Are you an #Afripreneur looking to raise funds? (Part 2)

Are you an #Afripreneur looking to raise funds? (Part 2)

__Calling all food stars! Go to www.genafrica.org and apply to win.

It’s not a secret. I have shared on this platform before that if I were starting out as a young entrepreneur today, I would go into agriculture. Food is very big business now and looks to be a $1tn market in Africa, in the near future. Market size is only growing. I know there’s a perception in some circles that growing food is “drudgery” to be left behind as quickly as one can escape the rural village for the big city, but hear me out…

The future of food is the future of humanity! What work could be more important than ensuring that our families, nations and the world produce enough healthy and affordable food, and that it is grown efficiently, sustainably and profitably? New “4IR” (Fourth Industrial Revolution) technologies and innovations like digital farming have the potential to make this vision not just possible, but profitable, too!

This is why on 30 May in Johannesburg we at Econet and our founding partner Yara International, formally launched what we call the “Generation Africa” movement. Our vision is that together with partners and stakeholders across many sectors, we can help support Africa’s young#agripreneurs to launch and scale businesses that create new jobs and revolutionize Africa’s agri-food sector…

As some of you recall, we got started in January this year in Davos, Switzerland, where Yara CEO Svein Tore Holsether and I had a fireside chat along with amazing young Afripreneurs Ada Osakwe and Rapelang Rabana:https://www.facebook.com/strivemasiyiwa/videos/397283900844587/

On 30 May we also jointly launched the GoGettazAgripreneur Prize, a new US$100,000 competition for young African entrepreneurs, and another opportunity for you to raise “prize capital”! Ada Osakwe joined us again at our launch event along with Thato Moagi, an award-winning young agripreneur from South Africa. Here’s a great (4m) video that should tell you what you need to know about Generation Africa and the new competition:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kVt_BYbmgQ

__Online applications are now open, and will close on 21 July so don’t waste a moment! Find out all the details and apply for the competition onwww.genafrica.org.

In early September, the 12 finalists will take part in a pitch contest at the Africa Green Revolution Forum meeting in Accra, Ghana where two winners will be selected (one man and one woman) to receive $50K each to grow their businesses. All the finalists will get support and mentorship, too. I’ll share a bit more in the days ahead. You can also get the latest updates if you follow the GoGettaz Facebook page. Please share it with your friends!

The arrival of new “4IR” technologies like agricultural drones, robots and automation, make these exciting times for the agri-food sector across the world. Digital farming is the new frontier! If our young entrepreneurs across Africa don’t seize the moment, you can be sure that someone else will. Here’s a link to our Generation Africa Landscape study on Youth Enterprise in Africa’s Agri-food sector in case you missed it:https://genafrica.org/youth-enterprise-in-africas-agri-food-sector/

I want us to leapfrog ahead of the world! Whether we like it or not, from “seed to fork”, things are changing (though in some cases, not fast enough!) This means either great opportunity or crisis. The choice is ours!

Senior class: Take a look at a few of the numbers below and tell me what you “see”:

# In the past five years, agri-food tech startups in Israel raised nearly US$800m in 250+ deals with hundreds more deals in progress.

# In the Netherlands (Holland) another small but highly innovative country, you can find “Food Valley.” Why do they call it Food Valley? Give me one paragraph! Do we have any Food Valleys in Africa? If not, why not?

# In the US (2018), investors poured some US$17bn into agri-food tech such as predictive agriculture, robotics, drones, AI, automation… Some people are saying agri-food tech disruptions are going to be as world-changing as the invention of the Internet! What do you think?

# Investment in the agri-tech sector in Africa is growing too, about 110% in the two years 2016-2017 with Kenya leading the pack of agri-tech start-ups. Nigeria is not too far behind. But in comparison we have a very long way to go.

