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  • Mzamo Masito: Leading with Values at Google Africa

    In this season's finale, Dr. Mzamo Masito, Chief Marketing Officer at Google Africa, engages in a captivating and insightful dialogue that transcends the professional realm, delving into the profound interplay of personal philosophy, career trajectory, and transformative technological advancements in Africa.Masito's narrative begins with a reflective journey into his formative years and the philosophical underpinnings that shaped his approach to life and work. He credits his success to mentors and a deep-seated belief in integrity, competence, and consistency. These principles not only defined his framework of winning but also infused his professional life with a distinctive character.Remarkably, Masito challenges conventional corporate norms, embracing his unique identity and advocating for freedom in its multifaceted forms. This mindset stems from his experiences growing up under apartheid, instilling in him a profound understanding of freedom's value and the necessity of financial independence to speak truth to power.His professional journey, marked by rapid ascension in the corporate world, is attributed to a combination of hard work, strategic thinking, and the fortification of foundational qualities through therapy and self-awareness. Masito emphasizes the importance of mental health, particularly for African men, advocating for a shift in perception towards therapy and vulnerability.At Google, Masito's mandate aligns with the company's mission to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. He passionately discusses Google's initiatives in Africa, focusing on democratizing opportunity and leveraging technology for sustainable development. These efforts encompass a wide range of projects, from agriculture and health to education and data consolidation, all aimed at empowering the African continent.Masito's vision for the future is deeply rooted in his values of freedom, respect, and Ubuntu ("I am because we are"). He aspires to foster opportunities for others, ensuring that freedom is accompanied by tangible prospects for growth and advancement. This altruistic goal, coupled with his commitment to promoting communal values and competence, shapes his outlook on life and work.The episode concludes with a heartfelt expression of gratitude and a reaffirmation of Masito's commitment to facilitating positive change in Africa. His journey is imbued with personal struggles, triumphs, and a relentless pursuit of meaningful impact.

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  • Tarek Mouganie: A Mosaic of Innovation - Banking, Sports, and Arts

    In this episode of the Change Africa Podcast, we host Tarek Mouganie, the multifaceted founder and CEO of Affinity Africa. The episode traverses the diverse landscape of Tarek's life, from his rich Lebanese-Ghanaian heritage to his impactful strides in banking, art, sports, and entrepreneurship.The episode begins with an introduction to Tarek's intriguing background, highlighting his Lebanese roots intertwined with a deep Ghanaian upbringing. Tarek shares personal anecdotes about his journey from Kumasi, Ghana, to the prestigious halls of Cambridge University, where he pursued a PhD in Material Science and Engineering. Tarek then delves into the global and African economic landscapes, offering insights into the challenges and opportunities prevalent in the continent. A significant part of the conversation focuses on Tarek's transition from a successful career in corporations like Deloitte to establishing his own entrepreneurial venture in Ghana. His story is one of returning to roots and contributing to the country's growth, driven by a deep sense of purpose and a desire to impact social and economic development.In an inspiring turn, the discussion shifts to Tarek's athletic prowess, particularly his involvement in triathlons. He narrates his journey from being an academically inclined individual to discovering his love for sports, eventually leading to the founding of the Ghana Triathlon Federation. Here, he highlights the power of sports in transforming lives and communities.The conversation then steers towards Tarek's engagement with the nightlife and creative scene in Ghana, with a special focus on Frontback, a private members club, he helped establish. Tarek underscores the significance of the creative industry in Africa and its role in showcasing the continent's rich culture and arts to the world.Further, the episode explores Tarek's vision and the journey of Affinity Africa, his venture into digital banking. He discusses the challenges faced in establishing a digital bank in Ghana, the unique approach Affinity has taken in the banking sector, and its future aspirations.The episode also touches upon Tarek's involvement in the performing arts, particularly his association with Greenlight Stage and his passion for storytelling and performance arts. He emphasizes the importance of such platforms in promoting African stories and talents globally.In a heartfelt segment, Tarek reflects on his Lebanese-Ghanaian heritage and its influence on his entrepreneurial spirit. He attributes his resilience and adaptability to his background, highlighting the role of culture in shaping one's outlook and approach to life and business.
  • 6. Caleb Maru: Navigating Africa's Tech Ecosystem

