I told you that I read a newspaper with a pen in my hand, and I always have a notebook. So there it was, in the newspaper: the International Finance Corporation (IFC), an arm of the World Bank, was creating a small fund to help, small businesses in Africa!
We had no emails in those days. Using the principles I have already taught you, I set about on my deep research: I read about the World Bank and the IFC; I tried to get as much information as I could, in the days when there was no Internet; I spoke to friends in the business community, to get advice. Finally, I wrote them a letter, and surely enough within two weeks, I got a phone call.
Dr. Lawrence Clarke was a young banker, from Guyana, working at the World Bank office in Washington. He had been assigned to the IFC, to find ways to help develop the African private sector. “I am coming to see you, in Harare”, he said in his booming West Indian accent…..This was my break, and I grasped it with both hands!!! Before he arrived, I was like a student preparing for exams. I crammed figures, statistics…. I knew my business.
Lawrence Clarke arrived alone, with just his computer, and he parked himself in my office for weeks. He went to see my customers and he visited my projects. He created models. I can still see him, a mountain of a man, who often worked in his shirt sleeves. I had never met such a consummate professional.
I got my facility of $250,000, in debt and equity….. From the World Bank’s private sector arm, called the IFC! It was like receiving millions of dollars in today’s money, and I was just turning 30 years old! That was 1990.Today; there are literally scores of funds similar to the one that the IFC had set up. These funds have hundreds of millions of dollars. The funds are looking for young people like some of you. It is my hope that some of you have extracted some deep principles from what I have been saying, that will open the way to access these kinds of funds.
Remember these three things that I have said to you before:
1. Attitude sets the altitude.
2. Every game has its own rules, and its own language… Learn the rules, and language of the money game!
3. Yes you can!!!
There is one, final part to this discussion…
God Bless you!
Strive Masiyiwa is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet, a diversified global telecommunications group with operations and investments in over 15 countries. His business interests also include renewable energy, financial services, media and hospitality. Masiyiwa serves on a number of international boards, including Unilever, Rockefeller Foundation, the Council on Foreign Relations’ Global Advisory Board, the Africa Progress Panel, the UN Secretary General's Advisory Board for Sustainable Energy, Morehouse College, Hilton Foundation's Humanitarian Prize Jury and the Kenjin-Tatsujin International Advisory Council. He is one of the founders, with Sir Richard Branson, of the global think tank, the Carbon War Room, and a founding member of the Global Business Coalition on Education. Masiyiwa took over the Chairmanship of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) from Kofi Annan. He is also Chair of the Micronutrient Initiative, a global organization focused on ending child hunger and improving nutrition. In 2012, Masiyiwa was invited by President Obama to address leaders at the Camp David G-8 Summit on how to increase food production and end hunger in parts of Africa. In 2014, Masiyiwa was selected to Fortune Magazine’s list of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders”. As a philanthropist, he 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 provides scholarships to over 42,000 African orphans. In 2015, he was the recipient of the International Rescue Committee’s Freedom Award and was presented with a UN Foundation Global Leadership Award for the work of the Africa Against Ebola Solidarity Trust, which he chairs and helped establish to fund the deployment of African healthcare workers to combat the outbreak in West Africa.View all posts by Strive Masiyiwa