Another factor to consider: Africa is predicted to double in population to about 2.5bn, of the world’s projected 9.8bn people by 2050. About 41% of Africa’s population today is under the age of 15. Another 19% are between the ages of 15-24! This is Generation Africa! (The African continent also has the highest number of the world’s under-nourished people…)

__Who from which country will win this year’s inaugural GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize? What kind of amazing innovative product, service or business model will make global headlines on 4 September when the two grand prize winners are announced?

Every single one of you on this platform knows something about food. But how much?

Global demand is skyrocketing for more nutritious and affordable foods, produced in healthier and more efficient ways. Innovators… Are you paying attention? Africa has some foods that are available nowhere else in the world. What are we doing with them?

Investors around the world are paying very close attention to the agri-food sector and so must you.

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Wayne Gretzky

Go ahead and give it your best shot!

To be continued. . .

 

 

Author:Strive Masiyiwa

Strive Masiyiwa is the founder and Executive Chairman of the Econet Group. He serves on several international boards including Unilever, and the Global Advisory boards of the Council on Foreign Relations and Stanford University. A 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 is a co-founder of the Carbon War Room, Pathways for Prosperity, and the Global Business Coalition on Education. He and his wife, Tsitsi, co-founded the Higherlife Foundation and are signators of the Giving Pledge.

41 Replies to “Are you an #Afripreneur looking to raise funds? (Part 2)”

  1. Afterthought 3.

    Whilst Econet and Yara International are the founding partners of Generation Africa, one of our founding technical partners is called “VC4A”. VC4A is an online platform that connects African startups to opportunities, networks, partners, investors, mentors and more… Wow! I think you will all be interested in checking out the website. Let me know what you think. https://vc4a.com

  2. Afterthought 1.
    Amazing Nigerian food entrepreneur and investor Ms Ada Osakwe took time out from her incredibly busy schedule to fly to Johannesburg and take part in the launch of Generation Africa on 30 May as did top South African farmer and young entrepreneur of the year, Ms Thato Moagi, who both shared their inspiring stories as two leading food stars on the continent. Thank you to you both, as well as to South African moderator Maps Maponyane for taking part! (Ada Osakwe took part in our fireside chat in Davos, too). I will write more about them and other African food stars in the weeks ahead.

    Now over to you #Agripreneurs. Time to seize the moment!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kVt_BYbmgQ

  3. Afterthought 2.

    In the past year I have held several town halls and fireside chats talking about #agripreneurship including in Kigali, Rwanda; Berlin, Germany; Davos, Switzerland; Stanford University in the USA and more. If you decide to apply for this competition, be sure to do your research. The judges have not yet been selected but among a few specific criteria they will be looking for the innovation, scalability, sustainability, originality and innovation of your agri-food venture and business model. They will also be interested in your entrepreneurial mindset!

    If some of you are doing your research and not quite sure what I mean by “4IR” or the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” here’s a link to get you started: https://www.weforum.org/focus/fourth-industrial-revolution

  4. Afterthought 3.

    Whilst Econet and Yara International are the founding partners of Generation Africa, one of our founding technical partners is called “VC4A”. VC4A is an online platform that connects African startups to opportunities, networks, partners, investors, mentors and more… Wow! I think you will all be interested in checking out the website. Let me know what you think. https://vc4a.com

  5. Afterthought 5.

    Here’s an introductory quiz for some of you to get you thinking for next year’s GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize, if you feel like you aren’t quite ready yet for this year:

    # Do you know exactly who grew or processed the food you ate today?

    # How much water did it require to grow? What kind of irrigation was used?

    # Who harvested it using which equipment? Did it involve a tractor? A drone? A robot?

    # How was it transported?

    # How did it stay fresh before it got to you?

    # How was it packaged and labeled?

    # How did you yourself come to buy this food, and not something else?

    # If it was processed food, where and by whom?

    # Did the #processes involve renewable energy and recyclable materials? (Why not?!)

    __Was the food you ate mostly imported? Why!?!

    These are questions you have to start asking yourselves. Each step of the way is a business opportunity for you. Don’t feel bad if you knew nearly none of the answers yet. This is a great time to get started.

