ENTREPRENEUR: MEET THE TELECOMS GURU OF AFRICA - STRIVE MASIYIWA -PART 1




Dr Strive Masiyiwa is a Zimbabwean born -29th January 1961- Enterprise Titan, who had his primary and secondary education in Zambia and Scotland respectively.  He holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Wales.

 Upon graduating he worked briefly with the computer industry in Cambridge, England and returned to Zimbabwe in 1984. Back home, he joined the Zimbabwe Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (PTC) as a Senior Engineer rising quickly to the post of principle engineer.

He left the PTC in 1988 to start his own business, Retrofit Engineering with $75USD, which he established into a household name. 

Let’s talk a walk through his personality and profile to enrich our minds in our Enterprise revolution journey.

He is:

THE TELECOMS GURU OF AFRICA:

He is the chairman of Econet group, which consists of Econet Wireless International, Econet Wireless Global, Mascom Wireless Botswana, Former Econet Wireless Nigeria (now Airtel Nigeria), Econet Satellite Services, Lesotho Telecom, Econet Wireless Burundi, Rwanda Telecom, Econet Wireless South Africa, Solarway, and Transaction Processing Systems (TPS). 

The operations of the group include: Mobile cellular telephony, Enterprise networks, Fixed networks, Fibre optic cables and Satellite services.

Econet Wireless, a Telecoms company established in 1994, Masiyiwa’s core business, with Headquarters at Johannesburg, started in Zimbabwe; has spread around the world like wild fire with branches in Africa -Burundi, Lesitho, Kenya, Boswana, Rwanda, Mauritius, Ivory Coast, South Africa, Central Republic of Africa and Nigeria. Yes Nigeria!

In spite of all, Econet wireless still has a stake in the Nigerian Telecoms sector till date. It is the first mobile communications network in Nigeria with the code – 0802.

Others countries include: United Kingdom, US, Latin America and New Zealand, United Arab Emirates, and China.

AN ENTERPRISE TITAN: In 1994, 70% of Africans had never heard a Telephone ring. People all across Africa desperately needed a reliable and cost-effective means of reaching out to their loved ones and associates wherever they were in the world.

He saw this human need in the African society as a young engineer and set out to address it with his wealth of experience in Technology.

 Econet wireless, the company he set up to address the Telecoms need in Africa went across Africa and beyond in less than 15 years, making it the number 1 telecoms company in Africa.

According to his statement, “We didn’t wake up and say we wanted to make billions of dollars; we said we wanted to extend telecommunications to all the people of Africa.”

Being the largest telecoms operator in Zimbabwe, with a subscriber base of over 9 million,  Econet’s market capitalization in the African region is well over $600,000, making it’s an investor’s delight.

 Other businesses in Masiyiwa’s conglomerate include: Econet include enterprise networks, financial services, renewable energy, Insurance, Bottling for coca-Cola, Safari lodges, television and media (Kwesé TV).

The businesses in his conglomerate are leading businesses in Africa. Besides Econet wireless, which is a huge success in the African continent, their range of solar products are distributed in more than 40 markets around the world.

A WRITER/AUTHOR: He has published several articles and journals on a number of issues ranging from Telecoms, Entrepreneurship, Technology, Finance, Energy, to health, Education, Leadership, Poverty eradication, Anti-corruption, environment, amongst others.

He is the author of the book: How To build A Multi-Billion Dollars Business. A Lesson in Building a Highly Scalable Startup and a Large Scale Enterprise.

 THE RICHEST MAN IN ZIMBABWE: He is a London-based Zimbabwean Enterprise Titan, with a net worth of over $600,000 according to Forbes, making him the richest man in Zimbabwe.

  A DOGGED ENTREPRENEUR:
When he saw the Telecoms need in Africa and wanted to meet the need beginning with his home country, he was subdued and frustrated by the Zimbabwean government, but a prolonged battle in court which lasted for almost 5 years, Masiyiwa had victory.

His doggedness, Patience and relentlessness paid off and today we have the Telecoms gaint, Econet Wireless, spreading like wild fire around the world.

 A MAN OF INTEGRITY: He is anti-corruption personified. In the course of building his businesses, he had gone through a number of challenges that put his integrity into test, but in all, he had countless victories.

In his 10 rules for success, he urged all Enterprise players to declare their stand on corruption to everyone working with them.

Even his workforce can attest to the fact that he has zero tolerance for corruption.   

 A TEACHER: He has several platforms- his blog and  facebook - where he teaches and mentors Entrepreneurs and Aspiring Entrepreneurs around the world who care to connect with him.  

As one of the most respected African business leaders today, these online platforms are being flooded by regular followers. In 2016, his facebook platform was being recognized by facebook as the most populated and active platform on facebook.

He makes regular publications on these platforms that have affected lives. Through the teaches on his platforms, sound business ideas are being conceived, businesses are being established, distressed businesses are being revived, existing businesses are being expanded.

Masiyiwa gives a rundown on how he got to where he is right now.  Unlike what most successful business people in Africa do when asked on how they got to where they are. Their answers are always, “I worked hard.”

Indeed the platform is one of the online platforms which gives hope to the future of the enterprise in Africa.

 A TRANSFORMATIONAL SPEAKER: Masiyiwa speaks regularly in conferences around the world; is key note addresses and speeches have transformed lives.

He is regularly featured in leading international publications and television programs,  such as Forbes, Bloomberg,  Fortune, the Economist, Newsweek, Barron’s of New York, Financial Times and CNN.

A GAME CHANGER:    
Prior to 1994, 70% of Africans had never heard a Telephone ring, let along being proud owners of mobile phones. Today, there are more than 75% of the people in African with cell phones. Thanks to Strive Masiyiwa and his team – The Econet group.

His prolonged court battle and victory with the Zimbabwean government which led to the removal of the state monopoly in Telecoms is seen as a milestone in opening Africa’s telecommunications sector to private capital.

His home country, Zimbabwe now has other Telecoms operators from the private sector.

At present, he is working in collaboration with Richard Branson to proffer a lasting solution to the Electricity challenge frustrating Africa.

He’s indeed an agent of transformation in Africa's Telecoms sector and in the well being of Africans.

to be continued.........


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