Aliko Dangote is currently the richest man in Africa with a net worth of $10.1 billion, holding this position for the past 9 years. Strive Masiyiwa currently hold the 19th position with $1.1 billion net worth. He fell from 12th position after losing half of his net worth from the Zimbabwean currency losing 95% of its value.
Yet for some reason, Dr. Masiyiwa appears to be setting the stage to climb to the number one spot in the next decade. With the public knowledge of his personality, Masiyiwa does not appear like someone to be concerned about being the richest man African, but there are important lessons to learn from this comparison. I encourage you to watch to the end to get the point of this video.
Dangote may be investing heavily in Oil and Gas, and other traditional industries. And this would make it seem impossible for someone like Masiyiwa to catch up with him, let alone surpass him. But, think about this; how many years did it take Mark Zuckerberg to go from starting Facebook to climb to the top 10 richest in the world?
In the list of top 20 richest people in Africa, only Mike Adenuga, Naguib Sawiris and Strive Masiyiwa made their wealth in the technology industry. The majority are either in oil, diamond or mining, with a few in Fast Moving Consumer Goods.
On the other hand, how many people in the top 20 richest people in the world are in oil, diamond or mining business? And, what industry dominates the top 20? Interestingly, 12 of the top 20 richest people in the world are in the tech industry.
Compare that to Africa, and you will agree that most African superrich are still stuck in the primitive way of accumulating wealth when the world is moving on. Interestingly, there are few African billionaires that are working to balance this scale. And Dr. Strive Masiyiwa is at the forefront of this movement.
While the majority of African billionaires are busy investing in natural resources, real estate and banking, Dr. Strive Masiyiwa is one of the few forward thinking billionaire entrepreneurs in Africa radically investing and attracting international investors in technology in Africa.
His company, Econet Group, is a diversified telecommunications, media and technology group with operations and investments in Africa, Europe, South America, North America and the East Asia Pacific Rim. Some of its subsidiaries includes;
1. Econet Mobile Network
Dr. Strive Masiyiwa owns one of Sub Saharan Africa’s largest provider of telecommunications services – Econet Mobile Network, providing solutions in mobile and fixed wireless telephony, internet access and payment solutions. The company dominates the southern Africa region of the telecom market.
2. Liquid telecom
Liquid Telecom is a leading communications solutions provider across 13 countries that serve mobile operators, carriers, enterprise, media and content companies and retail customers with high-speed, reliable connectivity, hosting and co-location and digital services. It has built Africa’s largest independent fibre network, more than 70,000km, with a vision to connect the entire continent from Cape Town in South Africa to Cairo in Egypt.
It also operates state-of-the-art data centres in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Nairobi, with projects underway to build more data centers across major economies in Africa to drive cloud computing technology in the continent. This will make Data costs much cheaper and faster.
3. Distributed Power Africa
Through the Distributed Power Africa, his company is positioning as an innovative renewable energy company with operations currently in Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe. The company supplies commercial & industrial businesses and individuals with efficient green solar energy without an initial capital outlay.
4. Cassava Smartech
Under the Econet group, Cassava Smartech is a diversified smart technology group, using digital solutions to drive socio-economic development, and to improve the overall quality of life for everyday Africans. The company evolved from a fintech operation to a full smart technology business, constantly tapping into new opportunities to address everyday challenges in Africa through innovative and inclusive digital solutions.
The company has established a balanced portfolio in FinTech, InsurTech, Social Payments, e-Commerce, AgriTech, HealthTech and EduTech. It have products in Mobile Money Services, Remittances, Mobile micro insurance, Mobile commerce and Payment Services. These are multibillion dollar markets in the continent with enormous room for growth.
5. Vaya Africa
One of the group’s new companies is a ride hailing service, Vaya Africa. The company provide a transportation solution tailor-made for Africans.
However, Dr. Strive have also had his share of failed businesses.
Kwesé was launched by Econet Media in 2015 and offered sports and entertainment services across a dozen African countries. It also offered Video on Demand streaming service, Kwesé Play which was launched in 2017. Just 18 months after launch, the company abandoned its premium pan-African service to focus on its free-to-air offering and mobile streaming services. However, in August 2019, Econet finally shut down Kwese as a failed venture.
This is one of several ventures started by the company that failed. Business is generally tough. Even Google have created or acquired products that failed. So there is the possibility that some of Masiyiwa’s Econet businesses may not pull through or become massive successes.
In addition to that, the smartech side of the business seems to have obvious improvements to make. For instance, looking through some of the company’s apps on play store, you will find a lot of negative reviews. For example, at the time of creating this content, Vaya, the ride hailing app with over 100,000 downloads, has a lot of unresolved negative reviews and evidence of poor customer service.
Even the My Econet app with over 50,000 downloads has so much one star ratings that the app has an overall 1.9 rating, and was last updated in 2017. At the time of creating this content, the company has a lot of apps that were last updated in 2017, with lots of negative reviews from users.
If you are in the business of apps, you will understand that apps have bugs. So it’s not peculiar to the company to have a lot of negative reviews. However, how you respond to users or not matters. Looking through the app pages, the team doesn’t seem to be keen about customer reviews.
While the smartech side of the business may be thriving, with the company listed on the Zimbabwean Stock Exchange, with poor user experience on many of their apps and lack of attention to customer feedback, they leave a lot of room for competitors to take advantage of. Despite this, Dr. Strive is largely positioning to dominate the technology industry in Africa.
Rather than simply looking for where to make the most money, Dr. Masiyiwa is one of the few top African businessmen in it for the impact as well as the money. And if you look at the businesses of the top richest people globally, you will observe that they are designed to solve real human needs. You may not agree with the ethical side of such global businesses, but they are definitely technology products and services people can hardly live without.
Dr. Strive and his wife are heavy on philanthropic work and are signatories to the Giving Pledge. The Giving Pledge is a campaign to encourage extremely wealthy people to contribute a majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes.
Hence, if there is one thing that will stop Masiyiwa from topping the list of the richest African in the next 10 years, it could be his tendency to give generously towards philanthropic causes.
Considering the positive sides, Dr. Strive Masiyiwa has the positioning to become the richest man in Africa in the next 10 years. The combined advantage of targeting key developmental sectors, diversified investment across the globe, strong entrepreneurial prowess, passion for African development and strong international network for attracting investors – gives him a strong leverage that very few people in the continent have.
Whether he tops the list or not, the message of this video is that Africa needs people that can see beyond the traditional means of creating wealth. The world is already in the 4th industrial revolution, yet Africa is still struggling to get a grasp of the 3rd industrial revolution. The richest people in the world today are not oil or diamond miners. They are the innovators using technology to advance the human race. If you want to have a chance at creating enormous wealth, you too should be looking in that direction. Until next time, YOUR SUCCESS MATTERS!