Pause: #ReImagining the future

Pause: #ReImagining the future

__The new faces of agripreneurship in Africa!

I thought I’d share a photo from the launch event in Johannesburg on 30 May of Generation Africa, the new partnership initiative of Econet and Yara International to support young #agripreneurs#ReImagining agri-food ventures across Africa that I told you about last post. Our flagship event in 2019 is an online and pitch contest for young people across Africa to compete to win the inaugural GoGettaz Agripreneurship Prize. Check out if you are interested & please share! Remember the application deadline is 21 July.

Joining us at the launch were two top agripreneurs (pictured), Ada Osakwe (in orange) from Nigeria and Thato Moagi of South Africa who inspire wherever they go! In 2016 Ada launched a “farm to table” concept café in Lagos called “Nuli Lounge”. Ada sources all Nuli’s fresh fruit & veggies from local farms in Nigeria. “Nuli” comes from an Igbo word for “joy” which is what they want people to have when they eat these fresh local foods.

Ada is also an agri-business investor who left government work (for Minister of Agriculture and now head of the African Development Bank, my friend Akin Adesina), to become an agripreneur and says she has “never looked back since!” On Instagram I posted a few more photos, including of Ada’s @NuliLounge in Lagos. If you’re there, check it out and tell me what you think.

Another award-winning young agripreneur also shared her inspiring story at the Generation Africa launch; Thato Moagi is managing director of Legae La Banareng Farms where she developed a “hub & spoke” agri-business model that combines commercial farming, agro-processing and skills development for youth commercial farmers. Thato has won both Young Farmer and Female Entrepreneur of the year in South Africa! Another rising star. I’ll write more soon.

In the group picture are Dalumuzi Mhlanga (Chief of Staff, Econet), Ada Osakwe, moderator and entrepreneur Maps Maponyane, Thato Moagi and Luis Alfredo Pérez (Head of BU Africa at Yara International). Ishmael Sunga (CEO, Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions) and our Econet Group CEO & MD, Hardy Pemihwa also shared insights at the launch event.

Have you done your homework and applied to win yet?

__Remember: Jack Ma’s Africa Netpreneur Prize deadline is 30 June! The GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize deadline is 21 July…

“If you do not believe you can do it, then you have no chance at all…” Arsène Wenger

#GenerationAfrica #ReImagineTheFuture#GoGettazAfrica #Agripreneurship


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.

37 Replies to “Pause: #ReImagining the future”

  1. Afterthought 2.

    “Across Africa’s agri-food chain, innovations can be found in how we grow, harvest, process, store, transport, package, sell and consume food. Together with the pioneers of Africa’s next generation, we want to seize these opportunities. Generation Africa will help youth entrepreneurs launch, grow and mature agri-food businesses that will drive job creation, inclusive growth, and better food supply”. Yara International President and CEO, Svein Tore Holsether

  2. #ShoutOut Upside Africa!

    Damilola Jonathan Oladeji writes,

    Strive Masiyiwa we are having a round table for Agritech and Agribusiness startups in Rosebank, Johannesburg this July.

    I work with Upside Africa – Inspiring African Professionals and Entrepreneurs as head of content development and strategy.

    I believe that our event align with the Agripreneur contest’s focus and would hope to get a feature for our event on your page. Attendees would be ideal candidates to enter for this contest.

    Our website is

    And the event page is

  3. #Reflection:

    For those of you going through a tough time!

    “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
    ~Teddy Roosevelt

  4. #Pause:

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

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



    #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.

  5. #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!

  6. Blessing Machiya Shumbakadzi writes,

    This is a word that is speaking directly to me! In Zimbabwe things are very tough for everyone and especially when you are trying to grow a business and everyday you have to come up with new strategies to counter challenges that seem to come up day in and day out! The tears and sweat is real and yet there are times when it feels as if its all in vain! There are days when you don’t even want to come out of bed because it all feels like the harder you work the tougher business gets! It’s at times like this that like David, I have to encourage myself in the spirit! Keep working Blessing you can’t let the vision die! Noone got to the top easily! Everyone has a story to tell! I’m still walking my journey and one day I will look back and say I did it!

    My reply,

    Every Sunday I set aside to fasting and prayer for the nation of Zimbabwe. It does not matter where I’m, or what I’m doing that day. Take this Sunday for instance, my family had to wait until late afternoon before we could sit down for Fathers’ Day.

    Now this has gone on for many years now..many years!
    I did not stop last year. I continued.

    I know how hard it is for you as an entrepreneur:
    I knew this would come, and that is why I wrote the series on #EagleStorm.

