Meet the Boss is a How we made it in Africa interview series in which we pose the same 10 questions to business leaders across the continent.
1. What was your first job?
Financial consultant for Lehman Brothers. That was back in 1992.
2. Who has had the biggest impact on your career and why?
My dad. He has always been the driving force behind my thinking. I always went back to him, to refer to him. He was an exceptional lawyer, very well known, extremely well connected, a banker… you know, so putting that whole equation together, it was just clear, he’s my hero.
3. What parts of your job keep you awake at night?
Entry valuation… If we don’t get the price right, it becomes very difficult. In other words, how we go in. We know what we can bring to the table so we kind of have an idea that if we go in at [a certain] price and we bring in [a certain amount of] money, we should be able to propel ourselves to achieve A, B, C and D over a three to five year period. So that entry price to me is very important.
4. What are the top reasons why you have been successful in business?
Persistence. I’m thorough, rigorous, responsive.
5. What are the best things about your country, Tanzania?
We are loving people.
6. And the worst?
We tend to talk a lot and not do enough.
7. Your future career plans?
It’s about making a difference. It’s about creating an opportunity for people to be able to, for example, own their own homes… just making a difference through business.
8. How do you relax?
Good question. Football.
9. What is your message to Africa’s young aspiring businesspeople and entrepreneurs?
We have an opportunity at hand, we have to be focused. [The Africa opportunity] requires us to be the best in what we do, to have a firm understanding of knowledge on the ground. I think this is an Africa where you have to have the ability to partner with people who complement your weaknesses, and I think that is where you can make that difference.
10. How can Africa realise its full potential?
Dream big and act on it.
Mwijage Bishota is the executive director and the head of Fusion Capital’s Tanzanian operations. Fusion Capital is a business financing and private equity house with a focus on the East African market and has recently opened offices in Dar es Salaam, the commercial hub of Tanzania. Bishota has held various leadership positions in banking, insurance and investment. He previously served as an asset manager for the National Investment Company, a listed public investment company. He also served as the UN-HABITAT country manager for the Slum Upgrading Facility Programme in Tanzania.