My Very First Profile For 2021,Is London-based Zimbabwean billionaire businessman and philanthropist Strive Masiyiwa
The Billionaire with a Heart of Gold
Wikipedia introduces him as someone who has gained international recognition for his business expertise and philanthropy, and is considered one of Africa’s most generous humanitarians. Strive Masiyiwa has provided scholarships to over 250,000 young Africans over the past 20 years through his family foundation. He supports more than 40,000 orphans with educational initiatives and sponsors students at universities in America, The United Kingdom, and China. Over the last few years, Masiyiwa has devoted his time to mentoring the next generation of African entrepreneurs on Facebook. Facebook has identified his platform as having the most engaged following of any business leader in the world. Strive Masiyiwa a Zimbabwean, who celebrates his 60th birthday on the 29th of January this year is my first profile for 2021.
Zimbabwean health workers have Strive in their hearts. According to Bloomberg, in March 2020, he paid out $10 million in cash and other assistance made of protective clothing, life and health insurance and transport for nurses and doctors to more than 1,700 health-care workers. The Pan African Magazine the NEW AFRICAN in its December 2020 edition lists Strive who it describes as a “problem solver” him amongst the 100 most influential Africans. Bloomberg has Strive on its 2020 list of the 50 most important people in business. Strive Masiyiwa is the founder and executive chairman of Econet Global, a telecommunications company that operates across Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America. Econet offers phone, broadband and satellite service, and is also a major provider of mobile payments. He and his wife Tsitsi founded the Higherlife Foundation, which supports orphaned and poor children in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Burundi and Lesotho.
Susan Rice, 2018 became the first black person to get on the Board of NETFLIX as she leaves to join the Biden administration her place will be taken up by Strive which makes him the very first African on the Board of NETFLIX. There is no doubt that this choice by NETFLIX is reasoned and strategic. As it expands into Africa there is no doubt that Strive will be a key player in their strategy for the continent.
Strive a Telecommunications engineer, got into business around 1986 as the owner of a construction company. In 1993 he saw the arrival of the Global System for Mobile Communications- GSM (a standard developed in Europe used to describe the protocols for digital cellular networks used by mobile devices such as mobile phones and tablets)
as an opening but was forced into long legal battle to break the alleged monopoly which the National Telephone company claimed. Tenacious and focused he was able to win the battle launch his company.
As one of the richest men in Africa, and Zimbabwe’s richest person, Strive has without any doubt attracted the admiration of the global business community and remains the pride of the continent. However, what continues to awe the global humanitarian community is the extent of his philanthropy. On the African continent he is second to none. His actions definitely speak louder than his words. In 2018, Theresa May, the then British Prime Minister, recognized Strive and his wife, Tsitsi Masiyiwa, for their exceptional voluntary service providing education to underprivileged children in Zimbabwe, by awarding them with the Points of Light award.
The Points of Light Award recognizes outstanding volunteers who are making a change in their community and inspiring others. Each day, someone, somewhere in the country is selected to receive the award to celebrate their remarkable achievements. The Prime Minister makes daily announcements of the winners to celebrate, encourage and promote volunteering and the value that it brings to the country. Tsitsi and Strive Masiyiwa are the founders of the Higher Life Foundation, a non-profit organisation that is empowering vulnerable children through education and creating opportunities for highly talented young people. Through one of the largest scholarship programmes in Africa, the Foundation pays the school fees for 20,000 students annually in Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Burundi who they call their “history makers”. In 2013, Tsitsi and Strive established a $6.4 million scholarship fund that sends students to Morehouse College in the United States. They have developed an online platform, ‘Ruzivo Digital Learning’, which provides digital learning opportunities for thousands of students every month aligned to the national curriculum. They also co-founded ‘Muzinda Hub’ in 2014, the fastest growing tech hub in Sub-Saharan Africa which is tackling unemployment in Zimbabwe by training 1,000 young coders in digital skills and IT programming.
Theresa May praised the Masiyiwas for their philanthropic endeavors in a private letter.
“By founding the ‘Higherlife Foundation’ you have demonstrated your shared commitment to improving the learning opportunities of children across Africa. You should be enormously proud of your tireless work supporting hundreds of thousands of children to improve their life chances by accessing quality education and training,” May said in her letter.
In responding to the letter, the Masiyiwas received the award on behalf of their children, Econet Group and Higherlife Foundation.
“We are just the face of the incredible work done by the Higherlife Foundation team and all our partners, whom we consider the true heroes in spearheading this work. Helping the orphans and the socially and economically distressed in our communities is anchored in our faith which reminds us that it is a blessing to give and that to whom much is given much is required. Through Higherlife Foundation we have managed to directly and indirectly impact over 250,000 Africans with plans to do much more. We envision an Africa in which young people find their vocation and are positioned to develop their communities for global impact and we believe this can be achieved in our lifetime,” the Masiyiwas said.
Tsitsi and Strive are the 925th and 926th winner of the Points of Light award, which has been developed in partnership with the hugely successful Points of Light programme in the USA. Over 6,000 Points of Light have been awarded in the USA, and former Presidents have publicly supported the partnership with Points of Light UK. There is a similar cross-party approach to the UK programme and MPs from different parties often present their constituents with their Points of Light awards.
In an interview in 2017 at Stanford College in the US he said the three requirements to become a successful businessman were to be able to read, count and sell. He also said the main requirement of winning the trust of others is by ensuring that you are not transactional.
In choosing the very first profile for 2021, it was important to find that someone special who could inspire others. I am sure that I was able to find that special person, and he is Strive Masiyiwa. For he certainly uses his voice for kindness, his ears for compassion, his hands for charity his mind for truth, and his heart for love. The billionaire with a golden heart.