Input your search keywords and press Enter.

Fingaz executive dialogue delivers high-calibre business experience

Pan-African business coach and entrepreneur, Lionel Marumahoko (Snr), makes compelling case for seizing opportunities to build billion-dollar businesses on the African continent

BUSINESS leaders have been challenged to adopt “a billion-dollar mindset” to drive pan-African business growth strategies underpinned by transformational leadership on a continent that presents significant opportunities for business.
The call was made by Mr Lionel Marumahoko (Snr), a highly sought-after business leader, entrepreneur and executive coach who was keynote speaker at the well-attended Financial Gazette executive dialogue held at a business breakfast at the Monomotapa Crowne Plaza Hotel in Harare last Friday.

Lionel Marumahoko

Speaking from his own business leadership experience, spanning over 25 years working in a global, multinational FMCG corporation — where he contributed to driving billion-dollar growth in the 36 African markets he was in charge of — Marumakoho challenged business leaders to start with clear strategies and not to be afraid of failure.
“Have a bold vision and a clear strategy from the outset, and if you fail, ‘fail forward’ by embracing your loss, taking accountability, quickly learning, adapting and moving on,” he said.
He urged those dreaming of building billion-dollar businesses to “start small but scale fast” and be clear about what consumer problem they want to solve, and to be fiercely consumer-centric by diligently understanding the “human being behind the customer”.
Drawing from his hands-on experience building and growing a billion-dollar new business within an FMCG conglomerate in Africa, Marumahoko said to scale new heights, it is critical to create a “system belief across the organisation” and build sustained momentum, supported by disciplined performance management.
He stressed that as the businesses grows, it is essential to leverage technology and embed “systems thinking” in the organisational culture, while learning from other industries and developing strategic partnerships within the business value chain.
Articulating the African opportunity, Marumahoko said despite the continent’s complexities — 55 countries, over 200 languages, 42 currencies and multiple logistical challenges — Africa presented great business opportunities to build billion-dollar businesses.
“With a GDP of US$3.4 trillion, more than 400 countries with over US$1 billion revenues, 17 cities with populations of over 5 million and a 1.3bn population projected to hit 2.5bn in less than 30 years, Africa presents significant opportunities in multiple industries to build billion-dollar businesses,” he said.
He said it was key for entrepreneurs and businesspeople to take advantage of Africa’s existing trading blocs to unlock the value presented by economies of scale.
“Trading blocs such as Sadc, Ecowas, Comesa, EAC and more recently AfCFTA – which has made Africa the largest free trade area by number of countries – present incredible opportunities to build large businesses on the continent,” he said.
But he cautioned that there was a need for transformational leadership, to turn the dream into reality.

“Transformational leadership will be the catalyst to build cross-border, billion-dollar businesses that will require leaders with cultural intelligence, effective communication, strategic thinking, adaptability and trust-building every step of the way,” he said.

He said transformational leadership, which evolves as the business transitions through different stages, required a set of attributes, chief among them “a billion-dollar business is a mindset”.
The FinGaz executive dialogue is a thought leadership interface that helps drive transformational change among top company executives and business leaders.
He is passionate about the African opportunity and in his several engagements across the continent he presents thought-provoking insights that empower business leaders and organisations with practical, actionable knowledge on how to plan for growth and expansion on the continent.
His business leadership and advisory capacity is leveraged through his work as managing partner and chairman for BPL AFRICACONNECT business consulting firm, where he provides executive leadership in the identification, establishment, and expansion of a high calibre partner and stakeholder network and engaged client base, spanning 50-plus countries.
His key engagements include guiding a European communications group in African market entry, leading an African investment group through business transformation, and advising an African conglomerate through IPO readiness.

Lionel Marumahoko can be reached at: or via his LinkedIn page: or on his blog: