Strive Masiyiwa, a self-made billionaire from Zimbabwe, has transformed Africa’s telecommunications landscape, proving that innovation and determination can birth success even amidst challenges.

Early Life:

Born in Zimbabwe in 1961, Strive spent part of his early life in Zambia before returning to his homeland for secondary schooling. Facing the political unrest of his country, he moved to the UK to complete his education. The resilience and adaptability he displayed during these formative years would later become hallmarks of his professional journey.

Climbing the Telecom Tower:

After returning to Zimbabwe in the late 1980s, Strive founded Retrofit Engineering. However, his big breakthrough came in the 1990s when he decided to venture into the telecom sector, founding Econet Wireless. Fighting through a lengthy legal battle against the government’s refusal of a license, Masiyiwa emerged victorious, setting the stage for Econet’s ascendancy in the African telecom space.

Major Achievements:

  • Founder and Chairman of Econet Wireless, a global telecommunications group with operations and investments in over 20 countries.
  • Established the Higherlife Foundation, dedicated to improving the lives of orphaned and vulnerable children.
  • Recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s ten most powerful men and named to TIME’s 100 most influential people list.
  • An influential advocate for ending child marriage in Africa and enhancing education.


Strive’s journey wasn’t without hurdles. The most notable challenge was his intense legal standoff with the Zimbabwean government over telecom licensing. This battle tested his resolve, but ultimately he emerged stronger, showcasing the power of perseverance and righteous vision.

Legacy/Current Status:

Today, Masiyiwa is not just an entrepreneur but a beacon of hope for many African innovators and entrepreneurs. He’s a testament to the potential that lies within the continent and its people. Still active in both business and philanthropy, he remains a pivotal figure in advocating for a brighter, digitally connected Africa.

Quick Facts:

  • Net Worth: Over $1.7 billion.
  • Key Companies: Econet Wireless, Liquid Telecom.
  • Notable Quote: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.”
  • Did You Know?: Strive was the first African to join Bill Gates and Warren Buffet’s Giving Pledge, committing to donate at least half his wealth to charity.


Strive Masiyiwa’s journey from a young man in a turbulent Zimbabwe to a global tech magnate is a story of tenacity, vision, and relentless pursuit of excellence. In an age where success stories often seem distant and unattainable, Masiyiwa’s story prompts us to ponder: What could each of us achieve with the right mix of passion, perseverance, and principle?

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