Close Up interview with the Co-Founder of Africa’s leading payments ecosystem: Bolaji Akinboro
1. What part of your job keeps you awake at night?
I constantly think about how to use technology to capture the full potential of the agriculture value chain in Africa and help the continent achieve self-sufficiency and bring down the food import bill. Africa currently loses 32% of crops produced – which represents enough food to feed approximately 1.6 billion people – due to broken value chains and wastage, thus importing over US$35bn of food annually.
2. Name three traits required to survive in this role.
You must be very disciplined, have strong determination to succeed and the tenacity to follow things through.
3. What is the biggest misconception about your job?
Many people think that the job of a CEO in a company like mine is just about sitting at the top of the ladder and giving orders. But I understand that being a CEO also means to going to the field and experiencing the reality of things for yourself. This will help you better understand the people we are serving and finding solutions for their problems. It also means understanding every part of your business to be able to lead your team.
4. Who has had the greatest impact on your career? And why?
I would say my elder brother, Kayode Akinboro, because he introduced me to books at a very young age which opened my eyes to lots of possibilities and hence my career path.
5. What is the best career advice you’ve received?
One piece of advice that kept coming from all the great mentors I’ve worked with was to follow the problem and embrace it; and to listen to people to be able to fully understand the problem from different perspectives. This will enable you to come up with a systematic approach in solving the problem.
6. The top reason for your professional success?
I am good at identifying issues and working on a solution for them as well.
I listen to people. I am a strong believer that everyone has something to contribute. Listening to people has helped me identify problems as well as given me ideas on how to fix those problems – which has helped me professionally.
7. How do you relax?
I like to spend time with my family and playing with my kids, especially because I don’t often get the opportunity to spend quality time with them.
8. By what time in the morning do you like to be at your desk?
I usually get to my desk 7:15am sharp, this gives me quiet time to properly plan my day before the rest of the team gets in.
9. Your favourite job interview question?
What do you want to do with your life?
10. The biggest perk of your job?
The biggest perk would be working with a group of beautiful, amazing, young, talented and dynamic people who believe that Africans are the ones responsible for developing Africa.