It’s official! The South African country Zimbabwe got its first billionaire. This is 56-year-old Strive Masiyiwa, who is also named the 14th richest man in Africa. The London-based businessman is now worth $1.7bn (£1.26) according to Forbes. Although Mr. Masiyiwa was born in Zimbabwe, he moved to the UK as a child, and attended secondary school in Scotland. Moreover, he has an engineering degree from the University of Wales.
When he returned to Zimbabwe in 1984, he began working in telecoms and set up Econet in 1993. In 1998, despite the different opinion of the then-dictator Robert Mugabe, he launched a mobile phone network. It was interesting to do it when 70 percent of the people in the country had never even heard a ringtone, according to Forbes.
Econet Wireless Group still operates in Africa, Europe, South America and the East Asia Pacific Rim, while Mr. Masiyiwa has lived in London since 2010.
He is not only a businessman, but also a prolific philanthropist, whose focus is young people. He founded the Higherlife Foundation together with his wife Tsitsi. The organization works to pay the school fees of 40,000 students in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Burundi, and Lesotho. These students were either orphaned or from low-income families.
The couple also established the Ambassador Andrew Young Scholarship, which gives African students an opportunity to attend the Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, US.
Just recently, he has also been trying to stop the migration from Africa to Europe, aksing people not to risk their lives in crossing the Mediterranean.
“I understand we face the problem of corruption, bribery, bad policies, but it doesn’t mean you should take to crossing the Sahara or the Mediterranean,” he told CNN last month,
“We see the drownings… in the Mediterranean, young people trying to get to Europe. So this is my own way, as well to try to respond to that crisis, which is to say to young people; “Listen, let’s do something. We can create jobs. You can be entrepreneurs, or you can work for entrepreneurs. You don’t have to take this incredible risk”.”
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