    Stay strong, and protect the root!
    [remember the teaching on the Old Italian with his vineyard]

  7. Abel Moyo writes,

    Its inspiring to read about Entrepreneurs breaking barriers across Africa. However sometimes i feel like the more i try in my country new challenges come up to disrupt the scaling process. Everyday besides focussing on scaling i have to manage more problems trying to pull the business down. For example the devaluing of the currency in a daily basis, the decline of consumer purchasing power, decline of social media engagement due to high data tariffs. Everyday its something new. How are you guys surviving volatile environment

    My reply,
    You can neither solve nor escape a problem you do not understand.
    As long as you characterize the problem by describing its effects, then you have not yet applied your mind to understanding it.

    Here is a question you will have to answer first, before we can begin to discuss a solution:

    #What is hyper inflation; what causes it?
    —-How do you address it?

    Incidentally; I do not intend to comment further. When you gain understanding act wisely.

  8. Di Hoza writes [edited]:

    Sir Strive, I’m really into it, I have been in business for four years now, this year April i formalise it, We started a limited company that deals with Waste management and recyling( Our area of specilization will be Waste to Energy), currently we collect Used oil from the garages and disposing(selling) them to the Steel industries as a source of heat, also we have a plan to expand the operation by making briquettes for both domestic and industrial uses, We saw this opportunity because The govt is about to ban the use of firewood for the environmental conservation, i know there is a technology to recycle used oil to get refined base oil or recycled diesel, wastes can also produce Electricity, it is quite expensive technology and needs huge capital but it doesn’t discourage Us, hence We determine to make it .
    [I removed the last comment you made, because it was “useless bones”!]

    My reply,
    I commend you very much for this type of waste management. What country are you operating from?
    We want all Waste Management Specialists in Africa, to join the @Clean City platform when it is launched.
    I hope Lovemore will follow up with you.

  9. Isaac Mariochukwu Michael writes,

    Strive Masiyiwa, Chief I am a part of Leo Lawrence and Company, an innovative waste management company, and I would like to tell you about how we contribute to green economy through waste management.

    We are an innovative company built around an enduring determination to contribute to achieving a zero-waste economy in the long haul. We are driven by the burgeoning interest in promoting a circular economy through the recycling of waste at all levels. We close the loop through the design of innovative technologies that turn waste into a new form of high-value commodity for profitable returns to society.

    Leo Lawrence & Company applies its wealth of experience to provide clients with innovative, cost effective and most efficient way of treating their waste/sewage and freedom from dislodging and evacuation with our integrated waste treatment.
    We design, construct and install our integrated waste treatment technology which uses Anaerobic Digestion System to make it possible for human and organic waste such as Raw human waste, Food waste, Crop waste, Livestock waste, Municipal solid waste, Agricultural waste and Agro-processing residue to be broken down under oxygen free conditions which results in the production of biogas and treated nitrogen rich water.

    Biogas is a biofuel which can be used to power generators for production of electricity and also used in the kitchen for cooking.
    The effluent nitrogen rich water can be used in our green areas.

    Sir, this technology can also be used to further make #Memorial Housing Estate a world-class African village.

    I have documents, pictures, videos, etc of our waste management system at work, in case you want to know more about what we do.


    My reply,
    Would like to learn more.
    Lovemore please put him in touch with Gavin.

  10. #Pause:
    The best thing you can do for yourself and your business today:

    “Find something that [is not business] that takes you away from yourself, your business, and even your family.

    Go out and find someone or something that really needs your help… Something that could benefit from your brand of entrepreneurial leadership.

    When you get back your problem will not have gone away [no problem goes away on its own] but you will have been given a fresh perspective on how to tackle it. In short it will open the door to a solution.

    Dare to try it?”

    ~Strive Masiyiwa

  11. # It’s important to understand the Pathway to entering a new business:

    “Be a fast follower, but try and add a local flavor“.~ Strive Masiyiwa

    I shared with you on this platform my fascination with Uber and Lyft which led me to study the “ride hailing” and “ride sharing” industry. I even travelled to Indonesia and Singapore to personally see two regional giants Gojek and Grab.
    I put some of the smartest young executives in our company to study “Shared Digital Economy Models”.
    At each stage I urged you to join my interest so that you too could try something.

    Then we created 4 new businesses of our own:
    #Vaya Mobility
    #Vaya Logistics
    #Clean City
    #Technites Africa.

    @Clean City and Technites Africa are still pre-commercial.

    In the case of @Clean City we have tried to combine two business models:
    The actual cleaning and waste collection is done by partners we call “franchisees”. These guys own their own businesses and use our systems to obtain scale, transport logistics, customers, support and capital.

