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José Carlos Figueiredo Chairman, Teleservice

ANGOLA - Industry

José Carlos Figueiredo

Chairman, Teleservice

Bio

José Carlos Figueiredo holds a degree in Biology, a master’s in epidemiology, and a PhD in epidemiology. He worked for the English government for five years on development projects in Liberia, Uganda, Kenya, and Namibia. In 2014, he moved to Angola, and a year later he joined his family’s group of companies. He joined Teleservice in 2017 and was appointed CEO in 2019.

"We mainly provide services associated with the security business, which encompasses everything from industrial security, electronic security, close protection officers, and driver services, to rent a car, cash in transit, and meet and greet at the airport."
Teleservice provides a range of security services and products, including industrial and electronic security and aerial surveillance services, with plans to transform its service provision scope to more specific and high-quality services in the future.
Teleservice is a 100% Angolan company. Based on the private security legislation in force in Angola, what services and products are provided by the company?

We mainly provide services associated with the security business, which encompasses everything from industrial security, electronic security, close protection officers, and driver services, to rent a car, cash in transit, and meet and greet at the airport. We have a strong marine security component, where we have a vessel fleet that we operate and maintain that works for the oil companies to ensure their security offshore. We are also developing a drone unit, aerial surveillance unit, and canine unit. We have partners that allow us to provide other services such business intelligence and cyber security.

What have been the key milestones of the company since its establishment in 1993?

After the first election in 1993, there was a significant change in the political and even the military setting in the country, wherein a unified armed forces was created, and the government was accepted internationally for the first time. Certain ways of doing business had to change, one of them being private security. As a paramilitary company, one of our first milestones was helping the government with the security of state assets that were being used by foreign corporations. In 2002, we saw a second major milestone, which was the transition from paramilitary company to a civilian security company, and that change had to happen quickly because of political objectives. We had to guarantee that the image of Angola had changed, from a wartime country to a nation of peace. And so, our security apparatus in the oil companies changed from having weapons to unarmed people and in white shirts. This change had to happen quickly, but we had the assistance of the government through numerous incentives. Our third big milestone, in 2007-2010, was having to abide by the new challenges imposed by our clients that needed much more conformity, which included external audits for our company as well as ISO 9001 certification. This was a struggle for a paramilitary company that now required an array of documents and related costs. Yet, we achieved this because our clients demanded it. Our fourth milestone was the way we adapted to the 2016/18 crisis, where clients were pushing for lower prices and not pursuing what they deemed non-essential services.

What are the current trends in the private security industry and what have been your latest investments?

For 2022, our main objective is to invest in the training of our staff from the ground up. We have upgraded our training center, which is just south of Luanda, to create the conditions to be able to continue the training of our 4,000 employees. More than 2,500 people are being trained every year and in 2022 we are focusing much more on that especially for senior staff to guarantee that we are up to date on the standards of security service worldwide, that we are adapting to this new reality where the security officer is much more of a public relationship client-driven service provider, and not just person standing in the corner. We have to change that mentality among our employees.

Aldeia Nova has decided to use drones to monitor its agricultural production. How can your technology help farmers with optimized production?

We have a client in the agriculture sector, with whom we provided security, and it becomes clear that once you have a drone flying, you can do much more than provide security. You can take pictures and monitor the farm the spraying and all other activities for better planning. Farms here are huge, measuring between 1,000 and 7,000ha. If the entire area is not fenced, especially if one’s plots of land are scattered and not on contiguous plots of land, this means that incursions by animals or people are common, and security must be guaranteed. This is an area that needs to be taken more seriously in a country like Angola, where the development of industrial agriculture is at a nascent stage and gradually evolving.

What are your plans for 2023 and your outlook for the future of private security companies in Angola?

In the next eight years to 2030, Teleservice must transform its service provision scope from the normal security services that are being provided by other companies to more specific and high-quality services. There is a market for it if the investment and service are planned properly, and this is our primary focus at the moment. The backbone of our service are the men and women out there providing a service. Our team accounts for around 80% of our costs, including insurance, salaries, training, and uniforms. If we lower our prices, we are also lowering standards and salaries, and people will therefore become worse off. Such a policy is unsustainable if we intend to continue providing a premium service.

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