NSE-listed Longhorn Publishers is the latest company looking to venture into the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Centum Investment Company holds a controlling stake in the book publisher.
The firm has secured government approval to supply nine book titles. Longhorn is among publishers that recently won a Ksh2.97 Billion tender to supply Grade 7 school textbooks in Kenya.
The DRC is one of Africa’s most-populous nations with over 94 million people. The mineral-rich nation was admitted to the East African Community (EAC) in April 2022.
“We are confident that the entry to DRC will give us access to a market of over 20 million learners which will have a significant impact on improving our shareholder returns in the future,’’ stated Longhorn Chief Executive Maxwell Wahome.
So far, banking giants Equity and KCB are among the biggest Kenyan companies which have set up shop in DRC. Equity, which was the first major Kenyan company to enter the market, has also been facilitating trade missions that have seen dozens of Kenyan companies committing to venturing into the DRC market.
At a trade dinner in April hosted by Equity Bank and attended by DRC President Felix Tshisekedi, CEO James Mwangi announced that 26 Kenyan companies had committed to making investments in DRC worth over Ksh184 Billion ($1.6 Billion). The firms were part of Kenya’s delegation in an Equity-led trade mission to DRC last year.
Among them are property firm Optiven Ltd, household goods giant Bidco, solar equipment supplier Greenlight Planet, consultancy firm Geomaps, high-end real estate architects Nyanja Associates, B2B financial services firm Rentco Africa and mattress manufacturer Jumbo Foam Limited.
KCB earlier in August completed the Ksh15 Billion acquisition of Trust Merchant Bank, the DRC’s third-largest bank, giving it a foothold in the DRC market.