The Business Year

Diandra Vaal Neto

ANGOLA - Tourism

Diandra Vaal Neto

Executive Board Member, Organizaçoes Chana

Bio

Diandra Vaal Neto graduated from Stetson University in the US with a bachelor’s in business administration and minor in family business. While in US, she created different start-ups such as Clube Das Empresarias, an online platform to promote female entrepreneurship and woman empowerment. She was selected by McKinsey and Company as the first Next Generation Woman’s Leaders from Angola, attending the prestigious conference in Paris in 2018. In 2019, she joined Organizações Chana as an executive board member and was in charge of areas such as marketing and innovation. In 2020, she became the General Manager of Chana Assistência Técnica.

During the pandemic, Organizaçoes Chana took the opportunity to rethink its processes and update them accordingly for the future, emerging stronger than before.

What is the mission and vision of Organizações Chana?

Since the beginning, our goal was always to be the leaders in the transportation business. We used to sell second-hand cars, before we adapted to the requirements of the market and moved to selling new cars from different brands. Almost 30 years later, we decided to rethink our business and invest in representing brands. In 2020, we obtained the representation rights for BMW in Angola, and are also to represent Chinese brand BAIC starting this year. In addition, we have an automotive business with multiple brands. We sell and service those cars, offering a repair service, and operating a rent-a-car business.

The pandemic has been a huge problem for many sectors in the country. How has Chana adapted to this new reality and to the changing relationships with clients?

We had many problems of several types, including importing parts for repairs. We were forced to cut both costs and staff, halving our operation at the peak of the pandemic. The positive side is that we took advantage of discovering new ways of doing business by looking for new technologies and software and by researching how other companies around the world were adapting. We used this time to improve our skills as a company. We commenced work toward ISO 9001 certification to improve our processes, which is ongoing. Were it not for the pandemic, we would not have gone down that route. Our processes and units were reorganized because each has its own management team, and we took time to be closer to managers and understand the issues they face, brainstorming solutions as a team. We had to multitask as well and adapt to the changes.

What do the representation agreements for BMW and BAIC represent for your company?

BMW is a dream come true. We keep direct relationship with BMW South Africa, integrating the global network of BMW. We are learning from one of the best premium brands out there. In Angola, we want to make people trust the brand again and make BMW the premium brand that it was back in the day, as it used to rank first or second in sales terms in Angola. On the other hand, BAIC is a volume car brand, affordable in price, but with excellent quality.

The expected increase in international tourists promises revenue stream for the rental car sector. What is your vision of the Angolan tourism sector for the coming years?

Tourism is set to become one of the fastest-growing sectors in the country, and companies in the transportation business that do not look toward that market are doomed to fall behind. With COVID-19 we had to look into local tourism, as commuting in the provinces remains challenging due to inadequate infrastructure in place. Without car rental availability, the tourist remains hotel-bound. Angolans do not have a culture of renting cars, although that is changing. Bringing tourism from all over the world is a win-win situation for the country, local businesses, and the tourists themselves.

Can you tell us about your experience as a female leader in the sector?

I do not see many women in this sector, and moreover, I am one of the youngest people in it today. Chana is a family business and I am its second generation. I am continuously learning about the automotive sector, which I believe to be the sector of the future. Mobility is a huge issue in Angola and we have been discussing possible futures, although very little headway has been made to date. Now, our company is diversifying into car rentals. For the coming generations, we need to be highly driven and aware that this country is the responsibility of us Angolans. Undoubtedly we need to find partners abroad, but it is ultimately our responsibility to rebuild the country. This land can offer everything given the vision to put to work the resources available to us.

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