    ~It’s a Digital App:
    Clean City uses an App which is embedded into the Vaya Logistics platform. This is actually our core business.

  12. #Coding @Work in your business!

    Does anyone remember a post I did several years ago called “the most important skills you need to learn”?

    I put on my on list #Coding!
    Some of you had never even heard about it! I said it was so important it had to be taught in schools alongside subjects like Maths, Biology and English.
    I went on to say that in some countries it was already available in Primary School Curriculum.
    Then I set up a School for Coding called Muzinda Hub:
    Every year we train 1000 Coders.
    Now we have just started Muzinda Hub Botswana [ I keep my promises!~will be going to open it soon]

    The skill of Coding is now @Work in our business in a big way:
    It is Coders who helped us set up Vaya Africa, Clean City, CADA and Technites Africa.
    These are just examples of how you can use Coders!
    Now we are hiring Coders with PHDs, and they are called “Data Scientists”.

    We study to DO!

  13. Joseph Mushoke Sikuka writes,

    Strive Masiyiwa you are right Teacher.
    A few years ago I promised myself to sponsor a valnarable child for a year before he sat for his grade seven examination.
    I had no enough money to do that but I found a way to raise it.
    Together we started a small business of selling braii beef at the market every evening after work together with him.
    From this small business it taught me to save $5 everyday for his tuition and transport, and at the end of the month I went to pay the school and a local tax owner I knew from the neighborhood that went through his school.
    After two months I increased the savings to $15 per day.
    This savings changed my life and I stopped work when you asked the question ” what is it that you have in your hands”? Now I have gone to the farm.

    My reply,
    I love what you have done.
    You can join my delegation for the trip to West Africa in September.
    You will also be introduced to the Higher Life Team.
    You have blessed me today!

  14. Blessing Machiya Shumbakadzi writes,

    I listened and I heard! My daughter just graduated with Muzinda Hub this past week along with about 300 other people! Enrolling her in the next phase beginning July! My vision is to see a Zimbabwean version of Developer in Vogue which is being led by one of my friends and fellow Gogettaz Ivy Barley.

    My reply,
    O wow, wow, wow!
    You made my day!

  15. Omoruyi Folarin Osas writes,

    Dad! As a fast follower I have “copied” a lot from you and Econet.

    This is one of the things I have learnt from the Chinese. They understand “fast following”. You taught how to do this.

    Just like KFC in USA, the Chinese have OFC.
    For Starbuck they have Buckstar!
    For Royce Rolls they have Geely.
    For Walmart they have Wumart. Etc.

    The Chinese have built a trillion economy via fast following.

    My reply,
    The most profound observation of the day, the week, and maybe the whole year!

    You have the acute eye of an entrepreneur!
    When I visited China for the first time, I spotted it immediately.

    And herein is my prophecy:
    Before this century draws to a close, Africa will have done it. The people who will drive that process are already alive. Many of them are quietly listening to me on this platform.
    We must no longer just consume things, but we must @Entreprenuer It, everything we see, and touch!

  16. Munya writes,

    I’m waiting for the next enrollment of STAR Leadership Academy I know, l will nail it. This Academy is one of a kind probably in Africa.

    My reply,
    STAR LEADERSHIP ACADEMY belongs to one of my children.

  17. #The most important requirement of a business partner?
    They must understand business!

    I will never go into a business with a partner who does not understand business. I would rather walk away from a great business opportunity than have a partner who does not understand basic business principles.
    Over the next few weeks, I shall try to give you some examples.

    Look out for them, as I will release them randomly as we go along.
    This is hugely important, and you won’t find it in a book!

  18. #I will never go into a business:

    With “hidden partners”.

    It happened in the early days of the cell phone industry, when licenses were extremely valuable. And just getting a license almost guaranteed success.

    I was invited to participate in a new opportunity in one of the best African markets. It was billed the “Opportunity of a lifetime”.
    My would be partners were highly connected, and could arrange meetings with almost anybody in the country in just a few minutes.
    Things moved fast, but we still had to conclude a shareholders agreement.

    “Our agreement must state everyone who is going to a local shareholder.” I stated.

    Someone took me aside and said, “we have put aside 20% of our own shareholding for some important people that we shall need.”

    “If their names are not in the list of shareholders, then they are not shareholders. I don’t want to be in business with HIDDEN PARTNERS.”

    That night when I got back to the hotel, I knew there was no deal to be had, so I packed my bags and left.

    In the famous Nigerian battle, I had “hidden partners” embedded with the local shareholders that I did not know about, until it was too late. I should have done my due diligence better.

