The move was inspired by his passion for start-ups and bringing cost-effective solutions to people on the continent.
With an impressive 25 years’ experience in the financial services industry under his belt and a proven record of building fintech start-ups, Darryn Botha now joins the Ukheshe team as its CIO.
He looks forward to collaborating with the Ukheshe team and its clients in order to meet business goals, and drive value through the empowerment of staff. “There is an ongoing challenge, which I plan to meet head on, of attracting and retaining talented people, as well as creating a culture that allows our teams to thrive and deliver against tough business goals,” he says.
Darryn says much of Ukheshe’s past success comes from the IT firm’s ability to deliver products to the market quickly. This is something he hopes to build on at Ukheshe.
“In order to remain a leader in the financial sector, it is imperative that innovative products are introduced on a regular basis. These products must be easy to use and have a profound influence on the lives of our clients,” he says.
Darryn’s appointment comes at a time when fintech companies are increasingly looking to CIOs to understand their company’s medium- and long-term requirements and how IT systems can support them, bring in revenue and assist in remaining competitive. According to a worldwide Forbes study, 40 percent of CIOs believe their function is becoming vital to formulating customer-facing solutions and fostering innovation within companies.
In the past, many professionals took up roles with overseas firms, attracted by big offers. However, much has changed since then, largely due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and professionals are now working locally.
“In the past professionals did look externally for opportunity, thinking that they might get better offers over there, which wasn’t always the case and in fact is still not the case, as they can get the same offers here that they’d get in countries like the UK,” he explains.
He points out that there is a great pool of talent both locally and on the continent and corporates are trying their best to attract through universities and the like. Furthermore, African born projects require local skills and expertise and the people who understand the market. “I’m excited about fintech in Africa, we have great talent here and are taking the world by storm,” he says
Darryn is bringing two very important elements to the Ukheshe stable: experience with a dash of wisdom and a background in finance. “I’ve been in the industry for a while now and understand it, and I believe that it is crucial to have deeply seated ideas that can attract talent and help that talent drive solutions,” he says.
Where finance is concerned, he believes that a lack of understanding of global payment systems as a CIO can be your greatest weakness. “It’s important to have worked in finance in order to understand the different payment systems across the globe. Furthermore, banking systems are quite large, and you have to be agile and deliver solutions quickly.”
When a crisis creeps up, CIOs at times experience certain anxieties and feelings of self-doubt, but to overcome them, he says, reflection before reaction is the best approach.
“Make sure you lean back on the initial business case and why you’re doing what you’re doing in the first place. Then, engage with stakeholders in order to understand what the actual problem is and review the business case, if necessary,” he says.
With a strong passion for people, the continent and solutions, Darryn’s ultimate vision for Ukheshe is to set cross-border solutions for the banked and unbanked, while making the current solutions on the market more affordable. “At the moment, our primary focus is in Africa and to simplify transactions, create an environment of good value as well as solutions that answer people’s needs,” he concludes.