Our Chairman


Strive Masiyiwa

  • BIRTHPLACE Zimbabwe
  • BORN 29 January
  • RESIDENCE South Africa
  • EDUCATION BSC (HON) Electrical Engineering University of Wales
  • Hobbies Reading, Studying, and Meditating on God's' Word, "to Do"

One of the pioneers of the mobile telecoms industry in Africa, Strive Masiyiwa is the Founder and Executive Chairman of the Econet Group (“Econet”) which comprises Cassava Technologies and Econet Wireless.

Strive Masiyiwa
Chairman and Founder, Econet 

In 1993 Mr Masiyiwa founded Econet Wireless which is headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa. Econet Wireless is the mobile telephone networks and mobile money business of Econet with operations in Botswana, Burundi, Lesotho, and Zimbabwe.

Headquartered in London, Mr Masiyiwa later founded and serves as Executive Chairman of Cassava Technologies, Africa’s leading technology company of continental scale.

More than 20 years ago Mr Masiyiwa had a vision to create an entire ecosystem of digital solutions to connect people and businesses across the continent. Cassava Technologies now encompasses Africa’s largest open access cross-border fibre broadband network spanning over 100,000km (60,000+ miles), Africa’s largest network of interconnected carrier neutral data centres, solar renewable energy, cloud and cybersecurity, fintech, and on-demand digital platforms.

Born in Zimbabwe, Mr Masiyiwa left the country in 2000, and is based in London. He currently serves on several international boards including Unilever Plc, Netflix, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, National Geographic Society, and the Global Advisory boards of Bank of America, the Council on Foreign Relations (USA), Stanford University, the Bloomberg New Economy Forum, and the Prince of Wales Trust for Africa. Mr Masiyiwa is the only African member of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Committee on Conscience.

In June 2020 Mr Masiyiwa was appointed by the African Union as a Special Envoy for Covid-19 where he coordinated the acquisition of medical supplies, therapeutics, and vaccines for Africa on a global basis. He stepped down in February 2022.

A board member of the Rockefeller Foundation for 15 years as one of its longest serving trustees, Mr Masiyiwa is a co-founder with Kofi Annan, The Rockefeller Foundation, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, of an initiative to help 400m African smallholder farmers, known as the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa. He then became its second chairman after Kofi Annan, and since stepping down has continued to serve as Chairman Emeritus. He was honored for this work with the Norman Borlaug World Food Prize Medallion.

Mr Masiyiwa served on the African Union Reform Task Force that led to the breakthrough of the African Continental Free Trade Area and the creation of the SMART Africa digital transformation initiative. Together with Melinda Gates and Hon Sri Mulyani, Minister of Finance of Indonesia, he recently served as co-chair of the Pathways for Prosperity Commission for Technology and Inclusive Development, headquartered at Oxford University.

Mr Masiyiwa is a co-founder with Richard Branson of the Carbon War Room and the B-Team. He is a founding member of the Global Business Coalition on Education. He previously chaired the Micronutrient Initiative of Canada and served on the jury of the Hilton Humanitarian Prize. At the invitation of the UN Secretary-General, Mr Masiyiwa has served on two UN Commissions: Financing Global Education Opportunities and Sustainable Energy for All.

From 2013, Mr Masiyiwa devoted time each week to mentoring the next generation of African entrepreneurs through his Facebook page with a followership of 5.8m+. For several years, his platform was identified by Facebook as having the most engaged following of any business leader in the world: https://www.facebook.com/strivemasiyiwa

In 1996 Mr Masiyiwa and his wife Tsitsi co-founded the Higherlife Foundation and later Delta Philanthropies whose primary focus is social impact investment in human capital to build thriving individuals and communities. The family’s social impact investments in Africa include the critical sectors of education; health; rural transformation and sustainable livelihoods; and disaster relief and preparedness, with a focus on communities, women, and children. They are signatories of the Giving Pledge.

In 2020, Mr Masiyiwa was named amongst Bloomberg’s 50 Most Influential People, New African Magazine’s 100 Most Influential Africans, and Mail & Guardian’s 100 Africans of the Year. In 2014, 2017 and 2021, Masiyiwa was listed amongst Fortune Magazine’s “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders”.

An honorary fellow of the African Academy of Sciences, Masiyiwa has received honorary doctorates from Morehouse College, Yale University, Nelson Mandela University, and University of Cardiff where he received a BSc in Electrical Engineering.

