The Bank of Kinshasa
The creation of the Bank of Kinshasa, an audacious initiative
Augustin Dokolo Sanu always wanted to build a great Congo, constructed on a strong economy. This fact is particularly clear in his book Telema Congo.
The book gathers letters and lectures from the mid 60’s that reveal the author’s real personality: cultivated, uninhibited, creative, thirsty for travel, passionately motivating his fellow countrymen towards action and work and encouraging economic partners to conquer the world.
While compiling this book, M. Dokolo was already the owner of a chain of shops, a taxi company, a disco in Kinshasa (the first one to be held by a black man), a trust company, and a mining exploitation company for which he was the first black man to obtain a licence.
He then decided to launch the construction of a great bank. For this new enterprise, he obtained support from the government which was anxious to claim economic independence from the former colonial power.
The status of the new bank was presented on December 17th, 1969 to the solicitors.
M. Dokolo gave up his own private residence, a building on Tombalbaye avenue, to the bank. The building became the bank’s headquarters and after a little refurbishment was inaugurated on the 20th November 1970 and opened to the public on December 4th 1970.
The Bank of Kinshasa, a national vision
In order to succeed in this enterprise, Augustin Dokolo poached young managers from rival companies and as early as 1971, M. Dokolo recruited ten recently graduated students from different tribes and provinces whom he sent to Europe for further training.
Thanks to an efficient commercial policy, especially towards nationalized companies, the new bank soon started making profits. It was to expand throughout the country: Lubumbashi, Gbadolite, Goma, Isiro, Kisangani, Kalemie, Mbanza-Ngungu, Kolwezi, Likasi, Beni, Bunia, Butembo, Boma, Inkisi, Matadi and Mbuji-Mayi. All these agencies were run by young dynamic managers and competed with foreign banks backed up by international trusts.
At the beginning of 1986, M. Dokolo was forced to leave the bank and abandon his projects of opening other agencies in Bukavu, Kananga and Moanda where buildings had been bought. Similar projects had been envisaged for Inkisi, Mwene-Ditu, Idiofa, Mbandaka.
The Bank of Kinshasa, an avant-garde enterprise
The Bank of Kinshasa brought about a revolution in the practices and functioning of banks in Kinshasa and in the rest of the country.
In 1973, the Bank of Kinshasa computerized the processing of operations thus becoming the first institution resorting to this technology and this even prior to the Central Bank. The Bank of Kinshasa also distinguished itself by allowing small and medium sized companies to access financial help which had previously been denied them.
As early as the beginning of 1976, the Bank of Kinshasa was the first bank to be managed (including its agencies and branches) solely by Congolese. Furthermore, these managers where amongst the most well paid in the sector.
The social advantages that the bank offered its employees were considerable. They enjoyed a social and medical centre fully equipped with an operating theatre, maternity service, radiology service, dentist, house doctor, paediatrician, microbiology laboratory, hospital beds etc.
Several banks from Kinshasa, including the Central Bank, where inspired by the example given by the Bank of Kinshasa.
A strong entrepreneurial vision