George Manu

Podcast Interview

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GM: My job is to lead and develop KPMG’s IDAS business in West Africa. This includes managing the West Africa hub of the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) – a USD 200 million private sector facility backed by some of the biggest names in development finance. For the AECF, I currently oversee 20 projects spread across 8 countries in the sub-region (English and French speaking). Other aspects of my job include managing delivery of work, building/maintaining relationships with clients and other stakeholders and developing/maintaining global networks both within the larger KPMG and externally.

BFP: What is the best part about your work?

GM: Winning work and contributing to the growth of the firm. In addition, travelling to new places, interacting with people from various strands of society including the poor and successful entrepreneurs/business people alike, and learning. I have worked in over 50 countries in 4 continents, developed some life-long friendships and continue to learn a great deal from these exposures.

BFP: What have been your greatest challenges?

GM: Maintaining a healthy life-work balance, especially coping with the demands of parenting and a heavy travel schedule. Competing successfully in the development business can be quite tough, particularly when starting from scratch.

BFP: How have you overcome these challenges? / What advice, would you give to others? / What is the secret of your success?

GM: A passion for what one does, persistence and hard work are all essential. Be willing to associate with others who bring complementary strengths – two is better than one, and half a loaf is better than none. Make the most of every opportunity. I have a deep faith in God and owe every success to Him.

BFP: If someone wants to do what you do, where should they start?

GM: Start with what you have and do not despise the day of small beginnings. Education is great and helps open doors. A second or even third language is useful in development work. Overseas experience, even if in a volunteer capacity, is invaluable.

BFP: Finally, what do you hope to get out of being part of the BFP community?

GM: BFP is proving to be a wonderful forum for learning and keeping abreast of developments in the field. It is also great for networking. Additionally, it provides an opportunity to share and give back to the community.

Editor’s Note:

Thank you to George Manu for taking the time to do this interview.

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