  19. #I will never go into business:

    With someone who cannot read accounts, and other financial statements.

    That is always a guaranteed flop!
    This alone rules out 90% of potential partners.

    “So what will I discuss with someone who is financially illiterate”?

  20. Omoruyi Folarin Osas writes,

    I hear this loud and very clear Dad!

    Honestly Dad “Business Partnership” I think should be one of the most important subjects in Business. It’s as serious as a marriage, cause it’s one of the major reasons why many businesses fail.

    I had my own fair share of experience this year. It was a painful although life changing experience for me. I will follow this teaching soberly cause I understand how important it is.


    Top ten reasons why startups fails.
    1. Building something no one wants.
    2. Hiring poorly
    3. Lack of Focus.
    4. Fail to execute sales and marketing.
    5. Not having the right partners/co-founder. (Business Partnership).
    6. Chasing Investors not customers.
    7. Not having enough money.
    8. Spending too much money.
    9. Failing to ask for help
    10. Ignoring social media.

    Business partnership makes the list. (Founders or even for employees cause it’s a form of business partnership)

    My reply,
    Very good list.
    This conversation is about #5!

  21. #I will never go into business:

    with someone who fears being diluted!

    This is a very dangerous type of shareholder in a business. It is a sign of extreme immaturity, and usually leads to conflict and death of business!

  22. Adedayo Olumuyiwa writes,

    Strive Masiyiwa Strive Masiyiwa Hello great Chief, how is the family and the business of business?

    Like you said “I want to be the biggest farmer in Africa.” Great Chief, I want to make the greatest impact in Africa by providing the best online education to all African students!

    Sir, my team and I are focused on sharing the best actionable ideas and insights on our edubrainics site going forward!

    My absence on Masiyiwa’s Business School(MBS) is to allow me engage an in dept and informal research into Online Education! By His grace, I am back!

    Our recently repackaged and rebranded online lectures will take every reader to new heights in their cognitive and intellectual itinerary.

    Great Chief, check this online education topic “The 7 Untold Secrets of Jeff Bezos that Made Him Trump Bill Gates and Others.” Or, Online Education Degree: How Nelson Mandela Conquered Apartheid (Lessons for Young Leaders), and others.

    Thanks for being an inspiration Uncle SM.

    My reply,
    Ever since you joined the platform, you have excited me with your initiative and enthusiasm.
    I would like you to meet Tendayi who runs Muzinda Hub. If the find it interesting we can partner with you to set up Muzinda Hub in your city in Nigeria. Who knows where it can go from there.
    We do not do Muzinda Hub as a “for profit”—most students are given financial support by us.

  23. #I will never go into business with someone:

    who does not know that businesses sometimes fail, and when that happens we move on!

    There are people who become bitter and angry when things go wrong, and when it is time to move on will not let go sometimes for decades.
    I never want to have anything to do with such people.

  24. #I will never go into business with someone with strong political connections or related to someone at the top:

    #I don’t respect people who approach me on the basis that they can open doors.
    Later they try to make such influence “equity”—no thanks!

    I build businesses to last as long as possible. Governments come and go, and when a government changes, you can easily find yourself being targeted by the new guys!

    I have seen this happen time and time again.

    I always want my businesses to have good, professional relations with those in office, and to seek no special favors from anyone.
    I want those in office to know that I’m there to help the country and its people to prosper, and not them as office holders.

    I don’t want my businesses to be associated with individuals who are powerfully connected.

  25. Zewelanji Sk writes,

    Strive Masiyiwa wow. This is interesting i am often the one who fears being diluted. Explain more if you can chief…

    My reply,
    A fast growing business, in the beginning will need more capital. That capital is usually required from existing shareholders, or by inviting new investors to become shareholders.
    The moment you have a shareholder who enjoys the “privilege” not to be diluted it means that shareholder is now being subsidized by the other shareholder or new investors. Shareholders who resist to be diluted as a result of new capital requirements are putting their own personal [ often selfish interest] above the business.
    You “lose control” the day you accept other shareholders, so get used to the idea and let the business grow.
    If you have trouble with this, then you will not be Africa’s Jack Ma, or even Jeff Bezos!

  26. Nicky Verd writes,

    Sir, is the desire/willingness to learn enough? Does theoretical Accounting knowledge learned in school qualifies one to be financially literate? And how can those who have never been expose to real life business accounts and financial statements learn the act of reading these?

    My reply,
    If a person did not study accounts at school or college, there are so many online courses available. It takes only a few weeks to acquire financial literacy if you have a High School Certificate.

