Interview with Olivier Dipenda: Why the African Market is Vital for WadzPay
Team Spotlight & Power Hour Episode 14 features Olivier Dipenda, the Senior Vice President — Market Development Africa at WadzPay.
Hear from him on what is coming next for WadzPay, and how he ensures that the goals are aligned with the global company strategy for the African market.
Head to our Youtube Channel to listen to his insights.
Can you share your role and how vital the African market is for WadzPay?
My role is to lead WadzPay’s business in sub-Saharan Africa and drive digital currency adoption across the continent. This entails developing and executing a good strategy as a call responsibility, building and managing a competent team and servicing our client base in the region.
As WadzPay operates across many countries, we must ensure that we are compliant with the regulations in those countries.
Africa is an extensive territory and digital currencies in the sub-Sahara specifically are growing exponentially with multiple governments contemplating launching their own central bank digital currency and WadzPay are in discussions with these banks. So yes, it is a vital market for us, one that we take very seriously.
How would you describe your management style?
A participative management style. I like collaborating closely with my team to develop strategies and make decisions collegially. My aim is to ensure that each member of my team’s voice is heard and that motivates them and makes them feel valued and encourages to work harder towards achieving goals.
How do you deal with the unexpected?
I always remind myself to remain calm. To be rational, accept the situation and develop a strategic response.
For example, the business had to continue despite a complete shutdown of economic restrictions on travel due to COVID-19. So I had to devise my department and devise strategies to continue with business development across the continent. This included developing a channel partnership in Africa. It was a big unexpected in my life, and I think for many people too.
What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about helping people and making a difference in people’s lives.
I bought off a lot of charitable organizations. I am also a practicing Christian, so I make a lot of donations. We are in Africa, a continent with a lot of poverty. I always try as much as possible to bring a helping hand, this is a way for me to make the world a better place.
What would it be if you could change one thing in your life up until this point?
I would spend more time with my parents and extended family because I am far away from them and miss them.
What is the most challenging part of your role?
The lack of precise regulation at this stage and the uncertainty regarding how digital currency regulation will roll out in different African countries. We have seen a vary of responses to the advent of new technology in Africa, and some countries are embracing it.
There is also the fact that many of our target markets do not understand blockchain technology, including talent acquisition. So, a lot of thought leadership is required on our part.
What value would you bring to WadzPay, and what is your department objective?
My professional experience in the financial services industry, in financial technology and even in payment systems spans more than 15 years. In the past, I have successfully led the growth and expansion effort of a startup in year one. This is the type of experience I have which I bring to the market and WadzPay.
Market development in the region is my domain of preference and an area where I have extensive knowledge, and that is the value I bring. As far as our department’s objective, that is to drive digital currency adoption in Africa from East Africa, West Africa to Central Africa.
If this is your sales pitch, tell us how WadzPay can make the client’s business better?
You can imagine whether you are a consumer, a small or medium-sized Enterprise Bank, Central Bank, or a payment processor; WadzPay makes it easy to join the digital currency revolution. We are required to deliver a unified and seamless user experience.
How do you structure your typical day since Africa is a big market, and how do you manage your responsibilities?
My typical day starts just before 6:30 AM. I do some online reading, read the newspaper around 7:00, school runs. I have breakfast around eight in the morning. I get to my desk around 8:30 AM till about 6:00 PM, and well, I usually start my day by reviewing all my emails and answering all unread emails and attending scheduled meetings.
My typical day will involve attending meetings both internally and externally with clients. I also make sure that I set up appointments with existing and new clients every day to make sure that we set up our advantageous position.
What is your projection for blockchain-based payment platform adoption in 2025?
By 2025, I expect that regulations will have been put in place. I hope many Central Banks in Africa have implemented and engaged digital currency programs with wholesale and retail. With this, digital currency becomes mainstream; I see right now we can see the building blocks.
Digital currency adoption is becoming or being at the center stage of many discussions, and I believe that by 2025 it will be a different landscape altogether.