CNN Marketplace Africa sits down with Strive Masiyiwa

DR M Opening Remarks:  "I feel like a pioneer cause I'm here to provide solutions. When I wake up in the morning I have always been motivated by providing solutions"

CNN Question: Not Money?

DR M: No… the Money is a consequence of what you do. I did not wake and say I want to make a lot of money. I began my career as a telephone engineer and I knew we could provide services to more people than that. I was like a single voice shouting to say, ”We can do more than we do”. Today 500 million African people have telephone service and I was a part of that. So that’s what I am about providing solution.

DR M: But we go beyond that, we provide communications for banks, we provide the services for a lot of banks so that they can provide point of sale terminals. When you wipe your credit card, you are probably running on a network we provide in Africa, we do that in 18 African countries. So we do a lot of things, but it is not bout the technology, it is about responding to the needs of the customers.

CNN Question: How do you respond to the needs of a customer in Nigeiria, a customer in Haiti and a customer in New Zealand…are they all the same?

DR M: No, no they are not the same, it’s about the skills that we mobilise, for me my main job here is managing a global talent pool. If you walk down our corridors here you are going to find Americans, Chinese, Christians, Muslims, women, Ghanaians… all sorts of people who work for us.

CNN Question: You are a committed Christian how much does that play into your business ethic?

DR M: It certainly drives my values but I see that as manifest in my approach to things like corruption. I will not allow it within the organization and I've had many issues, as you know, where I have responded to very aggressively over corruption in different countries.

CNN Question: Do you read the Bible for an hour every day, is that correct? I have read that. 

DR M: Oh that’s when I'm busy I can read for 4 or 5 hours, like on the weekend I spend a lot of time studying the bible and looking at various passages.

CNN Question: Is the Bible a good Business Management Tool? And please give us a good example?

DR M: The Very Best nothing better than it. A good example, do you know delegation? God first told Moses to delegate. God Said Moses “you can't do all this by yourself” and he told him to pick 70 people and he delegated to them. And that’s what I do everyday I'm always looking for an opportunity to delegate responsibility and empower people.

CNN Question: You are very Philanthropic Aren't You

DR M: You know I have been in business now for nearly 30 years and we have the problem of HIV and Aids in Africa. I ran a construction company and I realised that a lot of my workers where dying and leaving very young children and I began to adopt the children and send them to school. That program I have now expanded beyond my own group, today we provide education support for about 30,000 orphans at any given time. We pay school fee's we buy their uniforms we provide counseling support and we do that where ever we have an operation.

CNN Question: WHY?

DR M: Because it is right! You have to have a purpose in life. Yes in my case I am driven by a deep spiritual need but I see that as something everyone should do whether we do it as an enlightened self-interest. You see if we don’t send these kids to school don’t be surprised if someone attacks with you a gun on the street because that’s the consequence of it.

CNN Question: Are you an Idealist 

DR M: No I’m not an idealist in fact, if it’s an ideal that I cannot implement, I leave it to the philosophers. I'm about execution that’s what I'm about. I get things done. So If I cant go out and do it then I move on.

Watch the full interview here

 

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