Meet the Boss: Ahmed Mohamed Yusuf, CEO, Hormuud Telecom (Somalia)

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1. What part of your job keeps you awake at night?

Currently over 67% of Somalis, especially the most vulnerable communities, use mobile money technology as a sole payment system. If this stops, an entire population will be unable to buy the necessities – food, pay for hospital treatments and education for their children. With the ongoing violence in the country, keeping my employees safe is also a top priority. These are the important operational and commercial questions keeping me awake at night.

2. Name three traits required to survive in this role.

  • Resilience to operate in the challenging yet dynamic business environment that Somalia presents.
  • Determination to provide the best possible services to the most marginalised and vulnerable communities within Somalia, especially as we recover from a long civil war.
  • Humility to learn from failures and continue to provide the best possible products to communities throughout Somalia.

3. What is the biggest misconception about your job?

The biggest misconception is that Somalia is a war-torn country, continuously in a state of conflict and operating in the country is impossible. Hormuud and telecommunications firms in Somalia are some of the most innovative companies in Africa, contributing to the rapidly growing and vibrant economy.

4. Who has had the greatest impact on your career?

My rural background, with my father as a camel herder, has certainly steered my business career. But the people of Somalia, at home and abroad, have also greatly impacted my career. They helped me when my first business faltered as a result of the civil war and the government collapsed. Wanting to give back and to provide life-changing services, I founded Hormuud Telecom. Without the Somali people, I wouldn’t be the successful businessman that I am.

5. What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?

Return to Somalia in order to help my communities connect with their relatives abroad during a turbulent political climate has been key to founding a pioneering mobile money service.

6. The top reason for your professional success?

My belief in a politically stable and economically prosperous Somalia has been the key reason for my professional success. I have dedicated my working life to contributing to the post-conflict economic development and making a difference, no matter how small, to my country and Somali communities.

7. How do you relax?

Jogging in the evenings through the streets of Mogadishu helps me relax. Physical exercise is a great way to change up the daily routine from the daily office setting.

8. By what time in the morning do you like to be at your desk?

I’m awake by 04:00 and reach my desk by 07:30. Every day brings new challenges and opportunities and therefore an early start is necessary for this to happen.

9. Your favourite job interview question?

I don’t think I’ve ever undertaken a job interview. I’ve been entirely self-employed throughout my career.

10. The biggest perk of your job?

What I consider the biggest perk is having the trust of the Somali people. Nothing brings me greater joy than delivering superior services to our consumers.

Hormuud Telecom, founded in 2002, is a Somali telecommunications firm leading the drive towards a cashless economy in Somalia.

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