By Abdul Rahman Bangura–
NEW AFRICA BUSINESS NEWS (NABN) Freetown, Sierra Leone- Strive Masiyiwa, (60) heralded his birthday on January 29th, 2021 is a philanthropist and fellow of the task force found by the African Union (AU) to combat Covid-19 as well as on the committees of various multinationals involving Unilever and Bank of America.
He is also the only billionaire from Zimbabwe. Masiyiwa has aloft all, for additionally thirty years, been one of the fundamental entrepreneurs dominating the mainland’s digital modification.
Masiyiwa rapidly erected an ecosystem around his Econet Group that broadened beyond Zimbabwe’s borders and subsidized hugely in South Africa. He then boosted its partnerships, dissipating associates from Botswana to Lesotho, from Rwanda to Nigeria and Burundi, and then to other continents. Masiyiwa began again to think in the notion of not clasping to one specialization, of being and staying – as much as possible – one step ahead.
Thus, the Econet Group undertook itself into satellite, terrestrial and submarine cables, subscription television (under the name of Kwese TV, its biggest failure to date), and – more recently – data centers, which it describes as “a revolution that will mark a new era for the technology sector”.
Masiyiwa’s excursion has not been one without blunders, and that is what gives rise to it exciting. He succeeded in his legitimate battle with the Zimbabwean administrations over opening up telecommunications to competition, but he reimbursed a high price for it as he had to leave the country, where his connections with the political authorities stay tense.
In 2019, the Harare authorities’ judgment to ban the usage of foreign currencies on their soil and to authorize only the Zimbabwean dollar seems to have brought him to his knees. Between market mistrust and inflation, the local currency lost 95% of its value and the businessman, whose assets are still listed in Zimbabwe, saw his wealth plummet. In a few months, his fortune fell from $2.3 billion to $1.1billion.
The Covid-19 pandemic and the coexisting financial emergency have come at the wrongness possible time for the Econet Group and its boss. Nonetheless, it tended to shake back spectacularly during 2020.
Its subsidiary Liquid Telecom renamed Liquid Intelligent Technologies, managed a few weeks ago to raise $840 million on the markets to restructure its debt and proceed with its development. Managed by its former lawyer – Nic Rudnick, it is now Africa’s leading fiber-optic operator, running a network of more than 70,000km from Cape Town to Cairo, with a recent link to fiber-optics always linked to the Higher Life Foundation, which he founded in 1996 with his wife Tsitsi.
Especially apprehensive with building bridges between Africa and the rest of the world as well as with the emergence of an era of new graduates on the landmass, the entrepreneur has already granted more than 100,000 scholarships. He has also set up, with former US president Barack Obama’s support, a programme intended for at dispatching young US citizens to work in his Africa-based corporations at the outset of their careers. And because it’s worth to note that, Masiyiwa is likewise intimate to Chinese billionaire Jack Ma, to whom he assists open the doors of presidential palaces across the continent.
For New Africa Business News (NABN) Abdul Rahman Bangura Reports, Africa Correspondent
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