshi: Mobility presents a huge opportunity. With Apple, Gijima is creating capabilities to develop applications to give companies the ability to access information in their existing applications.

Gijima is building its own open ERP for medium sized companies. The project has been piloted in South Africa with a number of key clients. The roll-out for the African market will depend on the success in South Africa.

ITNewsAfrica: What sort of broadband opportunity currently exists for your business? Will you be exploring those avenues in Africa?

Jonas Bogoshi: Gijima won’t be building broadband infrastructure. The company will use existing broadband to deploy services. 85% of our business is to partner with clients that provide broadband.

Gijima prefers long-term annuity contracts, with about 60% of the business based on durable projects.  It cautions against an economic downturn and uncertainty.

ITNewsAfrica: What is Gijima’s plan for the Who am I Online (WAIO) project moving forward?

Gijima will focus on infrastructure support. Gijima’s partners will build the application. The South African Department of Home Affairs needs to upskill their staff to meet the demands for the project. The development will be finalized soon.

Gijima suffered a R374 million (about US $51.8 million) write off from the public sector’s WAIO project.

Bontle Moeng