“Africa Should Embrace A 24 Hour Economy”Top African Software Engineer Luis Zulu Says



Tell us a bit about yourself
I’m Luis Roy Zulu, a systems engineer and data analyst. Currently, I serve as the Head of Technology Business Transformation at ProBASE Group. My role involves scouting new technologies like AI, Machine Learning, IoT, and Blockchain, ensuring their effective implementation, cyber security, and client support.
Tell us a bit about your background.
I come from a big family of 10 children, & I am the last born. I completed my studies in Computer Science and graduated with a Distinction from the University of Zambia (UNZA).

Tell us about your parents.
My father has been a professional chef and has been in the food industry for quite a very long time, until sometime in 2018 when he resigned, because of his love for cooking, I have naturally grown up with the love of food and the food industry.
My mother was a local trader of vegetables in Lusaka, Zambia, she has been very supportive and ensured I get all the support I need regardless. So, a combination of the two will raise me to have entrepreneurial skills, especially in the food industry. I run a food processing company – Gugulethu Foods.

Tell us more about your dad.
Dad is a brilliant man. One thing that I appreciate and admire about Dad is that when he says he wants to do something, regardless of how long it will take, regardless of what amount of work it will take, he will get it achieved. There is nothing too huge for him. And that has always been an inspiration for me. And it has always helped shape the path that I’ve taken. I try to borrow some of his resilience, his endurance, and his persuasion to get things done. And through that, I have managed to reach this far.

And tell us more about your Mom.
Mom is a businesswoman, there isn’t any business or company for that matter that Mom would not run to success on earth. Back in the day, she used to run a small shop in the market, she taught each one of her children how to manage a business. Mom gave us a fundamental skill, which I have based on my survival, and this is the skill of being able to sell anything without fear of being looked down on or shame. This skill took away shyness so that we could survive in this world. I believe that the moment you are shy, you stop focusing on yourself, and you start failing to sell even the simplest of things.
For instance, if you are told to sell your startup company, many people would feel shy. They think because this is a small company, as such as they fear not making it and being laughed at, which should not be the case. We all start small, to get where you want to be you have to learn how to sell. So thank you to Mama, I am here today.

So, which part of Zambia are you from?
So, I’m from the capital city of Zambia, Lusaka.

It’s a given, that you’re intelligent & smart, and seem to have all that it takes to run your own company, why not start your own company in this sector?
I appreciate your kind words. In Africa, there’s ample opportunity for everyone to thrive in various ventures. However, not everyone possesses the necessary industry connections, business acumen, and crucially, experience to navigate successfully. I firmly believe in empowerment, particularly through acquiring relevant knowledge and connections. Simply deciding to start a business overnight may not be wise. It’s essential to learn from experience. By doing so, you develop valuable skills and insights that equip you to run a business effectively.
I feel privileged to work at ProBASE, and let me explain why. At ProBASE Group, many of our projects function as independent entities, each with its own management team. We empower these teams with a range of skills, including management, customer relations, finance, and project management. This approach ensures not only empowerment but also employment opportunities for many.
Instead of allowing inexperienced individuals to jump into CEO roles and start their own companies, we take a different approach. We prioritize empowering our people with knowledge and skills to manage various products effectively. That’s where ProBASE comes in. The name itself, derived from “Professionals” and “Base,” signifies a foundation where skilled professionals come together to address challenges through digitization and automation.

You speak like you’re the owner of your company, are you?
No, I’m not. I have my boss on top there, His name is Mr. Roy Muyelu. He is the owner of and Group CEO of ProBASE Group.

You seem to have very strong leadership skills, where do you think you get it from?
My dad. Yes, yes, definitely my dad.

What aspect of leadership do you get from here specifically? In what context did he run his own hotel?
So, Dad didn’t really necessarily run his own hotel. But in all hotels, that his worked in, He has been the head chef. So he has always known and learned how to deal with people.

Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?
As I continue to move from one African nation to another, I am learning how business is handled from place to place, and learning what challenges each African state is having, with how I’m positioned today, I believe I will be one of the contributors to the development of African best policies especially around our economies and digitization – automation.

What did you like your legacy to be?
I want to be remembered as a people person, one who believes in equality, people should get what they worked for. Many today are credited for the work they had little to no effort at all. I want to give credit to the people that have really worked for that particular thing. So, I want to be remembered as a people person and as a person who helped digitize and bring together Africa vis-à-vis business policies and digitization. We are pushing for open data in Africa, this can only be possible through different collaborations with different policymakers and different tech companies around the world and Africa as a continent.

What is your message to Kenyans?
One thing that I have observed is how Kenyans come together to support one another, we also see that on TV when they’re participating in the Olympics, additionally we also see a lot of endurance. Now, why am I saying this? Politics affect all aspects of our lives, & I understand Kenyans have their difficulties too, So, no matter how hard things get at times, I urge all of you to continue enduring. There is a story of Moses from the Christian bible, now Moses was a Hebrew, however the time he was born, the Egyptian king sent out an order to kill all Hebrew boys. Now, to save Moses, his parents put him in a basket and placed it in the river so that he could go with the water, possibly to another land where good Samaritans could raise him. Coincidently, the person that picked Moses was the Egyptian Kings Daughter, she took him in & raised him as a prince would be raised, without knowing he was Hebrew. When he became a man, Jehovah God, used Moses to rescue the Israelites – Hebrews. Now why that story?
I believe in the phenomenon that we all are where we are for a purpose, our job is to embrace the process, learn as much as we can, and when the opportunity comes, seize it.
But also remember when you make it out and get up there, look back and pull someone else up, these are people who will light up your candle when yours is fading.

Anything else you might want to add?
I think this one goes to the youths of Kenya. The power to make a better world lies in you. You do well to want to learn from the experience in leadership. We have to prove that we can do it by putting ourselves out there. It’s hard for power to be passed on if we don’t show capability and integrity. You want to be ready when the opportunity comes. So, invest in yourself, get educated, learn about the different economies and the dilemmas we all face, start looking for solutions, and invest more in your mind positively than get wasted partying all night and abusing drugs.Lastly, let us continue collaborating. Let’s work together and let’s make it happen. We have a lot of things to do together. In Africa we have the same problems, if we manage to sort it out in one nation then it is sorted for the rest.

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