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"

Strive Masiyiwa is the Founder and Executive Chairman of the Econet Group, a pan-African telecommunications, media and technology (TMT) and renewable energy company, focused on digitally connecting customers in the 28 markets – mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Strive Masiyiwa
Chairman and Founder, Econet 

Masiyiwa serves on several international boards including Unilever Plc, and the Global Advisory boards of the Council on Foreign Relations in the US, and Stanford University. A former board member of the Rockefeller Foundation for 15 years, he also serves as Chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). He has served on two key United Nations Commissions, at the invitation of the Secretary-General – one on Financing Global Education Opportunity, and another on Sustainable Energy for All.

In Africa, he has worked on reform of the African Union and enabling the Continental Free-Trade Area, as part of a Taskforce led by President Paul Kagame. He also drives continent-wide digital transformation as the only private sector member, among a dozen Heads of State, of the SMART Africa Board.

As a philanthropist, Masiyiwa is a member of the Giving Pledge, and his contributions to education, health and development have been widely recognized. Masiyiwa and his wife finance the Higher Life Foundation, which has supported the education of over 250,000 African orphaned, vulnerable and gifted children across Africa over the past 20 years.

Over the last few years, Masiyiwa has devoted his time to mentoring the next generation of African entrepreneurs through his Facebook page, which has a growing followership of over 3.9-million young people from across the continent. For almost two years, Facebook has identified his platform as having the most engaged following of any business leader in the world.

Masiyiwa has been selected twice, in 2014 and 2017, to Fortune Magazine’s list of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders”.

CNN Marketplace Africa

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


Chairman's Thoughts

  • 19 Aug 2019

    Pause: A note from the side of the road…

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  • 13 Aug 2019

    The skills of the future (Part 7)

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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)

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.

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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...”


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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