Episode #20: Lord Boateng – Be prepared to be a disrupter

05 February 2019

Lord Paul Boateng

In this episode, I talk to Lord Boateng who, as Paul Boateng, was a cabinet minister in the Blair Government as Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

Paul also served as the British High Commissioner to South Africa from 2005 to 2009 and entered the House of Lords in 2010. He is chairman of the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund.

In this interview we talk about how he got to where he is, and what he’s learned along the way. We talk about what needs to happen to make the process of government more effective, as well as some of the challenges around the future of both Britain and Africa.

Paul is hugely impressive, a politician with experience at the highest level and a pragmatic eye to what works and what doesn’t. This was a valuable and entertaining interview.

Show notes

The early events the shaped the life and perspective of the young Paul Boateng (1:36)

How Paul ended up going into law (7:00)

Early exposure to politics (10:22)

Paul’s involvement in the Scrap Sus campaign and why he decided to seek elected office (13:28)

When Parliamentary ambitions rose to the fore, and why the ongoing legal practice was an early benefit (19:52)

The experience of government and the great challenge that needs to be overcome (27:10)

The single piece of legislation that Paul is most proud of from his time as Secretary to the Treasury (32:38)

The importance of identity and the consequence of forgetting it (34:56)

Why companies and government need to see their customers as citizens, not just as customers (39:22)

The work of the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund, which came out of the Africa Commission (42:37)

The advantage of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and the reason why Africa represents a market opportunity (48:14)

If there was one practical change Paul could make before hanging up his gloves (55:07)

What advice would Paul give to young changemakers who are just starting out? (57:25)


Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund Website