‘Stress is an essential ingredient for growth,’ says mobile money pioneer

But Van Rensburg believes that the benefits of belonging to Visa can improve and strengthen Fundamo far more. “It’s not a secret, Visa is the best organisation today that supports or enables interoperable payments … There is the ability to do interoperable payments with cards between many different banks, banks that don’t even know of each other. So Visa can bring that same capability and help make interoperable payments possible. There are very few organisations that have got that capability – and the brand because it’s also a question of trust.”

Some of Van Rensburg’s achievements with Fundamo include launching the first mobile phone-based financial service with Celpay in Zambia – although he humbly suggested this “just happened” too. “You would gather … that things don’t always happen in a planned way,” he says, explaining how the sequences of decisions made in business aren’t always predictable.

In 2011 Van Rensburg was named one of the top 100 most powerful people in the telecoms industry by the Global Telecoms Business (GTB) Power 100 for the second year running.

I asked how he coped with the stress in business. “Stress is an essential ingredient for growth. If you want to get better at your cycling, then you put your body through stress and that stress leads to a stronger and a better body that can cycle faster,” explains Van Rensburg. “It’s the same in business. If you don’t expose yourself to stress then you will stagnate. So stress is great and good. It’s got a connotation that you don’t want to have stress or you don’t want to be exposed to stress. I think that is wrong.”