“Success isn’t about how much money you make. It is about the difference you make in people’s lives.”
– Michelle Obama
The world would have missed out on great inventions, creativity and genius minds if the likes of Albert Einstein, Michael Faraday, and other iconic inventors, businessmen and entrepreneurs decided to quit on their dreams because of setbacks or failure. Imagine a world void of great and inspirational individuals who would have contributed immensely to the development of a better world.That world is one that none of us would want to find ourselves in. Success never occurs overnight, it’s an adventurous trip with patience, hardwork, persistence, and determination to wait for our own moment of breakthrough, not of breakdown.
For some individuals, their success story is so great that the pages of history seem too small to contain it, all because it seems larger than life and one of such individual is Strive Masiyiwa, a London based Zimbabwean businessman, an entrepreneur and a large hearted philanthropist.
As an entrepreneur and businessman, he is the founder and executive chairman of a diversified international telecommunications group, Econet Wireless, which is operational in over 15 countries. His business interests also include renewable energy, financial services, media, and hospitality. As a graduate of Electrical Engineering from the University of Wales, he returned to Zimbabwe after 17 years of absence and worked for a while as a telecoms engineer for the state-owned telephone company.Then he quit his job and started his own electrical engineering business. In five years, he had emerged as one of the country’s leading industrialists. The advent of mobile cellular telephone service brought about a diversification into telecoms, however, for five years, Masiyiwa was embroiled in a legal battle against the Zimbabwean government of Robert Mugabe who refused to give his business a license to operate as Econet Wireless.
Through his relentless and hardworking nature, Masiyiwa has distinguished himself as one of the world’s greatest leaders and as a global phenomenon with the following international board appointments: The Rockefeller Foundation, US Council on Foreign Relations International Advisory Board, the Asia Society, the Africa Progress Panel (APP), Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), The Micronutrient Initiative of Canada, Grow Africa, The African Union’s (AU) EBOLA Fund, Morehouse College Board, and The Pan African Strategic Institute. He also sits on two United Nations Advisory Panels and is the only African member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Committee on Conscience.
Masiyiwa is also a global influencer as, in 2012, he was invited by the then-president of America, Barack Obama, to address leaders at the Camp David G-8 summit on how to increase food production and end hunger in parts of Africa.
As a philanthropist, Masiyiwa is one of Africa’s most generous humanitarian.He is part of the Giving Pledge initiative of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. Himself and his wife founded the ‘Higher Life’ foundation which has provided scholarships to over 100,000 young Africans over the past 20 years. The foundation has been able to support over 40,000 orphans with educational initiatives as well as sponsoring students to universities in America, the United Kingdom, and China. His immense contributions to education, health, agriculture, and development through funding and support of initiatives in these sectors have been widely recognized with different awards from varied organizations. He is also a passionate environmentalist and with Richard Brandon, they founded an environmental group called ‘The Carbon War Room’.
It is easy to complain and say you are not as privileged as Masiyiwa has been, or currently is, but that would be ignoring the fact that he is doing great things with what he has. This is a great man worthy of emulation, especially in terms of the impact he is making across the world. Starting from where you are presently, how much impact are you making with what you have? The truth is that it is not always about the money, it is about the impact. Masiyiwa is making his, are you?
Image from Africa Progress Panel.