“Aiming to Expand to Africa”: 10 on the Weekend – Ludovic Mapessa
Ten On The Weekend is a semi-weekly feature in IMI, the concept of which is simple: Each time, we ask the same ten questions of a different industry figure, letting readers get to know the interviewee on a more personal and informal level than they might in an ordinary business setting.
Our guest this weekend is Ludovic Mapessa of ROC Citizenship.
How do you spend your weekends?
For me, the weekend means family time, so my wife, my son, and I normally go out for bike rides (in the wintertime, as Dubai can be extremely hot over the summer), go to the swimming pool, try to find new cafes/restaurants for breakfast, or invite friends over for barbecues. We started taking tennis lessons as a family as well. We all share the same coach. She trains my wife and me first and then our son. It is nice to have a family activity. Occasionally, I go with a group of friends for camping trips to the desert or beach which helps me disconnect from the busy life of Dubai.
What are your top three business goals this year?
The top goal will be to expand our business. We have done very well so far by opening a branch of ROC Citizenship in Canada last year. Our aim would be to expand to Africa, in particular Ghana and the West African region, where we have built strong relationships.
My second goal is to grow and develop the team. We have great investment migration advisors within our ranks willing to provide the best solutions to our clients but also looking to learn more about the industry and how to improve as professionals.
The third would be to be recognized as a reliable source of expertise within the investment migration industry.
What is your biggest business concern right now?
The lack of global movement due to the pandemic. Prior to COVID, we used to travel to meet clients and partners. Although Zoom has been of tremendous help over the last year, we have noticed that connections have taken more time to form. Nothing beats an old face-to-face meeting to build strong relationships.
Which book is on your nightstand right now?
I must admit that I am not much of a book reader. I mostly read the news on my tablet or take courses on LinkedIn learning. I have also started learning Spanish on the Babel app.
How and when did you first get into the investment migration industry?
I have been aware of citizenship by investment for quite a while but never realised it was an industry on its own until I joined ROC Citizenship back in 2018. The Caribbean passports were well known to me, but I did not know this extended to Europe, Turkey and more.
What was your proudest moment as a service provider?
It must be the time when we helped an Iranian family acquire citizenship in Dominica. At that time, our client was facing issues to renew his company trade license in the UAE due to his Iranian passport. Without his new citizenship, he would have been forced to leave the country with his two children who had lived in the UAE all their lives. This particular case, which had a tricky process as well, proved how vital our industry is for some people and that our services provide long-term solutions.
Which investment migration market development has surprised you the most in the last year?
It would be Turkey. Despite the level of investment required and not having visa-free access to Europe and the UK, the Turkish program has generated a lot of interest in particular in the Middle East. One must admit that it is an investor-friendly option as applicants can really get returns on their investment.
If you could go 10 years back in time, what business decision would you change?
I would not change anything. I believe that everything that happens in life happens for a reason. All the decisions that I took in my life have led me to where I am today, and I cannot complain about my current situation.
What investment migration industry personality do you most admire?
For me, it is just more than a personality, it would be all the actors in our industry that help the sector grow. From the applications processors to the head of the CBI units; the government authorities backing our industry, the IMC advocating for us day in and day out; our colleagues in other companies assisting individuals on a daily basis. Pretty much all the people involved in our trade and who are helping to raise the bar of the investment migration sector as a whole.
If all goes according to plan, what will you be doing five years from now?
My goal is to help ROC Citizenship grow and become a well-known and reputable company within our industry as well as a source of information for those considering a second citizenship or permanent residency. I hope I to have have achieved that in five years’ time.