“Self-confidence results, first, from exact knowledge; second, the ability to impart that knowledge.” Napoleon Hill
Solace Kidisil typifies this quote. She is a walking encyclopedia. A results-driven Engineer and Project Management Professional, Solace has a deep understanding of Africa’s payment trends and markets. Solace currently leads Nsano’s operations in East and Southern Africa as the Regional Head.
In this month’s Staff In Focus, we get to know more about her and hopefully learn a lot in this short piece.
Q: Which 3 adjectives best describe you?
A: Tenacious, Rational, Kind.
Q: How would you describe your approach to leadership?
A: My approach is generally to empower my team to have the attitude of getting things done, raising the right questions, and providing solutions. My team always involves these 3 principles in their work.
Q: What is your all-time favourite motivational quote and why?
A: It’s a Bible verse: John 8:14. “Jesus answered, ‘Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going.” This has been my favorite quote because I believe the world always tries to impose on us views of who we should be, but we should be confident in who we think we are regardless of what they world may think.
Q: If you could have a 1-on-1 conversation with any leader in the world, who would it be and why?
A: Angela Merkel, outgoing German chancellor. She is a strong woman to have been able to hold the fort in Germany for years. Beyond that, she is an influential figure in the world’s political space. To be able to balance that in a generally misogynistic world, while keeping a home is impressive. It will be interesting to get insights on her source of strength and her strategy for managing all the various aspects of her life.
Q: In your experience across different markets in Africa, would you say fintech firms are collaborating with banks more or rather competing with banks more?
A: There are different dispensations across Africa. For example, In Kenya, MPESA isn’t collaborating much because it is larger than life?. In Nigeria, it is mostly a bank-led dispensation with very few Fintechs able to differentiate themselves from the banks. Then there is Ghana which is more of a middle ground with a lot more collaboration between banks and Fintechs. So, there are essentially different deployments or implementations across Africa depending on the specific economic conditions or the level of growth of the industry. These influence how Fintechs collaborate with banks.
Q: If someone says, Solace has traveled to her favourite country in Africa, which country will the person be referring to? (Aside Ghana of course, since you’re Ghanaian)
A: Zambia. This is because it is a lot more like home, and the weather is milder. But when it comes to food, I love Abidjan croissants. So, it really depends. If the question is my favourite for food, Cote d’Ivoire but my favourite place where I spend most of my time and work, Zambia.
Q: What’s the one thing you look out for in hiring a member of your team?
A: Attitude. Having the right attitude, the can-do attitude, the willingness-to-learn attitude, the willingness-to-cooperate-with-others attitude, the willingness-to-put-the-team-goals-first attitude. These are attitudes I look out for when choosing my team members.
Q: Which recent Fintech trend or development fascinates you the most and why?
A: Digital currencies. Its journey from being ‘money’ most people believed will fail to its success. Today, regulators are having to adopt a form of it in their respective countries and currencies. These developments have been fascinating. It’s been a lot of changes in a very short time.
Q: Who are your top 3 Fintech business leaders and why?
A: 1. Kofi Owusu-Nhyira
2. The Collison brothers (Patrick & John), founders of Stripe
3. Strive Masiyiwa
Q: What are your thoughts on the future of Fintech in Africa?
A: Fintech will evolve and grow beyond payments. This may disrupt traditional financial services as we have known them. I look forward to that time when this differentiation will transform more lives and further increase financial inclusion.
Q: What do you love most about working at Nsano?
A: The excitement and the constant change. I am constantly growing, constantly learning, constantly on the move due to new challenges that excite me. I am not someone to stay down for too long, so I like the adrenaline pump that comes with these changes. I enjoy being on the move, finding solutions to challenges.
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