    Here’s a link to some exciting ventures already underway: https://moguldom.com/146613/agritech-startups-are-unlocking-the-potential-of-africas-largest-economic-sector/

  6. Afterthought 6.

    Remember the Gogettaz Agripreneur Prize application deadline is 21 July. In the spirit of building Africa’s century, would some of you please help me and our Generation Africa team get the word out across the continent?

    I would like to see excellent applicants from every single African country! Who can share with us suggestions of agritech incubators, accelerators, innovation hubs, universities (agriculture, tech and business departments), agricultural extension programs, farmers organizations and unions, food systems experts, and amazing agripreneurs in your own countries? If you can help, let’s talk. Our team will contact you or go ahead and share the contacts here. Also please like and share the GoGettaz Facebook page with them (if you like it!)

    http://www.genafrica.org

  7. Nwankwo Emmanuel writes,

    Sir, You’re right, at age 22(actually today is I turned 22), I’ve already made plans on how to become an agripreneur, I would venture into farming by next month… One sure thing that needs change is our youth’s perception and attitude towards agriculture. With the new technologies already in place, Farming has become more and more interesting…

    My reply,
    Happy birthday!
    From today, I want you to “see” the food [every thing you put in your mouth, even sweets] you eat every day, as an entrepreneur!
    Ask the questions:
    #1. Who produced it?
    #2. How was it produced?
    #3. How was it Distributed?
    #4. How much money do they make from this product?
    #5. How much waste does it produce?

    And here is the BIG One:
    What opportunities does it offer me as an entrepreneur?

  8. # I’m now an Agripreneur!

    Vaya Tractor is really doing well. We now have 2000 tractors registered on our App. We have not yet gone commercial, but it is clear that this service will be a blockbuster.
    My ambition is to have all the tractors in Africa on this App.
    How awesome is that?
    Vaya Tractor is part of Ecofarmer.
    I want to be the biggest farmer in Africa?
    What do you think;
    Should I go for it?
    This one is really for you. I will just help where I can.

    Hehehe!!!

  9. #Pause:

    Once I open your eyes to “seeing” like an entrepreneur, there will be no stopping you!

    I also need you to analyze things in numbers.
    Take for instance our new business @Clean City Africa:
    Every time you eat something, there is going to be “waste” involved. It can be body waste, or it can be waste from surplus or packaging like plastic and paper. Do you know how much money is made in management of waste?
    Hundreds of billions worldwide. I want my share!

    @Clean City Africa, we already have over 50 trucks collecting waste every day. And this is in just one African city [Harare] and after less than two months!
    We are using a digital platform, and an App to schedule collections and to receive payments. We are already employing more than 500 people.
    Now imagine where it will be 12 months from now, if we can apply the 3Ps properly. One day you will wake up and I’m listing @Clean City Africa!

  10. Silver Act writes,

    Most of this helpful information must find it’s way down to the people who have no access to internet. 90 percent farmers I use to know as a child some years back makes us believe that farmers are low class people who’s utmost effort is to make ends meet. 70 percent farmer from rural places still take after the old ways or pattern of farming. I think it will grow the farming industry if some of the rural farmers will gain access to some of this information. God bless u Dr. Strive Masiyiwa.

    My reply,
    I agree with you.
    Now you must go out and do it in your country. Start small in your own village, and from there building a national network.
    You can do it!

    On this platform, the moment you think of something, you must go out and do it.
    We don’t allow you to simply comment. We want solutions to any challenge you see.

  11. Sadiki John writes,

    Strive Masiyiwa what does this mean to the mobile money system? I’m curious

    My reply,
    I like your question!

    More importantly what does it mean for what most people consider to be “money”?
    What is “money” ? [senior class question]…what is a “currency”?
    [many of my countrymen in Zimbabwe are going to be extremely vexed by this question]

    Anyway, let those who have ears to hear, hear.

