Econet founder now worth $1.7billion
By Nsikan Ikpe
With a current value of $1.7billion, Zimbabwe-originating business mogul, Dr Strive Masiyawa has joined the exclusive Forbes billionaire league.
The 57-year old Masiyawa, is founder of the Econet Group, that has interests in ‘financial services, insurance, e-commerce, renewable energy, education, Coca-Cola bottling, hospitality and payment gateway solutions.’
In addition, one of its star outgrowths, its Pay television subsidiary, Kwesé TV, has equally launched operations in several territories across Africa and is presently locked in an expanding competition with regional leaders, DSTV.
Another subsidiary, Liquid Telecom, reportedly raised $700 million in a bond and term loan financing package from international financiers at about the middle of last year.
A much sought after conference speaker and motivator, the pan-African enthusiast and businessman is a regular participant on globally-covened panel discussions on issues ranging from entrepreneurship, continental development and anti-corruption.
Masiyawa’s first major business move was the founding of Econet in 1993. He is also a notable philantropist, and among other endeavours in this regard, he and his wife, Tsitsi, had set up the Higher Life Foundation which pays the school fees of over 40,000 students across the Primary, High school and Tertiary levels. They are also patrons of the Ambassador Andrew Young Scholarship, a $6.4 million dollar operation that finances African students attendance at Morehouse College in the United States.
He is an eminent pioneer of the Nigerian GSM telecommunications revolution, having led Econet into securing one of the initial GSM licences on offer and which led to his being the first person in recorded history to make a GSM call in the country when he called the then President to inform him that the network installation processes had been successfully concluded!
Econet Nigeria was however to be enmeshed in boardroom and court disputes, and a gale of subsequent takeovers has presently seen that historic license being in the hands of Airtel.