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04 September 2017
| Natalie Bannerman
James Wekesa is a deal maker. As the chief commercial officer at Africa’s carriers’ carrier WIOCC, Wekesa has an interesting and varied job which includes managing strong, mutually beneficial relationships with WIOCC’s 14 African shareholders.
These shareholders are made up from
a mix of incumbent fixed-line operators, mobile challengers,
wholesalers and even a regulator, some of which are submarine
cable landing station owners, others being landlocked and
dependent on cross-border arrangements for access to
These strong relationships are a key element in
WIOCC’s ability to provide its own customers with
excellent service, enabling it to deliver their traffic
seamlessly via a unique 55,000km pan-African terrestrial
WIOCC’s shareholders are also the
company’s key channel to market in their
respective domestic markets.
"Every day is different, but typically it is either a
'Travel day’ or an 'Office day’,"
"On a 'Travel day’ I’ll be based
at the offices of one of WIOCC’s shareholders,
where I’ll work with them on service-related,
provisioning, organisational structure, technical or
administrative issues. I also help individual shareholders make
deals with third parties, including other WIOCC
On an "Office day", Wekesa will work from
WIOCC’s main office in Nairobi and could be
involved in a wide variety of things: "from interfacing with
specific internal teams on finance and provisioning issues, for
example, to having strategy-related discussions with
WIOCC’s CEO, liaising with assorted regulators and
government departments across Africa, or on a weekly round-up
call with one of the shareholders".
Wekesa’s career has spanned over 15 years and
he joined WIOCC in 2009 from the Afsat Communication Group
where he was general manager for Kenya and group head of
special projects amongst other positions.
Away from WIOCC, Wekesa keeps himself very busy by keeping
fit with gym sessions five days a week and providing homework
support for his two boys – who eagerly look forward to
their regular 'Friday night is pizza night’
Away from the family, Wekesa makes time to provide valuable
support to a school some 400km outside of Nairobi.