One of the pioneers of the mobile telecoms industry in Africa, Strive Masiyiwa is the Founder and Executive Chairman of the Econet Group (“Econet”) which comprises Cassava Technologies and Econet Wireless.
In 1993 Mr Masiyiwa founded Econet Wireless which is headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa. Econet Wireless is the mobile telephone networks and mobile money business of Econet with operations in Botswana, Burundi, Lesotho, and Zimbabwe.
Headquartered in London, Mr Masiyiwa later founded and serves as Executive Chairman of Cassava Technologies, Africa’s leading technology company of continental scale.
More than 20 years ago Mr Masiyiwa had a vision to create an entire ecosystem of digital solutions to connect people and businesses across the continent. Cassava Technologies now encompasses Africa’s largest open access cross-border fibre broadband network spanning over 100,000km (60,000+ miles), Africa’s largest network of interconnected carrier neutral data centres, solar renewable energy, cloud and cybersecurity, fintech, and on-demand digital platforms.
Born in Zimbabwe, Mr Masiyiwa left the country in 2000, and is based in London. He currently serves on several international boards including Unilever Plc, Netflix, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, National Geographic Society, and the Global Advisory boards of Bank of America, the Council on Foreign Relations (USA), Stanford University, the Bloomberg New Economy Forum, and the Prince of Wales Trust for Africa. Mr Masiyiwa is the only African member of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Committee on Conscience.
In June 2020 Mr Masiyiwa was appointed by the African Union as a Special Envoy for Covid-19 where he coordinated the acquisition of medical supplies, therapeutics, and vaccines for Africa on a global basis. He stepped down in February 2022.
A board member of the Rockefeller Foundation for 15 years as one of its longest-serving trustees, Mr Masiyiwa is a co-founder with Kofi Annan, The Rockefeller Foundation, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, of an initiative to help 400m African smallholder farmers, known as the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa. He then became its second chairman after Kofi Annan, and since stepping down has continued to serve as Chairman Emeritus. He was honored for this work with the Norman Borlaug World Food Prize Medallion.
Mr Masiyiwa served on the African Union Reform Task Force that led to the breakthrough of the African Continental Free Trade Area and the creation of the SMART Africa digital transformation initiative. Together with Melinda Gates and Hon Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Minister of Finance of Indonesia, he recently served as co-chair of the Pathways for Prosperity Commission for Technology and Inclusive Development, headquartered at Oxford University.
Mr Masiyiwa is a co-founder with Richard Branson of the Carbon War Room and the B-Team. He is a founding member of the Global Business Coalition on Education. He previously chaired the Micronutrient Initiative of Canada and served on the jury of the Hilton Humanitarian Prize. At the invitation of the UN Secretary-General, Mr Masiyiwa has served on two UN Commissions: Financing Global Education Opportunities and Sustainable Energy for All.
From 2013, Mr Masiyiwa devoted time each week to mentoring the next generation of African entrepreneurs through his Facebook page with a followership of 5.8m+. For several years, his platform was identified by Facebook as having the most engaged following of any business leader in the world: https://www.facebook.com/strivemasiyiwa
In 1996 Mr Masiyiwa and his wife Tsitsi co-founded the Higherlife Foundation and later Delta Philanthropies whose primary focus is social impact investment in human capital to build thriving individuals and communities. The family’s social impact investments in Africa include the critical sectors of education; health; rural transformation and sustainable livelihoods; and disaster relief and preparedness, with a focus on communities, women, and children. They are signatories of the Giving Pledge.
In 2020, Mr Masiyiwa was named amongst Bloomberg’s 50 Most Influential People, New African Magazine’s 100 Most Influential Africans, and Mail & Guardian’s 100 Africans of the Year. In 2014, 2017 and 2021, Masiyiwa was listed amongst Fortune Magazine’s “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders”.
An honorary fellow of the African Academy of Sciences, Masiyiwa has received honorary doctorates from Morehouse College, Yale University, Nelson Mandela University, and University of Cardiff where he received a BSc in Electrical Engineering.