CNN Marketplace Africa

Africa is not going to be left behind or outside the data revolution


Strive Masiyiwa is a well-known international business leader who has won numerous international recognition and awards. Some of his awards include the following:

“10 Most Outstanding Young Persons of the World”
(Jaycees 1999 – Business Category)
“15 Global Influential’s of the Year”
(CNN/Time Magazine Poll -2003)
Builders of Modern Africa
(2010 – Winner)
“25 Leaders of Africa’s Renaissance”
(Times of London – 2011)
“20 Most Powerful Business People in African Business”
(Forbes Magazine – 2011)
Invited by President Barak Obama to attend G-8 Summit at Camp David
(G-8 Summit, Camp David - 2012)
50 Greatest Leaders
(Fortune Magazine – 2014)
”10 Most Powerful Men in Africa”
(Forbes Magazine – 2015)
”Lifetime Achievement Award”
(African Business Awards – 2015)
”Lifetime Achievement Award”
(Brand Africa Awards – 2015)
”Freedom Award”
(International Rescue Committee – 2015)
”UN Foundation Global Leadership Award”
(UN Foundation Global Leadership Award for Africa Against Ebola Solidarity Trust – 2015)
”World 50 Greatest Leaders”
(World 50 Greatest Leaders, Fortune Magazine – 2017)
”Points of Light Award”
(Points of Light Award – 2018)
”World Food Prize Medallion”
(Norman Borlaug World Food Prize Medallion – 2019)
”100 Most Influential Africans”
(New African Magazine, 100 Most Influential Africans – 2019)
”International Peace Lecture Laureate”
(9th Annual International Peace Lecture Laureate, Leah & Desmond Tutu Legacy Foundation – 2019)
”JA Worldwide Global Business Hall of Fame”
(Inducted as JA Worldwide Global Business Hall of Fame Laureate – 2020)
”50 Most Influential People in the World”
(Bloomberg’s 50 Most Influential People in the World – 2020)
”100 Most Influential Africans”
(New African Magazine, 100 Most Influential Africans – 2020)
”100 Africans of the Year”
(Mail & Guardian Continental Edition, 100 Africans of the Year – 2020)

As a respected business leader today, Strive Masiyiwa speaks regularly on business and economic issues at major international gatherings, and has been regularly featured in leading international publications and television programmes, among them the Economist, Newsweek, CNN, Barron’s of New York and the Financial Times and The World Economic Forum.


Strive Masiyiwa is internationally recognised for his leadership contributions in a number of areas outside of business including his crusading campaigns to stamp out corruption in Africa. He is a leading business voice, championing the establishment and promotion of the rule of law.

Over the years Strive Masiyiwa has served on many international boards and foundations.


Strive Masiyiwa is currently involved in the following for-profit and not-for-profit organisations :

(International Commission Member)
(Non-Executive Director)
(Board Member)
(Member of the Committee on Conscience)
( Advisory Board Member)
(Global Advisory Board Member)
(Global Advisory Board Member)
(Parents Leadership Council Member)
(Advisory Board Member)
(Board Member)
(Advisory Board Member)

Business Leadership

As one of a small, but rapidly growing number of global companies from Africa, Econet is at the forefront of ensuring that the voice of African business is heard at major international gatherings.

The company not only participates in such events, but has also actively sponsored, hosted, and supported meetings and dialogues, to promote better understanding concerning African economic issues, as well as social development issues, health and the environment.

  • White House Summit on Global Development - POTUS

  • A Tribute to Ambassador Andrew J. Young

  • Strive Masiyiwa - Anti-Corruption Summit London 2016

  • Strive Masiyiwa answers: how have you made your businesses more sustainable?

  • The Plan B Kick-Off Live Event

  • Strive Masiyiwa and Isis Nyong’o Madison Join the U.S.-Africa Business Forum Google Hangout

  • Closing Keynote - M4D Summit 2013

  • Strive Masiyiwa answers: how have you made your businesses more sustainable?

  • CSR Video Updates: Interview with Strive Masiyiwa

  • Econet Solar Home Power Station on CNN

  • President Obama Speaks on Food Security at G8 Meeting

  • President Obama Speaks on Supporting Agriculture to Fight Hunger

  • President Obama Delivers Morehouse College Commencement Address

  • Investing in African Prosperity

  • Strive Masiyiwa Delivers Morehouse College Commencement Address

  • CSR Video Updates: Interview with Strive Masiyiwa

  • Connecting a Continent: Linking Places, People and Markets

TV & Media

Africa is not going to be left behind or outside the data revolution. Strive Masiyiwa sat down with CNN Marketplace Africa host Zain Asher to talk about investment in broadband infrastructure and the future of mobile technology.

