Zimbabwe-born and London based billionaire Strive Masiyiwa has been named Britain’s first black billionaire. The C.E.O of global telecommunications giant Econet Wireless Group is basking in riches and is not stopping adding numbers to his net worth. The 61-year old Zimbabwean telecommunication tycoon who moved to London in 2010, has officially been named as the UK's first Black billionaire per the Sunday Times.
The better chunk of Strive Masiyiwa’s wealth lies in the Econet Wireless Group, which now operates in Africa, Europe, South America, and the East Asia Pacific Rim. Apart from this, Masiyiwa is also currently a member of the Netflix and Unilever boards of directors. As part of service to his home continent, he also serves as the African Union's special envoy helping secure COVID-19 vaccines for various countries throughout the continent of Africa.
The news that Strive Masiyiwa becomes UK’s first black billionaire surfaces at a time when the rich mogul’s wealth exponentially increased to US$2, 5 billion, growing by US$1,14 billion over the past 12 months. Despite facing a financial dip during the periods 2019 and 2020 owing to the COVID-19 outbreak, Strive Masiyiwa’s coffers have multiplied, thanks to rapid vaccination campaigns aiding economic resuscitation. On the United Kingdom’s top rich list, Strive Masiyiwa has made an enormously significant boost, ascending to number 89, up from 159 the previous year.
In 2012, Masiyiwa, along with four other business leaders, was invited by President Barack Obama to attend the 38th G8 summit at Camp David to strategize ways to increase food production and end poverty in some parts of Africa. Through the Higherlife Foundation, a philanthropy organisation that he co-owns with his wife Tsitsi Masiyiwa, the billionaire has sponsored education for over 250 000 students across Africa. In 2014, Fortune Magazine named him one of the 50 most influential business leaders in the world and termed him an African billionaire with an unwavering passion for his continent.
The African philanthropist first made headlines when he indulged in a protracted struggle with the then Zimbabwe government under President Robert Mugabe. The latter’s government sought to maintain a monopoly of telecommunications at a time when the landlocked country was in dire need of a more innovative techno solution.
Through a series of litigation which lasted for half a decade, Strive Masiyiwa finally overcame at the Constitutional Court. He subsequently obtained a telecommunications licence and formed what is now one of the world’s biggest tech-companies. His success story is an inspiration to many and a practical testimony that Africans have vast potential to make it into the famed Forbes tally of wealthy men and women.