BFP: What do you do?
TS: I am an international business consultant and Founding Director of the Tagos Group Zambia Limited and also founder of a success and wealth creation web portal, mind2wealth.com. I work independently with international development agencies and governments in Africa focused on policy research and analysis, international trade and investment reforms, regional integration and private sector development. I have worked in over 25 African countries and with all the major regional economic communities in Africa.
As a Senior Adviser to the Governments of Sierra Leone (2004 to 2006) and Zambia (2006 to 2008), I managed and delivered high level strategic public sector capacity building programmes and policy advice under EC funding. I have also recently completed two major regional projects in 2010, one with the East African Community where as team leader I led the expert team that developed a regional customs strategy for the period 2011 to 2015, the second with Economic Commission of West African States (ECOWAS) where again as team leader I provided technical assistance support to the ECOWAS Commission in developing a strategy for the EPA Services Negotiations with the European Union.
In these and other Lead Consultant positions, I have performed policy analysis and impact assessments, developed international trade negotiation briefs, assisted Governments and regional integration bodies in multi-lateral trade negotiations and drafted, implemented, and monitored economic policies, business laws, and regulations. I have also written a number of articles and published technical reports on trade issues, aid for trade, the Millennium Development Goals and on private sector development, and have made many notable international public presentations.
BFP: What is the best part about your job?
TS: The best part is seeing the realisation of Africa's potential as the last frontier of global economic development. I also enjoy interacting with African business people and public sector policy makers keen to unleash the potential of private enterprise in Africa. It is also of course a great pleasure to travel to all these wonderful African countries and see the beauty and warmth of the people, from Cape to Cairo through Addis Ababa and all the way to vibrant Lagos and Accra to the beautiful beaches of the Gambia and the culture of Dakar to the teeming metropolis of Johannesburg - Africa is a just a great place to live and do business in.
BFP: What has been your greatest challenge?
TS: The greatest challenge has been getting African politicians to understand the need for enhanced regional integration within Africa. The multiplicity of regional bodies harms Africa more than it helps. We need to consolidate regional integration Africa-wide. We also face the challenge of institutional capacity within African Governments that lends itself to inadequate checks and balances.
BFP: How have you overcome these challenges? What has been the secret of your success?
TS: By being very analytical and thorough in my work. I always ensure I collect as much empirical data as possible to back up my recommendations. The secret of my success has been my philosophy that "all things are possible to him that believes". I also believe it's important to network effectively with key stakeholders and maintain a positive attitude always. In all my work I ensure that local experts are empowered and everywhere I have worked I have mentored and coached many experts that today are leading experts in their various countries.
BFP: If someone wants to do what you do, where should they start?
TS: Start by deciding on an area of specialisation. I decided to focus on trade and investment related assignments in international development. Also have a firm philosophy. I believe strongly that the private sector is critical to fighting poverty.
BFP: Finally: what do you hope to get out of being part of this community?
TS: I value the opportunity to network with like-minded people. I am also interested in having access to new contacts and networks and also knowledge sharing and learning from others with different perspectives. I think it’s great that finally business is recognized as a key component of poverty reduction.
Thank you to Trevor Simumba for taking the time to do this interview.
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