Learn More

Strive Masiyiwa was recently selected by Fortune Magazine as one of “the world’s 50 greatest leaders”.

Learn More

This CNN video shows Econet Solar's new invention, the Home|Power|Station - a device that is destined to improve the quality of many lives in developing countries around the globe.

Watch Video

CNN Marketplace Africa sits down with Strive Masiyiwa, the founder of Econet Wireless.

Watch Video

As one of the most respected African business leaders today, Mr. Masiyiwa speaks regularly on African business at major international business gatherings and has been regularly featured in leading international publications and television programs, among them the Economist, Newsweek, Barron’s of New York, Financial Times and CNN.

Watch Video

Branson on Strive

“As I’m writing about these businesses, ......I’m reminded of a conversation I had with Strive Masiyiwa, chairman and founder of Econet, one of the largest telecommunication companies in the world. ...... Strive is passionate about Africa gaining full economic freedom. ....he wanted to make an even bigger difference.”

“one of the people responsible for this communications revolution is one of my co-founders in the carbon war room, Strive Masiyiwa.”

In 1965, when Strive was seven years old, Rhodesia’s leader Ian Smith authored a unilateral declaration of independence from Britain. Strive’s parents left the country, sending their son to a boarding school in Edinburgh. Strive longed to return home and he planned eventually to go to Zambia and join the guerrillas, just across the border, to fight in the armed struggle against Smith’s ruling white minority. But then he talked to his cousin- who ran a training camp for the guerrilla army that would one day become Robert Mugabe’s  Zanu –PF party- who told him he was too late: the war was all but won. What the new country needed now, more than soldiers, was educated people. Strive listened to his cousin's wise words and stayed in Britain to study, earned his degree, and, returning to what was now Zimbabwe, he went to work for the national telephone company. Growing emerging markets and mobile phone networks have become a marriage made in heaven. Mobile networks are quicker and cheaper to buy than landlines. In 1993, Strive had no trouble acquiring the finance needed to launch his first mobile phone company. The trouble was that Mugabe did not want to grant any licences for new mobile phone companies. Strives legal battles with Mugabe came to a head in 1996 when the presidential decree banned private cell phone operations. But Strive did not give up and decided to take the government to court. In December 1997 he won his case and proceeded to set up Econet as a successful mobile phone company in Zimbabwe.

By then, however, Strives vision had grown. His ambitions had extended beyond his troubled country's frontiers, and from his headquarters in Johannesburg he decided to create a truly multinational African Business, one that today spans seven countries, boasts more than twenty-five million customers and generates an estimated $3 Billion (£1.8 Billion) in annual revenues. Econet is a celebrated example of African entrepreneurship and is changing people’s lives for the better every day.


Strive also has a deep sense of responsibility about giving something back to the community. Through the Capernaum Trust, which he set up with his wife, profits have so far provided education for 26,000 orphans. Strive sits on the board of Trusties of the Rockefeller Foundation and works with Kofi Annan’s Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa – as well as being the co founder with me and seven other entrepreneurs in the Carbon War room.

Just as important as what he is doing individually are the values Strive has instilled in his company.The firm provides counselling and antiretroviral drugs for its employees and their families who are living with HIV/AIDS. It spreads entrepreneurial opportunity, investing in heavily in community phone shops and payphones throughout its local markets to bring connectivity to people who would normally not be able to afford it. In brining telecommunications to those communities, Econet is empowering local populations, giving them the chance to be entrepreneurs by running these businesses. Econet’s phones, like millions of others around the world, are becoming doctors, insurance companies, banks and so much more.

The opportunity to use the mobile phone to drive change in the world is enormous, with over 5.3 Billion mobile phone users in the world and 90% of the world’s population able to get access to a mobile service. Take health: by 2015, five hundred million people will be using mobile health applications around the world. This simple device is transforming our response to health issues, from prevention of diseases such as HIV with education through mobile games, to diagnostic and treatment support, to outbreak tracking, the list goes on...”


Click on the book for more information


Africa Progress Panel African Union Reforms Asia Society Council on Foreign Relations Global Busines Coalition for Education Ashinaga Morehouse College National Geographic Society Pathways for Prosperity Stanford University Unilever United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Higherlife Foundation Jaycees Carbon War Room Africa Against Ebola The Rockefeller Foundation Forbes Theguardian Conrad N. Hilton Foundation The Times Agra Growing Africa's Agriculture