    Here are some comments on your specific question:

    #1. Every thing is subject to disruption. Mobile money as you know it is now 10 years old. In tech terms it is an old technology. Much of it is driven off USSD [feature phone platforms]…way too old!
    Something has to happen, and the smart operators know it will happen soon. We as Econet are a pioneering company and we have been at the forefront of change of this platform.
    Watch our own next moves!

    #2. Money as we know it is also a technology!
    Yes; paper money for instance was invented. It is an ancient and highly inefficient technology.
    It has been evolving dramatically.

    #3. Central bank control of creation of money is under assault. The Central Bank is an invention in of itself, and is actually quite young.
    In my life time, it is not inconceivable that what we call central banks will change dramatically and crypto currencies will enter the mainstream.

  12. Carol WaShe writes,

    lm into Agriculture in Zimbabwe but l have been making losses left right and centre. Injecting $3000 and getting less than $1500. The market it flooded

    My reply,
    Sadly you lost a lot more than that:
    This is just the loss on your cash, and does not include other costs that you incurred along the way like labour, transport, fuel and other expenses. Not to mention time spent.
    Unless you correctly diagnose what went wrong, you will lose even more more. It is from our failures that we often learn the best lessons.

  13. Abdullateef Tanko Nayashi writes,

    We, are planning to produce a drinks from our local source leaves with nutritional value, more healthier than most of the available soft drinks, we are making efforts to begin producing to supply neighborhood shops and go large scale production later.
    It’s an opportunity for us, as we join other competitors in this laudable contest, with hope, hard work, to emerged among the successful ones this September.

    My reply,
    One of the key aspects that you will have to master to make this a success is understanding packaging and merchandising. It will take time to build a brand that is trusted. Do not rush.
    This is a tough business.

  14. #Pause:
    #ShoutOut
    ReImagineRural Fund!!!

    Under our ReImagineRural Fund we have already approved more than $20m for chicken farmers in Zimbabwe. Most of these farmers are in rural Matabeleland, just as I promised.
    They are part of “Chicken Outgrower” scheme involving more than 25,000 rural farmers:
    They are given training to raise chickens the modern way. They then sell the chickens and eggs through central marketing platforms.
    Another $25m has been approved for cattle schemes in two Provinces called Masvingo, and Mashonaland.
    We have also funded horticulture projects.
    Vaya Tractor just completed its first ploughing scheme in an area called Middle Sabi.

  15. #Pause:
    Did you know that I breed wildlife?

    Yes, I have a place in Zimbabwe where I breed a rare African antelope called the Black Sable.
    It’s a beautiful animal which faces extinction through poaching.
    I don’t breed them for food just to protect them.

    I also have a program on elephants.

    One of these days I will tell about my work in conservation.

    Remember what Barack Obama once said:
    “In life you must learn to walk and chew gum at the same time..”

    There is so much you can do in life, so stretch yourself to do more!

  16. Ronald Nhambura Sithole writes,

    Strive Masiyiwa this has been one of my business for a period of more than two years now.I specifically focus on collection of soft PVC waste material. These includes plastic shoes and gumshoes.I have made contacts with companies who need such materials for recycle. Amongst so many great challenges the business is quite amazing. Its like you just take a walk and by the time you get back home you have something from nothing.

    Thank you for a great mentorship

    My reply,
    Lovemore Nyatsine, please find this guy and make him your partner!
    Smart guy!
    Next time I want to hear that you have taken him to West Africa!

  17. Biodun Collins Ogundipe writes,

    Short Pitch: Silverstream Limited is a small recycling and manufacturing company in Abuja started under 2-year. Presently, we produce about 2-Tons of recycled LDPE pellets monthly, market value of $720/ton. We have collected and recycled 28.5-Tons of waste plastic in 15-month, making money, employing labour, while cleaning up the environment. We must expand and stop selling our pellets out. Hence, we need investment to set up plant already designed for manufacturing pipes and nylon/plastic bags as our end-product (producing 7-tons monthly); with a potential revenue of $1300/ton, profit margin of 33%. We have been meeting our loan obligations and reinvesting.

