‘Meet the Boss’ is How we made it in Africa’s new interview series, where we pose the same 10 questions to CEOs and executives across the continent.
Tadesse Tessema, General Manager, Holland Car, Ethiopia
1. What was your first job?
Electrical power tools engineer in the Netherlands
2. Who has had the biggest impact on your career and why?
3. What parts of your job keep you awake at night?
Losing my company and not being able to support our 250 employees.
4. What are the top reasons why you have been successful in business?
We are very dynamic. We always come up with new ideas. For example, at the moment we are trying to produce biogas from solid waste materials for our new biogas powered vehicles.
5. What are the best things about your country?
The sunshine. Ethiopia has one of the best climates in the world. It is also very safe with a good culture.
6. And the worst?
7. Your future career plans?
Basically my plan is to go on with this business and in the meantime to also look at some new opportunities – maybe something in IT and telecommunications. I always try to find new ideas to bring to market and make our country independent from the outside world.
8. How do you relax?
Watch movies. Walk. Talk to friends. Gym. Read.
9. What is your message to Africa’s young aspiring business people and entrepreneurs?
Now is the time we have to go in and grab the opportunities. Africa is currently the place to be. Investors from Asia and abroad are coming to invest money here while we sit down and wait.
10. How can Africa realise its full potential?
I think the most important role will be played by the African diaspora living abroad. If 10% of these people can come back to Africa, I think most of the problems on the continent would be solved. Governments have to give the opportunities and incentives to bring these people back.
Holland Car is Ethiopia’s first indigenous vehicle assembly company.