Zimbabwean business mogul, Dr. Strive Masiyiwa was recently in Washington D.C to speak at the White House Summit for Global Development where President Barack Obama and Gayle Smith, the Administrator for U.S. Agency for International Development also took to the stage. The Summit included entrepreneurs, diplomats, civil society members, public and private sector financing partners, and development leaders who got together to mark global progress and find ways to enhance further development efforts. The main areas on the agenda were energy, food security, global health, governance, partnership, and youth. Dr. Masiyiwa’s involvement in the development of Africa has made him one of the most sought after humanitarians of our age.
White House Summit for Global Development
President Barack Obama spoke after Dr. Strive Masiyiwa who he showered with praise.
“Well, thank you, Strive, for those kind words and your great work in promoting opportunity in Africa and across the globe. I should point out, by the way, Strive just told me he was in the middle of a board meeting, he flew here, he’s got to go back. He hasn’t gotten any sleep. That’s how committed he is to the work that we’re doing.”
Indeed, the work that has been done towards the betterment of the world in Obama’s two terms in office is impressive as the United States President highlighted. The list of achievements spanned from prevention of major power wars right up to saving around 60 million lives from measles, malaria and tuberculosis. Quoting Michael Elliott, former head of the ONE Campaign who said the world was living through “an age of miracles”. It has been an aim of the Obama Administration to make changes as there is a correlation between global security and global problems like poverty and diseases. Writing on his blog, Dr Strive Masiyiwa said the day had been special for him and he was eager to share it with everyone. “There are certain moments in life when you just say Wow! And this was one of those moments.”
Obama and Masiyiwa - Two Do-Gooders par excellence
Dr Strive Masiyiwa, the Chairman of Econet Wireless, first met Obama when he was Senator over lunch in Johannesburg. Masiyiwa said, “He had sought me out because he knew I was part of a small group of African and global leaders who had been assembled by out-going UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. We had to find solutions to address hunger, food security and nutrition in Africa.”
Obama struck the Zimbabwean business mogul and philanthropist as a man of great vision and with a heart for the African continent. As the leader of the United States, Obama has championed such initiatives as Power Africa meant to bring electricity to Sub-Saharan Africa, Feed the Future to improve food security, The Young African Leadership Initiative and The Global Entrepreneurship Summit to harness efforts towards entrepreneurship and job creation. These are only part of a longer list Dr Masiyiwa could not have exhausted.
For his part, Dr Masiyiwa has been at the forefront of philanthropic action where it is most needed in Africa. He is a member of the Giving Pledge and in November 2015, he was honoured by the United Nations Foundation for co-ordinating African business support in the fight against Ebola. After receiving a call from the African Union Commission Chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma for help, Dr. Masiyiwa organised for business colleagues to contribute and maintain an African Union presence in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. The business mogul also received the Freedom Award from the International Rescue Committee which caters for refugees. In the Award citation, Masiyiwa is described as one of Africa’s most generous humanitarians having used his wealth to provide scholarships to over 100,000 young Africans over the past 20 years through his family foundation. He also supports over 42,000 orphans with educational initiatives as well as sponsoring students at universities in America, the United Kingdom, and China. Again, Dr Masiyiwa’s philanthropic efforts cannot be exhausted.
It is men like Dr Masiyiwa and President Obama who have shown the world the true power of collaborative action in solving global problems. President Obama in 2010 is on record for saying, “Together, we can collaborate in ways unimaginable just a few years ago. Together, we can realise the future that none of us can achieve alone. Together, we can deliver historic leaps in development. We can do this. But only if we move forward with the seriousness and sense of common purpose that this moment demands.”
Image Credit: Strive Mayisiwa via Facebook