    I have been able to read basic accounts since I was 14 years old, that is how simple they are!

    #Anyone invited to sit on the board of a State Owned Company, should be required to show financial literacy to an accounting body.
    A lot of what passes as National Debt, started in those type of organizations ran by financially illiterate people. Then came high inflation and misery for everyone else.

  27. @Austin writes,

    Strive Masiyiwa yes because they will always add to the misery. But here is something chief said I found very profound. It has nothing to do with what he said above but everything to do with why we are here walking with mentor on this page.

    “There are things that the Lord has put on my heart to share
    with some young people. Deep, deep things, Those who are
    able to hear, and see will go on to do amazing things. Once
    that season is done, and it will not be for long, I will not say
    anymore. I hope you shall have the Faith to not only
    understand, but also to receive. Do not concern yourself
    with those who cannot see or hear, these things, it’s not for
    them. A new Africa has dawned, even though many
    cannot see it yet”.

  28. #Quiz [Junior class only]

    Here is an interesting little quiz:

    “I want you to sponsor my agriculture project, “ the man, an old family friend, began.
    “I have managed to get a farm. I need to buy inputs:
    I expect to produce 1000 tonnes. At R4000 per tonne, I will make R4m. “
    “Really?!” I asked.

    “You can have half!” he added “R2m for you. And R2m for me.”

    “What’s the profit on this venture?”
    I asked.
    “How much will you make?” I pressed.

    “R4m. And you can have half of what I make,” he continued.

    “How much do you need?”
    “R2000, for inputs”.

    I had long switched off.
    I hate financial illiteracy!

  29. Adedayo Olumuyiwa writes,

    DILUTED: Now understood great Chief.

    It initially gave me some goose pimples.

    Thanks for the succinct explanation Sir.

    My reply,
    When you sit down with investors, as a Start-Up, you justify the value of your contribution upfront, and you can issued shares commensurate with the value placed on that contribution.
    After that, whenever the company needs money from the shareholders [including yourself] then you must “man-up” (as they say~not a great expression ). Do what is best for the business. This is why people like Bezos ended up with 16%, and Jack Ma ended up with 11%. The % share does not matter, what matters is the value of those shares!

    If investors see you as not wanting to be diluted then they will see you as hold the business to ransom. This is not good, and seasoned investors will walk away.

  30. Orji Chinenye Christiana writes,

    Strive Masiyiwa He probably doesn’t know much about figures… don’t we have people like dat? But they can actualize their dreams if given the opportunity. They just need a financial expert.

    My reply,
    A friend of mine is a surgeon. One day I told him I would like to try out a small operation on someone:
    “I would like to do something not life threatening, like maybe remove a finger. Since you are an expert, you can stand beside me and show me what to do.”
    My friend thought I was absolutely crazy!
    “You must be a doctor first, before I can advise you!” He exclaimed.

    “We would both be locked up!”

    An expert is totally useless, if he is advising someone who has no understanding of the issue in the first place. That is not the role of experts.
    You must get rid of this notion [ held by many] which says:
    “I don’t need to know, because I can get experts to help me.”

    This is deep calling to deep!

  31. Mwasile Kowa writes,

    #ReImagining the future…
    Being an old practice but not widely used, Village banking is a microcredit methodology whereby financial services are administered locally rather than centralized in a formal bank. With banks requesting more than a small business can provide as collateral in order to get capital for their businesses, village banking can be a source of capital for startups in most parts of Africa as is the evidence here.

    My reply,
    The ‘Village Bank’ concept is practiced almost universally across Africa. Studies have been done which show that if it was a single bank, it would be the largest bank in Africa.
    A few years ago, I directed our team at EcoCash to “digitize” this concept, and we developed at the time “EcoCash Save”~It could easily have been developed into a Pan African platform, at least that was the vision. I just did not have the people who could run with it, once I moved on to other things.

  32. Gladymore Moses writes,

    Strive Masiyiwa your feedback will be highly appreciated.

    Can my business (Agricultural Construction Company)survive the tough/difficult economy in my country?(Zimbabwe)

    Difficult economies seem to present hard times for doing business. When there is no stable currency and exchange rates are always fluctuating on a daily basis, how does an entrepreneur keep him/herself and the team focused?

    My reply,
    Zimbabwe has slipped into what is technically called by economists HYPER INFLATION.
    What you are observing are it’s outward effects, rather than its causes. The other effects include:
    savings of [an entire generation] such as pensions, insurance policies, cash bank savings can all be wiped out.
    There will be no capital formation, and entrepreneurship will be primarily suspended.


    Both causes and #Solutions are well known.

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