Ramatou Magagi – 10 candid career questions with infrastructure & PPP professionals

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Editor's Note: 

Welcome to the “10 Candid Career Questions” series, introducing you to the infrastructure and PPP professionals who do the deals, analyze the data, and strategize on the next big thing. Each of them followed a different path into infra and/or PPP practice, and this series offers an inside look at their backgrounds, motivations, and choices. Each blogger receives the same 15 questions and answers 10 or more that tell their career story candidly and without jargon. We believe you’ll be as surprised and inspired as we were. 

1. What was your first job?

At 12-13 years old, assisting my brother and renting him my motorcycle for his deliveries of ice to local bars in a hot country where temperatures can reach 50 degrees Celsius. Margins were exceptional since we were using the two freezers of “Papa et Maman” free of charge. This combined with a personalized and flexible service allowed us to beat the competition from industrial or professional ice makers.

After this, my first corporate job was helping pharmacies in the capital city and in regional cities in rural Africa with their commercial strategies and with auditing。

2. What was your best job?

I wanted to be a beautician (wellness, facials, etc.), a singer (and dancer) or a chef (and maître pâtissière) and I ended up going into…PPPs!
Turns out that I really love this job—despite the uncertainties (governments can change their minds at any time or the context may evolve, and this happens often), the complexity (working with multiple public and private stakeholders with sometimes conflicting positions), the need to keep constant balance (optimal risk allocation among parties and appropriate remuneration), the long process (preparation can take time, and so does implementation – we have a few projects that took up to five years!), the need for versatile skills (leading and guiding teams and consultants with different expertise), and the long hours required, working on PPPs is fantastic. No matter your years of experience, each time you learn that no single project is similar to the other.
But perhaps, the best feeling is, after the transaction materializes and the infrastructure gets built, when you can say: “Yeah, I helped this country improve their situation, mobilize private investment and create jobs.”

3. What do your family members think you do all day at work?  

That I am changing the world.

4. What do you really do all day at work?  

I am changing the world. I am also working to develop capacity within the public sector, mainly at my small level, with my small contribution.

5. What do you wish you did all day at work? 

The same, except without bureaucratic tasks.

6. What is your go-to industry website?  

Transport-related websites such the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), bus rapid transit websites, etc.

7. What did the book that made the biggest impact on you professionally teach you?

Personal development is accessible and up to you (authors Dale Carnegie and Napoleon Hill).

8. What are you shocked to hear yourself say when you give advice to young professionals?  

Be patient and take things one at a time.

9. What is the most rewarding thing you have experienced in the course of your Infrastructure and PPP practice? 

Reinforcing capacity of the public sector, and transferring knowledge through implementation—this is valid for successful projects or failures. The idea is that, in the future, they are able to do this on their own. 

10. In what ways do you think the Infrastructure and PPP area you work in will look different in 10 years?

The scope might expand further: years ago, PPPs were concentrated in traditional infrastructure. Now, the model is being implemented more and more to a wide range of sectors.

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Ramatou Magagi

Senior Investment Officer

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