    In this engaging episode of the Change Africa Podcast, we're joined by Caleb Maru, the founder of Tech Safari. Maru's company is at the forefront of amplifying the narratives of Africa’s tech sector, showcasing its potential to reshape the continent.Maru, who pivoted to the tech world after a stint in peace and security policy, shares his insights into the burgeoning African tech ecosystem. His career switch, driven by a desire for more fulfilling work, has given him a unique perspective on the tech landscape.Our conversation kicks off with the challenges of launching a tech company in Africa. Maru points out that the biggest hurdle for founders is not just identifying the right problem and market but also learning and adapting quickly in a market constrained by limited economic resources.Regulation, Maru argues, is another significant barrier for growing startups, particularly in Africa, where businesses often need to navigate multiple markets to manage currency risks effectively.Funding, a critical aspect of any startup's journey, also comes under scrutiny. Maru emphasizes the need for founders to create compelling stories to attract investors, suggesting that fundraising difficulties could stem from weak narratives or inherent issues within the startup.Looking ahead, Maru anticipates an increase in 'startup deaths,' but also opportunities for consolidation in the sector. He sees potential in smaller-scale acquisitions, which could be vital for energizing the tech ecosystem.On the role of government in technology development, Maru is critical of current policies, noting that they often create more obstacles than opportunities for startups. He calls for a more supportive regulatory and infrastructural environment to aid tech innovation.Narrative, according to Maru, is a key tool in a startup's arsenal. He advises differentiating the story told to customers from that pitched to investors, a strategy crucial for effective communication and resource mobilization.Maru concludes by describing the startup world as a strategic game where founders must balance bold claims with authenticity, aligning their strategies with their core values. Whether by selling a grand vision or adhering to a transparent identity, effective communication is essential for success in this dynamic arena.
  • 5. Ameyaw Debrah: The Evolution of Africa's Digital Media Landscape

    In this podcast episode, we speak to Ameyaw Kissi Debrah, a blogger and prominent figure in Ghana's online media landscape. Our conversation revolved around the evolution of the internet, blogging, and digital media in Ghana and Debrah's journey in this dynamic field.Ameyaw Debrah reflects on the evolution of blogging and the transition from traditional website-focused platforms to social media. We discuss the intricate balance of adapting consumer behaviour and content strategies to align with the changing digital landscape. This adaptability was evident in his personal journey, transitioning from just covering events to identifying as a blogger in the way of a new internet opportunity. Debrah delved into the transformation of content formats over the years, noting the shift towards social media content. He shared his experiences with early monetisation strategies, such as Google AdSense and direct advertising, and how this evolved into influencer marketing with major brands. The rise of video content, particularly on platforms like TikTok, was another key topic. Debrah shared his experiences and challenges with video platforms and discussed the evolution of his video-focused venture, Ameyaw TV.Looking towards the future, Debrah stressed the importance of evolving with the latest trends to sustain a digital media career. He acknowledged the difficulty in predicting future trends but expected technologies like AI to play a significant role. He emphasised the need for African countries to keep pace with global digital advancements to remain competitive.Debrah also highlighted the importance of diversity in content creation, encouraging exploration of niche areas such as environment, technology, or health. This approach, he believed, could unlock unexplored opportunities in African digital media.Lastly, Debrah shared insights on the challenges of creating a media company focused on video content. He emphasised the importance of starting early, adapting based on audience feedback, and maintaining a passion for one's work.
  • 4. Shadrack Frimpong: Creating A Blueprint For Sustainable Rural Development in Africa