    Dr Strive Masiyiwa, as a follow up to your initial response to me based on the pitch above, we are eagerly waiting and would be honored to partner with VAYA Clean City. We have a lot to benefit from one another, and we would like to be a major partner/contributor to the success of VAYA Clean City initiative in Nigeria. We are capable and even willing to take a lead for you. We have done some great work here in Waste Recycling and Manufacturing (albeit at a small scale); we’ve done the dirty jobs and withstood the challenges. I want to propose: let’s bring VAYA Clean City to Nigeria. Right now, we are handling #Abuja and the neighbouring states of #Nasarawa (we collect materials from Lafia already), #Niger State (we are already at Suleja), #Kaduna (we have suppliers from Jere and Kaduna Road), and we can easily initiate networks in #Kogi State capital of Lokoja. I would like to propose these five northern states for a start, and these are within our reach as Silverstream Ltd. In Kaduna right now, a medium-size Chinese company has started similar initiative, and they are competing with us for materials for our plant/production. But we will outgrown them eventually! All we need is a partnership like VAYA Clean City, and you’d see us do wonder. We’ve played the games; we’ve mastered the terrains. We just don’t have the resources and the waste collection network – this is where VAYA is KEY to us! It would be a dream come true for us to partner with you. VAYA and Silverstream can work it together.

    We will generate revenue and make money. Beyond listing trucks to be on the VAYA platform for waste collection services, Silverstream’s key strength is the manufacturing and the reprocessing part. This is huge for the polyethylene and polypropylene plastic industry, especially in the huge Nigerian market/population. There’s huge demand for the end products. Right from our initial interaction here on your platform, when you first mentioned VAYA Clean City, we had two people contacted us who are into waste collection and asking to list their trucks when VAYA Clean City get started, so they could be supplying/selling their waste material to our plant. It’s a big value chain, and we can create lots of jobs. In fact we have started talking to a few of our partners in Lagos and Port Harcourt too, they would be glad to list their waste collection trucks with us, and we can create a strong network of material inflow. Thank you, sir.

    My reply,
    This is actually a very good pitch, and I have said before we will look very seriously at making you one of our franchise partners, when we finally get to Nigeria.

    Now, as much as I see the opportunity in Nigeria, I do not want to make one of the most cardinal errors in business, which is to run before you can walk:
    @Clean City is a Start-Up, which means we still have to recruit the right #People, teach them the ropes and get them to settle down; next we must make sure the #Product meets customer expectation, which is never easy. Finally we must get the #Processes right.
    Then we must build ##P&L [the most important thing in a business]

    This is easy in a market where we have unlimited resources such as Zimbabwe. In my view it will take at least another 3 months before this business can try to work outside Harare, let alone another city within the same country. In about a year, we will turn our attention to Nigeria.

    Now even for you, follow the same principles:
    Focus on a key area of Nigeria, where you have competitive advantages, and make it work well. Then begin to expand.
    See you next year.
    Meanwhile go and see how things work in Zimbabwe. Next few weeks will be very instructive!

  18. #STOP FOR A MOMENT!

    Before you participate in this competition, or even if you are just following, answer this question:

    “So who is YARA?

    Who are these guys that we are partnering with?”

    I would like you to build #Research into an “entrepreneurial reflex”:
    Get on your browser and check them out:
    Write me two paragraphs about them.
    If you say something that stands out, I might invite you to Accra!

  19. Okpala Chukwunwike Nathan

    Nathan,
    This competition has already began. This is not the time to making suggestions about the rules, even good ones, because that is for next year.
    You are either going to participate and win, or you are going to encourage someone you know qualifies to win.
    Nothing is ever perfect in this world.

