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Only Africans can build Africa—Wakanow boss

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By Abraham Adekunle

Bayo Lion shares his experiences as he deployed his expertise in the business.

An entrepreneur, Adebayo Adedeji also known as Bayo Lion, is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a tech company, Wakanow. He has a broad and diverse mix of business experiences across continents. With a masters degree in Business Administration and a bachelors degree in Demography and Statistics from Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), he has worked as a Senior Finance Manager at where he managed all products related to Inbound and Inventory for Fulfillment by Amazon Worldwide Business with over $80 billion in Sales.

Following Wakanow’s downturn moment, he was brought in to deploy his expertise to get the struggling business back on its feet. Prior to the time he came on board of the company, Wakanow was generally a struggling and non-profitable venture. In fact, according to Bayo, it was not paying salaries. By the end of last quarter of 2019, shortly before the COVID-19, the company hit its first monthly profitability. When COVID-19 happened, there was nothing as far as profits and the managers of the company spent the period rebuilding the entire business and changing structures.

From Amazon to Wakanow to help build Africa.

Bayo used to be a finance executive of Amazon. He used to lead the over $80 billion Amazon business in America. His job was to innovate ongoing solutions that will bring about cost savings and optimization for growth, among others. In other words, he has always had an amazing life. When he was asked to join Wakanow, he jumped at the opportunity. Of course, there were inquisitions: why would someone with a stable job who is doing well abroad come back to work on a struggling business. His answer was that he believed that it is only Africans who can build Africa.

He had some of his colleagues who were social media commentators, would write comments on social media on how Nigeria was bad, but he would reply to them that it is only they (people like him) who can transform Africa with all the experiences they had gathered by working abroad. He believes it is the time to bring those things back and use them to develop the nation. That was why he jumped at the opportunity to join Wakanow.

The CEO said that greatness comes from fighting a seemingly losing battle.

Mr. Adedeji said, “There is no greatness in fighting a battle everybody thinks you are going to win. Greatness comes from fighting battles that everybody thinks you are going to lose.” He said that this greatness comes from trying to attain a class higher than one, which is what usually pays off. He said that was what he did and it paid off. He said that he assessed the company’s file and understood the complexities that things were not working out fine and that he needed to work hard to turn them around.

When asked about whether he visited the company before accepting the offer, Adedeji said he visited the company way back in 2019 before he accepted the offer. When he visited, he saw people sitting all over the place. There were paper cabinets everywhere. It was a true mess, but he said that he fell in love with it. “Everybody said I was mad. It was madness really,” he said. But to him, he saw a business that has been built by the founders who have good vision as well as what they lacked.

Bayo Lion came home to make a change for his countrymen.

In one of his comments, he said that he could be a little fish in the pond that is the United States, or he could come home to make a change for his countrymen, where alongside others, he can create employment and expand businesses across the whole of Africa. Wakanow is a travel tech company. They are involved in travel financing. Their core focus is travel and they have democratized travel. Before Wakanow, if you wanted to travel, you go and sit before an agent and say you want to go to Dubai. The agent determined the price and other conditions. Presently, Wakanow has solved the issue and has made travelling easy for the common people.

Related Link

Wakanow: Website

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