    In this episode, we speak with Shadrack Frimpong, a global leader and academic, on his remarkable journey in impact and community development in Africa. Shadrack founded Cocoa360, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to facilitate access to education and improve health care through cocoa farming revenue. Shadrack has a PhD, an honorary doctorate, and two master's degrees and is currently in medical school training to be a physician.Shadrack's story begins in Tarkwa Breman, Ghana, where he was born to a peasant cocoa farmer and a charcoal seller. Despite his economic background, Shadrack has always shown remarkable leadership. From co-founding a Scholarship and Talents Club in high to guiding dozens of students in accessing global educational opportunities to Students for a Healthy Africa and the African Research Academies for Women, Shadrack is deeply committed to addressing crucial issues like health care and education in Africa. Our conversation centres on his unique approach to poverty alleviation. He challenges prevalent misconceptions and emphasizes the centrality of healthcare in addressing poverty. His critique extends to the inefficiencies in current resource allocation and the often misguided focus of development programs. Shadrack believes financial aid alone does not suffice in poverty alleviation; health and well-being are equally critical.Cocoa360, his nonprofit, is a testament to Shadrack's innovative approach. This model ingeniously integrates healthcare, education, and cocoa farming, enabling communities to sustain their health and educational needs through agricultural activity. This self-sustaining model departs from traditional aid systems, promoting community-driven development and empowerment.Shadrack expounds on issues in the cocoa value chain, such as child labour and underpayment and how their model keeps children in school and brings parents to the farm. He also discusses the complexities of policy and advocacy in improving the lives of cocoa farmers.With Cocoa360 as a template and armed with research in medicine and development, Shdrack wants to create a scalable blueprint for sustainable community development in Africa. 
  • 3. Akunna Cook: Shaping Africa's Global Image Through Media

    In this episode of the Change Africa Podcast, Akunna Cook, the founder and CEO of Next Narrative Africa, shares her unique journey and vision for transforming Africa's global narrative through media. The conversation began with an exploration of Cook's transition from her career in policy and diplomacy to the realm of media and entertainment. She emphasized the strategic importance of narrative change in media to alter global perceptions about Africa. Cook's experience in policy significantly influences her approach to content creation, focusing on stories that present Africans as innovators and problem-solvers.Cook discussed the various challenges and opportunities in the African media landscape, highlighting the negative portrayal of Africa in the media and its impact on perceptions and investments. She explained how Next Narrative Africa aims to counter these stereotypes by producing entertaining and impactful stories that positively represent Africa and its people.The podcast delved into the company's content strategy, which includes projects covering democracy, governance, health, climate, and inclusive economic growth. Cook underscored the need for content that is both entertaining and educative, aiming to make a social impact while also being commercially viable.  Her strategy also involves creating a supportive ecosystem that facilitates the growth of diverse African storytellers. This includes organizing events like concerts and discussions to engage communities and foster partnerships essential for narrative change.Looking ahead, Cook expressed her aspiration to build a globally recognized African media industry. She spoke about the importance of collaboration with the diaspora and international artists to amplify African stories. The conversation also touched upon the critical aspect of funding and investment in African media, with Cook outlining strategies to create a supportive ecosystem for diverse African storytellers.
  • 2. David Hundeyin: Unmasking Institutions - Activism, Leadership, and Reform in Africa

    In this expansive and insightful episode, investigative journalist David Hundeyin dissects the nuanced relationship between activism and African institution-building, exploring the full breadth of work.David demystifies Boko Haram and the broader context facilitating the group's emergence and influence. David Hundeyin discusses how northern Nigeria, initially diverse in its Islamic sects, became increasingly monolithic due to external influences. This shift towards a strict Wahhabi/Salafi interpretation of Sunni Islam, fueled by foreign investment and ideology, laid the groundwork for cultural and religious uniformity.Hundeyin expresses scepticism toward the performative nature of activism tied to civil society funding, arguing for a clear demarcation between genuine activism and careerist pursuits within the civil society sector. He critiques the tendency to conflate the two, emphasizing the intrinsic value of activism as a response to personal conviction rather than a pathway to financial gain.We explore police profiling and brutality in Nigeria, particularly by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). David dives into the grassroots movement of the #EndSARS hashtag, which transitioned from social media to a nationwide protest following a series of brutal actions by the police. His storytelling is personal and deeply moving, particularly as he recounts the tragic death of his father due to institutional failure, which catalyzed his commitment to uncovering the truth and advocating for change. The podcast also touches on the broader issues of African institutional decay and the need for sincere leadership and human capital development to address the continent's challenges. Hundeyin's perspective is shaped by his experiences and the profound realization that societal and systemic issues in Nigeria can impact anyone, regardless of their social or economic status.Often a subject of critique, this episode attempts to uncover the human behind the investigative journalist.