    I once knew a student at school, who would write long essays criticizing questions and making suggestions on better questions. Each time he got zero.
    You have only a few weeks to get this big prize.
    Go for it.

  20. Amos Olatayo Olatunde,

    I assume you are writing from Nigeria?
    My team will arrange for you to come to Accra!
    Why?
    You #Acted quickly!
    Well done.
    See you in Accra where you will travel as part of my party!

  21. #Companies like Coca Cola and Pepsi are global “food companies”:
    That is how they are defined by investors.
    Understanding what business sector you are in from an investor’s definition is very important when you are looking for capital.
    These companies were founded by entrepreneurs just like you today. These entrepreneurs developed products using an agricultural commodity, and in the process created huge demand for that commodity from farmers. It could be sugar cane, palm oil, potatoes, corn or even Cassava.

    Understanding the value chain is key to developing and scaling a business.
    Sometimes the opportunity does not lie in growing something but innovating with it to produce a product. Keep you eye open for such opportunities.

  22. #Pause:

    Starbucks Coffee!

    So I just arrived in Seattle Washington State. It is home to the world’s #1, and #2, richest person:
    Jeff Bezos of Amazon, and Bill Gates of Microsoft. It is also home of Boeing Aircraft company.
    What a place!

    Have you heard of Starbucks?
    Market Cap $100.4bn.
    They don’t grow coffee!
    Howard Shultz scaled a coffee shop into a global brand.
    Would you say he is an Agriprenuer?

    What has inspired you today?
    What changed the way you were taught to see things?

  23. #Drones!

    In Israel I was introduced to a Start Up, who developed an amazing business using drones:
    A young person on a motor cycle travels to small farms, and flies his drone over the field for 15 minutes. It takes high resolution photos which are downloaded onto a computer. From the pictures they can see every leaf on a plant and identify things like worms and moisture stress!

    #Agriprenuers!!!

    What Agriprenuer has inspired you recently; tell me about it?

  24. #Prohibited Communications:

    Every game has prohibited expressions, which suggest you are a “newbie” rather than a seasoned player.

    Let me give you an example:

    The terms “value addition” and “beneficiation”, are terms which most serious entrepreneurs [including yours truly] never want to hear!
    Surprised?
    We prefer the term “innovation”!

    If someone uses the term “value addition” or even “beneficiation”, they are not using the language of entrepreneurs. Its like someone in soccer calling a penalty a free kick. You just know they have not been around the game that long, even if they are technically correct!

    I hate that word “beneficiation”—it’s not even proper English.

    What we need to see with our agricultural and mineral resources is heightened invention and innovations.

    Let’s create products that have never been seen before, and ensure that we can produce those products that have been invented.

    “Innovation is the greatest Pathway to Prosperity I know”
    ~Yours Truly.

    Let’s learn to use the language of entrepreneurial gown ups, so we can be taken seriously!

  25. Chinonso Forbes Ozoaniekwe writes,

    Start up Nation was the proverbial gadfly that stung my entrepreneurial mind into action. To think that it has been about 3yrs since Chief recommended that book wow!

    My reply,
    Just exchange emails this morning with Saul Singer [ the author of Start Up Nation].
    Great guy, everyone should read his book.

  26. #West African Townhalls!

    I have two trips to Ghana planned:

    In September I will be in the country to chair The AGRF. It will be the biggest ever.
    If you are an Agriprenuer #Make your way there!

    Then I will be back a month later with Jack Ma.

    I want to try and fit in two other regional countries during these visits.
    I’m thinking of Togo, and perhaps Nigeria.

    Fitting these things in is very hard. But let’s see what happens.

  27. Tafadzwa Munhangu writes,

    YES!!!!

    To be involved in an investment which is Agribased is not limited to the primary stage or industry only. After all, the greatest niche in the agricultural sector lies in the value addition endeavour.

