Strive Masiyiwa becomes Zimbabwe’s First Billionaire

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Strive Masiyiwa, a london-based Zimbabwean businessman, entrepreneur and philanthropist has become Zimbabwe’s first billionaire and has been named the 14th richest man in Africa.

According to a report by Forbes, Masiyiwa, 57 is now worth $1.7 billion.

Mr Masiyiwa is the founder and executive chairman of diversified international Telecommunications, Media and Technology group Econet Wireless. He began working in telecoms and set up Econet in 1993. In 1998, despite opposition from the now-ousted dictator Robert Mugabe he launched a mobile phone network ‘at a time when 70 per cent of the country inhabitants had never heard a ringtone’, according to Forbes.

The company has investments in financial services, insurance, e-commerce, renewable energy, education, Coca-Cola bottling, hospitality and payment gateway solutions. Econet Group also has a Pay television outfit, Kwesé TV, which is already competing favorably across Africa with Naspers’ DSTV.

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Mr Masiyiwa also has a majority stake in fiber optic firm Liquid Telecom. In July last year, Liquid Telecom, a subsidiary of Econet Group successfully raised $700 million in a bond offering.

Mr Masiyiwa is also known as one of the most prolific African philantropists, focusing in particular on young people,

Mr Masiyiwa and his wife Tsitsi, pictured in 2016, are devoted philantropists and run several organisations supporting young people in Africa

He founded the Higherlife Foundation together with his wife Tsitsi, which pays school fees for some 40,000 students in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Burundi and Lesotho who are either orphaned or from low-income families.

Friends in high places: The 56-year-old businessman is pictured with former US President Barack Omaba in Washington DC in 2016