Africa Business Communities

[Interview] Adan Ashkir, Tax Consultant, BDO, The Netherlands

Adan Ashkir, Tax Consultant with international Dutch firm, BDO, speaks with Africa Business Communities about the firm’s growth, expansion into the African market, and more.

Would you please introduce BDO?

The Dutch BDO Firm is a member of the global BDO network, which is the fifth largest audit and accounting firm in the world. BDO is an international network of public accounting, tax and advisory firms which perform professional services under the name of BDO.

Founded in 1963, BDO was known as Binder Seidman International Group at its inception. After a series of expansionary moves around the world, it adopted the name Binder Dijker Otte & Co in 1973. Today it is simply known as BDO, a single seamless professional services firm, cutting across cultural, geographical and industry frontiers. The fee income of the member firms in the BDO network, including the members of their exclusive alliances, was $7.30 billion in 2015. These firms have representation in 154 territories, with 64,300 people working out of over 1,400 offices worldwide.

In which industries does BDO operate and who are your clients?

BDO is an international network of public accounting, tax and advisory firms. We advise businesses and organisations from virtually every sector there is – which of course means working closely with them. Each sector has its own unique characteristics and business environment, so having specialist knowledge of these can give us a vital edge. Our clients can be found in Technology, Media & Telecoms, Manufacturing, Real Estate & Construction, Not-for-profit (including charities and public sector organisations) etc. Our distinctive reputation for maintaining close relationships with our clients is built upon our commitment to all our stakeholders that what matters to them also matters to us. We work with our clients to define what exceptional client service means to them and we aim always to bring insight and up to date thinking that they can use to meet their objectives.

Why did you set up a BDO Africa Desk in the Netherlands?

Dutch businesses are focusing on expanding into Africa. I believe the trend for market consolidation is on the rise in Africa and that will continue to be a key factor in our network’s inevitable expansion. The Africa Desk in the Netherlands has a close cooperation with the Africa Desk coordinated by our member firm in South Africa from the Johannesburg office, therefore BDO Netherlands has a close cooperation with BDO Africa. BDO Africa Desk in the Netherlands can help clients find solutions for challenges facing their commercial ambitions in Africa and in the Netherlands. BDO Netherlands will therefore become a robust bridge that connects the two worlds. Our African network aims to advise our clients on the most efficient way of establishing a business, including examination of accounting, tax, legal, statutory and exchange control requirements in each African country.

Research conducted by BDO shows that clients want a single point of contact when operating in different business jurisdictions. In order to achieve this we have established a network of BDO member firms and Independent Referral Firms across the whole of Africa. To assist Dutch and African companies that want to explore the abundant investment opportunities Africa or Netherland has to offer, we have set up dedicated Africa Desks in Johannesburg and in the Netherlands. Our experts can also assist African entrepreneurs with their first steps into the European market.

You will be participating in the Africa Business Communities Networking Event in Amsterdam on March 8. With whom would you be most interested in connecting, in terms of networking?

  • Companies seeking to invest or do business in Africa or in the Netherlands; and

  • NGOs and foundations, to help them develop effective charitable activities.

There are numerous cultural, legal, financial, infrastructural and risk management challenges to consider. BDO can help with all of these. We are committed to providing our clients with a globally consistent set of multidisciplinary audit, tax and advisory services based on thorough industry knowledge.

What would you want other participants to contact you for?

  • Structuring and planning for international taxation;

  • Reorganising corporate structure in Africa or in the Netherlands;

  • Performing taxation compliance, expatriate payroll and accounting/audit services.

What can you say about the targets, plans and ambitions of BDO in 2016?

BDO total fee income has increased 13% in the year leading up to 30 September 2015, as much as $7.3bn, following the completion of 19 successful mergers. Persistence in developing our network is a defining and vital element of our strategy as the continued expansion of our global footprint means that we can continue to deliver the exceptional service levels our clients expect. BDO established per 1 December 2015 a local presence in three new member firms in Ivory Coast, Niger and Togo. We hope to expand more and more into Africa. It is expected that we will continue our growth path.

I look forward to a successful collaboration with BDO Africa and with the network as a whole.

Which African countries do you predict will perform best in 2016?

In 2013/14, Ethiopia’s economy grew by 10.3%, making the country one of Africa’s top performing economies and this strong growth is expected to continue in 2015 and 2016. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) ranks Ethiopia as among the five fastest growing economies in the world.

Mauritania continues to achieve the highest and steadiest growth in North Africa, supported by favourable macroeconomic and structural policies. This was mainly boosted in 2014 by parts of the mining sector (iron ore) and construction and on the demand side by private consumption and private investment.

Mozambique is mainly driven by so-called mega projects and large infrastructure investment, financed by foreign direct investment and the government. Growth is expected to remain strong, but more efforts are needed to broaden the economy and make growth more inclusive. In 2014 real GDP grew by 7.6% and growth is expected to remain strong, at 7.5% and 8.1% in 2015 and 2016, respectively, boosted by the construction, transportation and communications sectors.

All these facts appear in the African economic outlook 2015. I believe Ethiopia, Mauritania and Mozambique will play a pivotal role in the overall growth of Africa’s economy.




Africa Business Communities Networking Event 

Tuesday 8 March 2016

5:00 - 7:00 PM 
Amstel Hotel | Amsterdam | The Netherlands

After great editions in HamburgLagos and Accra the Africa Business Communities Networking Event is returning to Amsterdam!

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