    #ThankYouSoMuch

    My reply,
    Don’t use the term “value addition”. See what I said about it before.

  28. #Visit with Microsoft Interns!

    Yesterday evening after [several hours] visiting the Microsoft Campus, I had the opportunity to spend an amazing evening talking to interns [university students working at Microsoft for the holidays].

    It was an amazing “mini townhall” with some of the smartest young people I have ever met in my entire life. They were African-American as well as from every region of Africa. There were as many women as men.

    They had asked to see me themselves, when they heard I was around!

    As a dear friend at Microsoft told me:
    “I have been to the promised land [ that technology offers] and it is very exciting”.
    These young women and men will play a big part in shaping that future, alongside their entrepreneurial colleagues like you.

    Thank you guys for teaching me so much.

    Well done!

  29. Mary Maganga Kassindi writes,

    Strive Masiyiwa Yara is an international fertilizer company with quality fertilizers we are using them extensively in Tanzania, I am a horticulturist & farmer in Tanzania and have been following your posts on facebook. I have a 5 years strategy for scalling up my business for growing vegetables for local and international market

    My reply,
    Simple effective response.
    You get the second slot on my delegation.
    I wanted one for a woman and one for a man.
    Get your passport and visa ready.

    I will invite other people through other questions.

  30. #Reflection:

    We can find a solution to the fuel queues!

    There is one problem I have been wrestling with for a few weeks now:

    The fuel and energy crisis in countries that do not produce oil.
    I believe we can solve this problem!

    Right now it’s “fire in my bones” working on a solution.
    It’s just the way I’m, because I’m an entrepreneur!
    I’m going to nail this!
    Watch this space!

  31. #Pause:

    Build PURPOSE into your business, beyond making money [even as you make money]:

    It has been demonstrated time and again that, the MOST:

    #Profitable;

    #Valuable;

    #Long lasting;

    Brands in the world are those which have a mission beyond simply selling a product or a service.

    Take this company called YARA as an example:
    They are a multi billion dollar Norwegian global company that makes fertilizer. That is their business.
    However when you meet their executives and staff, they are passionate about helping small holder farmers, and improving the livelihoods of rural people:
    This is called a “brand with a purpose”.

    #This company is more than 100 years old!
    #It is worth billions!
    #It is very profitable!

    It is a brand with purpose.

    You and I can also build businesses that are associated with a deep sense of purpose to improve the lives of others.

  32. Zibusiso Mpofu writes,

    Togo? I c all the countries you mentioned are in West Africa.anything brewing for Econet in that region

    My reply,
    I do not always travel for Econet, or for business. Most of the time I’m working on philanthropy and other leadership responsibilities:

    I have to go to Ghana twice:
    #1. AGRA is holding the annual forum on Smallholder farming in Ghana, this year. Last year it was in Rwanda. I’m the chairman of AGRA, and I chair the meeting.

    #2. I have accepted an invitation from Jack Ma to do a major event with him, which will also be in Ghana [he chose the venue].

    Since I’m in the region, it became possible for me to visit one or two countries there. This is something I always do.
    I have chosen Togo and Nigeria, which are neighbors to Ghana.

  33. #Pause:

    The best thing you can do for your business, and yourself TODAY!

    Let me share a secret with you!
    Something I discovered many, many years ago:

    Business can be very stressful particularly in tough environments where the economy is not doing so well.
    Ever feel like things are just not going well?
    Here is what you do:

    Take time out. Just like they do in games like basketball!

    Yeah!
    Don’t push it!

    Go do something completely unrelated to what your business does. And here I’m not saying go to the movies [nothing wrong with that]:
    Actually go do some philanthropy!
    Go help someone who really needs you!

    You can help homeless kids, the disabled, widows, schools.

    The things you can do are endless!

