Pause: “Good enough” isn’t…

Pause: “Good enough” isn’t…

__For our children, our schools, our businesses, our nations.

It is not enough to articulate a great vision. You must articulate exactly how you are going to make it happen, including its financing. That is what serious people are waiting to hear from you, before they open their pockets to invest their hard-earned money.

After listening to Fred Swaniker explain to me his vision for African Leadership University whilst I was visiting them in Mauritius, I was staggered by the audacity of it all. It was like listening to Deng Xiaoping explain how China would become a global economic power in 50 years.

“This is a great vision Fred, but it will cost an incredible amount of money,” I said. “Show me how you expect to finance even a fraction of it.”

At that question, Fred just lit up with excitement: “We have it all figured out. Do you have time?”

I listened to their presentation. They did not ask me for money.

Finally, I said “Yes, this works.” Then I added: “Can I make a small investment myself?”

Fred and his team have a world-class vision,#people#process#product and also a #plan to scale it all going forward. Their focus is the highest standard of educational excellence, “not just ‘good enough for Africa’,” he says, “but the best in the world.”

Wow! I’ll talk a bit more about this in my next post.

Now before I jump to my next meeting, let me say something briefly here to the #LionDads, as some of you seem to feel a little bit left out. Whilst the current series may be about saluting #women who are #lionesses when it comes to raising Africa’s next generation, it’s not just for moms. Fathers must get involved as well. Listen carefully to me, guys!

# The days when you simply dropped off a child at school as you rushed off to work are over. That may soon be nothing more than reckless irresponsibility!

# We have to get involved in the education of our children, beyond the school gate or the sports field.

# We have to take charge of the schools, and the classrooms; it is too important to leave it in the hands of governments alone.

# We have to pay attention to what the children are being taught, and ensure that it is fit for purpose.

There’s nothing more important you will do today (including your job), than attending to the needs of your children’s education.

As a popular pastor likes to say: “Turn to your neighbor and say: ‘Neighbor, it’s time to raise our game, because we are now in the Champions League playoffs, and there’s no more room to play around!’”

People like Fred Swaniker, Babatunde Soyoye, and Juliana Rotich have raised the bar, and look who is hot on their heels: It’s Ethan from Tanzania, and the two young lads from Nigeria!

It’s getting hot out there! Are you getting you and your families ready?

“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss the mark, but that it is too low and we reach it…”

It’s been about 400+ years since the great artist Michelangelo said this or something like it, and there’s at least one thing that has definitely not changed since then:

# If you don’t aim for the stars, you will definitely not get there.

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.

21 Replies to “Pause: “Good enough” isn’t…”

  1. Afterthought 1.

    I have a billionaire friend from India whose parents were school teachers. Today he runs a private school network throughout the Middle East. He made his billions as an education entrepreneur!

    # Who told you that if you want to be an entrepreneur that you must leave education?

    # Who told you that only governments can provide quality education?

    When you look at the history of education you will find that government as a provider of education is a relative newcomer; churches and entrepreneurs (both for-profit and not-for-profit) have been in education much longer. What’s key is for government to ensure all schools (private, religious etc.) all meet proper educational standards.

  2. Afterthought 2.

    Boys and girls must be encouraged to do maths and science, and go on to engineering schools. India and China are on a major drive in this area, and they are our principle competitors in the world “billionaire” (population) club in the 22nd century and beyond.

    We must start preparing the next generation of entrepreneurs now, and the executives and staff who will help them build giant companies like Tesla and Alibaba.

  3. Afterthought:
    The entrepreneurial opportunities in education are endless, and staggering. Nothing comes close!
    We have to educate and “skill up” 600m young people by 2030!
    Don’t tell me you cannot see an opportunity there!
    There are books to be written, Apps to be developed, teaching aids to be developed. ..
    Over 250m Africans already have Smartphone (computers) in the palm of their hands…what an opportunity for you if you are in education!

  4. Christian writes,

    please sir. how can other African countries be part of this. could your team bring all these down to Nigeria? you got any plan for that. I will be a huge part of it.

    My reply,
    When we start a new venture, even if we plan to take it across Africa, we always start it in one country in order to test and prove the concept. Sometimes it can take a few months, and in other cases it can even take years.
    Muzinda Hub is ready for roll out in different markets, but it works best when Liquid Telecom is also in the market because they help with High Speed Broadband. You can expect to see it roll out in places like SA, Zambia, Rwanda, and the rest of East Africa next. Once Liquid gets to West Africa, you will see us building Muzinda Hubs.
    Ruzivo will follow countries where we have Kwese TV. So Nigeria is going to be big for this service, because it’s a big Kwese market.

  5. Afterthought:
    Econet EduTech, a division I set up to explore opportunities in education, is one of the fastest growing ventures in our group:

    Three of its ventures:

    #EcoSchool, helps university students access study material at lower cost Online.

    #Ruzivo: out of the 3m plus kids in school in Zimbabwe, 1,2m are now registered on Ruzivo our e-learning platform. More than 500,000 use it every day!
    We have more than 16,000 teachers registered as partners to drive computer-based literacy on mobile phones.

    #Muzinda Hub: this is a training platform for Coding, and we train more than 1000 per year.
    Our graduate coders work as entrepreneurs developing websites for businesses.

