ShapeShifter

Shapeshifters: Sneha Shah, of Thomson Reuters is committed to African growth

Reuters and Thomson came together in 2008 and Shah says it certainly helped them get through the financial crisis and flourish.

The marriage happened in 2008, and it was fantastic timing, after the financial crisis, bringing the two companies assets together, really allowed us to survive and thrive.

Sneha Shah, MD of Africa at Thomson Reuters

What Reuters brought to the equation, was that historic news piece and trusted journalism around the world, the global footprint as well as financial data. and what Thomson brought was very much professional services data, legal, tax, information, property data, as well as a wealth of financial data.

Sneha Shah, MD of Africa at Thomson Reuters

I joined in 2001, in July, in New York.

Sneha Shah, MD of Africa at Thomson Reuters

But she was born in Kenya, a 3rd generation Indian whose grandparents had come to Kenya to open shops next to the railways where many Indian immigrants worked.

Her father was an entrepreneur involved in importing business.

Shah later went to university in Britain where she graduated with a degree in politics and international studies.

Its a great course when you don't know what you want to do with your life, but you want to sound like you know what you talking about.

Sneha Shah, MD of Africa at Thomson Reuters

Jokes aside, Shah had a deep interest in politics and development.

And years later Thomson Reuters was to send her back to Africa, her childhood home to manage their African business.

Thomson Reuters had not put enough focus on these markets and what was needed to help develop them

Sneha Shah, MD of Africa at Thomson Reuters

And this is a big part of her work.

We've doubled in the last four years, and expect to double again in the next three - both in terms of revenue and geographical growth.

Sneha Shah, MD of Africa at Thomson Reuters

She credits their success to listening and finding out what the African markets really need.

The growth is through listening and talking to central banks, financial institutions and governments and asking them what do they need for making this transition from aid based economies to knowledge based economies. What type of information systems do you need?

Sneha Shah, MD of Africa at Thomson Reuters

many are looking for ways to generate revenue. And land is our largest asset across Africa. But land records are not reliable to do property valuations and develop a mortgage market - so we can help them digitise land records and begin process of valuations. Then once traditional sources of revenue like oil begin to fall away, they can start relying on new sources of income.

Sneha Shah, MD of Africa at Thomson Reuters
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