    Now here is what I discovered:
    Each time I go off to attend to something where I’m not there to make money or related to business;
    A solution to my problem is waiting for me when I return!
    “Look away from self, to solve your problem is an amazing principle”.
    Dare to try it?

  34. Joseph Swift Bec writes,

    Strive Masiyiwa, will you also extend the same to countries like South Sudan?

    My reply,
    The good news is that Liquid Telecom has reached the half way stage of building a fibre optic cable link between Uganda border and Juba!
    The link will enable us to bring high speed broadband to South Sudan. It will also link South Sudan to the rest of the world by Undersea cable as the cable connects to Dar, Mombasa, Cape Town, Durban, and Cairo. It links to every major undersea cable coming into Africa.
    Thousands of jobs will be created.
    Some of our senior executive plan to be in South Sudan to attend with the President the arrival of the cable in a few weeks.
    Once it is up and running I will come to South Sudan and we will do a #Facebook live stream around the world, using this cable!

  35. Aleck Walusa writes,

    Strive Masiyiwa…what are you doing about drone licenses in Zimbabwe.I was told they are not allowed to fly.They said you can buy the drone but not allowed to fly.The drones helps a lot as it is highlighted in the article but only here in Zim we still have negative thoughts about them.Do smthing to legalize flying of drones,surely they are good for agriculture,taking photos,videos and spraying chemicals.

    My reply,
    “WHAT ARE YOU DOING ABOUT DRONE LICENSES IN ZIMBABWE?”

    What a strange question brother?
    Have you forgotten that I’m not in government?

    I have not even been to Zimbabwe for nearly 20 years.

    Why do you need to go to someone else to do something? When will you take responsibility?
    When I lived in Zimbabwe, and wanted to get a license for cell phones, I took it upon myself to fight for the change.

    This is not my problem, it’s your problem. You do something.

    I actually feel abused when someone comes to me with this kind of approach. You would feel the same, if someone simply came to you on the street and said “what are you doing about this or that?!”

  36. Nhlanhla Dube writes,

    Pere Omo’Lolu Omo Osifila so you actually believe that strive,a US dollar billionaire has the time to answer questions on facebook. Whilst someone else supposedly runs his vast telecoms company? my friend,I have a bridge to sell you

    My reply,
    When I first went to see Bill Gates in person, I noticed something he had written:
    “Every life has equal worth”.

    This is NOT a company social media handle. It has nothing to do with Econet, or any of our companies because they have their own social media platforms to interact with their customers.
    This is my personal platform.
    Now to prove my point, I’m going to personally invite Omo Osifila to travel with me to the Ghana Townhall, with Jack Ma. I will ask Jack Ma to shake his hand, and he can send you a selfie!

    Seriously Nhalnhla, I need you to focus, because this platform can change your life. Let’s not play games; But if you choose to be a comedian we might stop laughing.

  37. Aleck writes,

    I understand what you are saying Mr Strive ! It’s just the task seems so Herculean especially when us mere citizens try to take on government on issues of legislation and the cost of taking government to talk like costs of litigation! We are more focused on issues of day to day survival so the time is even scarce to begin with! I just thought since your company is a big player maybe you could lobby government and your voice might be much easily heard!

    My reply,
    I’m going to let you off the hook this time. But let’s take away some lessons:

    #1. If you arrive at a gathering where you find other people huddled together having what is a serious conversation.
    First thing you do [if you are wise] is to sit down quietly and listen carefully. Don’t disturb or make jokes, listen and get to know what is it that they are discussing.
    Once you know what it about join cautiously so that you don’t make a fool of yourself or worse get chased away.

    Never assume that every gathering of people is a beerhall.

    #2. When you have a concern that you want to raise use language that avoids unnecessary provocation.

    #3. Make sure that you are addressing the right person.

    #4. Finally don’t be a grasshopper in your own eyes. Don’t refer to yourself as a “mere citizen”. You are more than that. You have equal worth. Money or public office is not what defines your worth.
    Join us and we shall grow together.

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