    We are planning to invest over $100m to take these platforms into other African countries over the next two years.

    #Education is looking for more entrepreneurs, and entrepreneurial-minded people. Please join them.

  6. #Shout out your Education venture!

    I would really like to hear from Entrepreneurs doing business in education.
    Give me (max two paragraphs) on any venture you are doing in education, including Not For Profit. I might have the best ones featured on Kwese Inc channel.
    Let’s inspire others to take the plunge!

    Put them below this comment!
    Please don’t put your ideas, I want to know something that is actually already operational.

    1. Hie sir,my business is starting am looking into growing it.l am here in South Africa,Johannesburg and teaching people who dropped out of school in Zimbabwe but would love to continue with their education. I teach them during weekends or after work as l am also working. So far l have two success stories, and one of my students l was teaching mathematics went home,wrote her exams there and passed and she is now studying to be a teacher .l am looking forward into growing the number of students l teach and do it full-time.

    2. At Dhack Institute, we teach practical technology skills like Coding, Robotics, and Electronics to kids between the ages of 6 and 18 years old. We believe that in this Age of Technology, kids should not only be consumers of Technology but Creators.
      To achieve our goal, we offer a revamped Computing curriculum, partner with other educational institutions (like schools) to deliver our courses, and also organize in-house tech clubs and STEM camps.

  7. Afterthought:
    When I was at High School, I was known as this “brilliant boy who does not understand Maths”. I got ‘A’ grades in every subject, and virtually failed Maths!
    Every time I had a Maths problem I froze.
    When I left school someone convinced me that there is NO such thing as someone who cannot understand Maths, I had simply not been taught the subject properly!
    I took an interest in Maths and taught myself from a book, and sat the exams. It turned out I was good enough to study Engineering!

    #The Lesson from this is simple:
    Don’t allow people to persuade you that you are not good enough to do anything!
    Find ways to get your children interested in Maths, and science!
    And if you personally are an adult and still freeze? It’s not too late even for you! There are so many amazing tools online to help you develop an interest.

  8. I totally agree with you, Mr Masiyiwa, when you write, “It is not enough to articulate a great vision. You must articulate exactly how you are going to make it happen, including its financing. That is what serious people are waiting to hear from you, before they open their pockets to invest their hard-earned money.” I too was very impressed when I looked up Fred Swaniker profile a few days ago. So impressed was I that I have decided to update and expand my blog, “Please sir, do not belittle teachers; esteem them.” I wrote after I heard of the scandalous way in which teachers are treated in Uganda. I expect to publish the 2018 edition of this blog in about two month’s time; it will include Fred Swaniker’s very inspiring venture. You may peruse the old version by visiting:

    As for your exhortation to all African Dads, I am in total agreement: I think the time has come for all of us to go hard after men who father children and expect to have zero input in their upbringing. It is the responsibility of a father to lead, educate, provide and above, to set an example. Children learn by instinct through the eye, and the influence fathers have on their children lives on through to adulthood and beyond. Whereas my own father was not a perfect man, he nevertheless set a powerful example for me, to the extent that I still hear his voice even to this day. I write about him often in my blogs because it comes naturally; our relationship was very strong.

  9. Mr Masiyiwa,
    First of all thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom with us,it’s been an eye opener especially for me in the goal i’m trying to reach.i hear you when you say that we should be very clear with our vision and finances when approaching investors.And i completely agree.i am a stay at home mum who has been on a mission to implement a TV channel but i am unable to find either associates/partners or even mentors,since it is not my field of expertise.where does one who has a clear vision about such a project go for mentorship???????so far every step made and knowledge acquired has been through personal research

  10. Reflection:
    I have been following with deep sadness the unfolding tragedy of the abduction of yet more Nigerian school girls. This time 110 girls were abducted by the terrorist group Boko Haram. These girls whose names have all been published in Nigerian media, were between the ages of 11-19 years old.
    I have been following events closely since it happened a few days ago.
    It is the second time such a large number of girls have been abducted, previously (2014) another group of 276 was abducted from Chibok.

    The targeting of the girl child is cynically designed to ensure that girls are not educated:
    If the African girl child is not educated we have no chance of making progress as a continent.

    All these wonderful things we are discussing, concerning how we can improve our education system, mean very little if we cannot secure the safety of our kids when they go to school.

    I will be praying with fasting for their safe return.

  11. “It is the responsibility of a father to lead, educate, provide and above all, to set an example”. Very profound.

    Dr Masiyiwa, thank you, thank you and thank you.

  12. Fun episode, as the Oscar round up always tends to be. I just wanted to mention a couple of things both, bizarrely, Fred Hitchcock related. One – whilst not suggesting a full episode featuring Fred, I for one would not be averse to having him appear on a future commentary track. If perhaps you wanted to select what you consider to be the most essential Alfred Hitchcock films and then invite Fred to provide his insight into his brother’s work, well, take my money. Two – for all the talk of Fred’s performances as the MGM lion, by strange coincidence the very first MGM lion was Irish, having been born in Dublin Zoo. He didn’t roar, which may have given away his Irish roots, and perhaps this was a tradition that Fred should have decided to honour to hide his own cockney background.

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