Meet the Boss: Bolaji Akinboro, CEO, Cellulant Nigeria Limited
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.
You must be very disciplined, have strong determination to succeed and the tenacity to follow things through.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Why do you want to do with your life?
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.
Bolaji Akinboro is a co-founder of Cellulant Corporation and the CEO of Cellulant Nigeria Limited. Cellulant builds and operates mobile commerce networks, and offers services like mobile banking, merchant payments, web payments, digital content, and agency banking services. It serves banks, merchants, and network operators in Africa.