MBI Group is a privately-owned group of companies, active across three continents. Rooted in Zambia, it is focused on five core sectors: mining, energy, agriculture, fast-moving consumer goods, and soft-drinks.
The companies at the heart of MBI Group are under the direct control of the Yousuf family. For more than 20 years, the family has continually worked to grow a diverse portfolio of leading businesses. Each family member has particular responsibility for different areas of business interest, under the family’s overall direction and control. In 2018, the family established the MBI Group in order to bring together its various business interests.
Every strategic decision taken by MBI Group is done so as a family and is reflective of the family’s entrepreneurial spirit. The Yousuf family places the highest value on upholding integrity and are guided by their moral convictions. Because of this, they do not invest in alcohol, drugs, gambling, or armaments.
The Yousuf family’s first business venture, importing and distributing clothes and textiles from around the world, was established during their time in the United Kingdom. After returning to Zambia, the family’s place of birth, in the mid 1990’s, Zuneid Yousuf and his brother Ibrahim set up Tangy Drinks, now the third largest soft-drink producer in Zambia behind Coca-Cola and Pepsi Co.
From its humble beginnings as a backyard business, the success of Tangy Drinks was quickly replicated in the fast-moving consumer goods industry, distributing everything from clothes to mosquito nets throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Today the Yousuf brothers have an extensive FMCG distribution network across 4 countries and expanding rapidly. The business’ success is based on intimate local knowledge, and the ability to deliver affordable prices at speed without compromising quality, efficiency and reliability.
The Yousuf family’s diverse business interests developed further through their involvement with Neria’s Investments. After initial failure in their first bid, Neria’s Investments was awarded the contract to supply fertilizer to the Zambian market in 2015 following a highly competitive tender process. At the time, Southern Africa was facing severe food shortages due to the El Nino weather phenomenon. In part due to Neria’s Investments efficient supply of fertilizer on credit basis under the Zambian Farmer Input Subsidy Program (FISP), Zambia was able to produce a food surplus and export vital produce to neighbouring countries facing a food shortage crisis.
MBI Group’s portfolio also extends to energy and fuels through Delta Energy. In December 2015 the opportunity arose to supply white fuels to the Zambian market, at a time when the country was facing an impending fuel crisis resulting in severe shortages. Following a selective bidding process triggered by the supply difficulties Zambia faced, Delta Energy and three other international companies were awarded contracts to supply white fuels.
Since March 2016, Delta Energy’s unrivalled ability to deliver has ensured a continuous flow of fuel, sustaining the needs of the Zambian people and its economy. Delta Energy’s contract with the government, for the first time in the country’s history, was based on white fuels being supplied to the government on credit, thereby eliminating subsidies which previously drained government funds. This has set a precedent for the way in which business is now done in Zambia.
The Yousuf family’s mining interests have also developed significantly over recent years. The opportunities presented in the Yousuf family’s home country, Zambia, and notably in the Copper Belt region, has led to the exploration of gold, copper, cobalt, and several other precious metals through a series of joint and private ventures. Projects undertaken by the family have often involved the deployment of new technology, facilitating the extraction of metals previously deemed economically unviable.
The success of MBI Group demonstrates the ability of African businesses to significantly outperform rival international businesses in the provision of vital goods and services. Each business in MBI Group’s portfolio exercises a considerable degree of autonomy, relying on the family’s belief that local knowledge and experience is key to maximise operational efficiency.