Created by Mr Malta FORREST on 22 February 1922 in Katanga Province of the then Belgian Congo (currently the Democratic Republic of Congo), the Entreprise Générale Malta Forrest (EGMF) is the oldest and most experienced company in its line of business in the region.
A forwarding company at the outset, it rapidly veered to the mining sector, and as of 1933 began mining gold in the Kolwezi region. From 1937 to 1944 it worked the copper mines of Musonoi, while in parallel (in 1939) exploiting the Kasekelesa manganese mine in southern Katanga.
From 1951 to 1954, the company participated in the start-up of the Kisenge manganese mine, through both mining and civil engineering works. At that time, the Special Committee of Katanga entrusted the company with the construction of the entire sewerage and public road networks of the city of Kolwezi, as well as its airfield. It was around this period that the company was converted to a civil engineering firm. It would then go on to play an important role in the construction of the infrastructures and facilities of the cupriferous region in western Katanga, and would continue indefatigably its business activities throughout all the political and economic crises that the country experienced after gaining its independence.
From 1954 to 1968, Mr Victor Eskenazi-Forrest, the founder’s adoptive son, assisted Mr Malta FORREST in managing the company.
In 1968, EGMF became a “Société de Personnes à Responsabilité Limitée (SPRL)” [private limited company] with a capital 155,000,000 Congolese francs. It then embarked on a series of major road and building works financed essentially by international organisations such as the World Bank and the African Development Bank. These projects included in particular the refurbishing of the Kamina Military Base for the account of the government.
The civil engineering works would last some fifteen years without interruption, and comprise various phases. EGMF distinguished itself also in building airfields such as the one in Lubumbashi, and in establishing or refurbishing telecommunication stations.
When Mr Malta FORREST died in 1974, Messrs Victor ESKENAZI-FORREST and George Arthur FORREST were appointed Managing Directors.
In 1986, Mr George Arthur FORREST, the son of Mr Malta FORREST, took over the reins of the company and would give it a new lease of life. An important road network rehabilitation programme was put into force, for the account of the government in the urban centres of Lubumbashi, Likasi, Kolwezi and Kalemie.
In 1990, EGMF carried out major strip mining works in Kolwezi for the account of Gécamines: five million m3 per year, with an objective of twelve million m3. The events of 1991 and the economic recession that followed put an end to this effort in May 1992. It did however mark the beginning of the company’s veering to the mining sector.
After a period during everything ground to a virtual standstill due to the deep recession that the country went through, as of May 1995, EGMF took part in the revival of the industrial activity of Gécamines by offering a financial package that enabled this company to start mining the cobalt deposit of Kasombo 1 as of the end of 1995 and in a partnership with EGMF, and to attain a production of more than 2,000 tons of cobalt and 8,000 tons of copper.
EGMF emerged as an initiator and primer of new forms of partnership between a state-owned company, Gécamines, and the private sector during this difficult period in the history of the Congo, to revive industrial activity in Katanga.
To coordinate its business activities better and to bring about synergies for the development of his industrial group, in 1995 Mr George Arthur FORREST created the George Forrest International Group.
As the cradle of this group, EGMF occupies a special position within the scope of George Forrest International Africa (GFIA).