# Breaking News! Berlin Town Hall tonight!

At 7:30 pm (SAST) tonight, I will be holding a student town hall in Berlin, Germany at Humboldt University on the subject of “Partnering for Africa’s Century: Innovation and Entrepreneurship to drive food security and jobs on the continent.” We are going to be talking about building the 21st Century as Africa’s Century…

As I mentioned to some of you earlier, I am in Berlin to attend a board meeting of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

The event is being co-organized by the Dr. Joachim von Braun’s Centre of Development Research (ZEF) at Bonn University. Fred Swaniker will be the moderator. Our co-host will be Dr Stefan Schmitz.


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About Strive Masiyiwa

Strive Masiyiwa is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet, a diversified global telecommunications group with operations and investments in over 15 countries. His business interests also include renewable energy, financial services, media and hospitality. Masiyiwa serves on a number of international boards, including Unilever, Rockefeller Foundation, the Council on Foreign Relations’ Global Advisory Board, the Africa Progress Panel, the UN Secretary General's Advisory Board for Sustainable Energy, Morehouse College, Hilton Foundation's Humanitarian Prize Jury and the Kenjin-Tatsujin International Advisory Council. He is one of the founders, with Sir Richard Branson, of the global think tank, the Carbon War Room, and a founding member of the Global Business Coalition on Education. Masiyiwa took over the Chairmanship of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) from Kofi Annan. He is also Chair of the Micronutrient Initiative, a global organization focused on ending child hunger and improving nutrition. In 2012, Masiyiwa was invited by President Obama to address leaders at the Camp David G-8 Summit on how to increase food production and end hunger in parts of Africa. In 2014, Masiyiwa was selected to Fortune Magazine’s list of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders”. As a philanthropist, he is a member of the Giving Pledge, and his contributions to education, health and development have been widely recognized. Masiyiwa and his wife finance the Higher Life Foundation, which provides scholarships to over 42,000 African orphans. In 2015, he was the recipient of the International Rescue Committee’s Freedom Award and was presented with a UN Foundation Global Leadership Award for the work of the Africa Against Ebola Solidarity Trust, which he chairs and helped establish to fund the deployment of African healthcare workers to combat the outbreak in West Africa.

12 thoughts on “# Breaking News! Berlin Town Hall tonight!

  1. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    #Peter Mbizvo [an old friend who farms in Zimbabwe] wrote, after watching the Town Hall in Berlin:

    This is fantastic Big Man!

    I particularly like the idea of enhancing agribusiness activity through technology for more efficient production and higher yields.We used imagery on our farm for our last winter wheat as a way to monitor crop stress, disease and chemical applications and the benefits were tremendous.We were able to identify and rectify challenges before crop damage with resultant improved yields.

    We are also able to predict rainfall patterns more accurately using weather apps so that we can plan our planting,Fertiliser applications and herbicide applications for more afficient/effective cropping and reduced losses.

    I am sure there are now even more technology driven apps to monitor livestock growth, disease and feeding patterns etc.Its all very exciting stuff!

    Funds permitting, we should move towards acquiring farming equipment & implements which use high end technology for more efficient cropping.Its amazing the types of planters, fertilizer spreaders, boomsprays etc that are available these days.All of which use precision guided technology applications.

    I need to investigate the ecofarmer apps more closely.


  2. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    #Creating “Unicorns”!

    By now you should know what is a Unicorn [remember my FB Post on “every game has a language]:

    “In the venture capital industry, a unicorn refers to any tech startup company that reaches a $1 billion dollar market value as determined by private or public investment. “ [Wikipedia]

    Cassava Smartech is essentially a group of “unicorns” in one place:
    -EcoCash, and EcoSure are all unicorn businesses.
    -I believe that EcoFarmer, Vaya, Kwese Iflix, and Akello [our education platforms] will each become unicorns within 3 years.

  3. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Tatenda writes,

    This is ironic Innocent Qaphela Mukute and at the same time motivational. It’s good to see that the 4th industrial revolution is being recognized. Strive Masiyiwa, Ukhozi Analytics Co. does exactly what #Peter Mbizvo needs and a whole lot more that we would like to tell you more about if you’d lend us an ear

    My reply,
    You have my ear!
    Someone will be in touch.

  4. Strive Masiyiwa Post author


    At the just ended Agra board meeting, some dear friends suggested we launch a new generation of #AfricanDigitalFarmer!

    I think this is a great idea!
    Do you guys think we should have an annual conference for #AfricanDigitalFarmers, and their Tech Enablers?
    I really want to know what what people are doing out there, that can turn our farmers into Digital farmers….
    What can we do with AI, Blockchain, biotech, Shared Business models, Solar Energy, Drones, and other technologies to boost agricultural productivity in Africa?
    I want to hear from you, if you are already doing something..

  5. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Adedayo writes,

    It is possible! In addition, too, great Chief, our company, Edubrainics Africa Consulting Limited, owner of Edubrainics Smartphone Campus, Edubrainics Smartphone Secondary and Edubrainics Smartphone Primary/Nursery, will join in the bandwagon(i.e. Akello)and morph into “academic’ unicorns in Jesus’ mighty name!

    My reply,
    You are building a unicorn.
    There is something about you which I really like. Ever since you started commenting I have enjoyed reading your comments.
    I will ask the CEO of Cassava in South Africa to invite you to meet him and share ideas. He is not allowed to take over your business, but he can help you with his team.

  6. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Bello writes,

    Strive Masiyiwa

    Sir, I want to use this opportunity to appreciate you for taking time (out of your busy schedules)to write on your wall for us to read and motivate millions of youths and entrepreneurs across the globe…….thank you sir.

    Sir, how can I reach you privately? I have an idea that can transform banking industry in the whole world.

    In my research, nothing like that has ever existed anywhere in the world.

    I have trademarked the idea and I have been working on it for years but how to make it a reality and fear of plagiarism is my problem.

    Reading from your wall attracts me to want to discuss with you so as to guide me sir.

    Until I hear from you sir, I remain,
    Yours sincerely,
    From Nigeria.

    My reply,
    Normally I would say “no” to such a request, but because you said this:

    “I have trade marked the idea”,
    You got my attention. I will ask the CEO of Cassava Smartech to engage you through our Digital Banking team.

  7. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Last week a senior executive at one of the largest companies in the world, told me she follows me on Facebook, and loves to read the comments.
    A few days ago in Berlin one of the most respected global leaders said to me:
    “I enjoyed your series on re-imagine Rural”.
    Finally, when I visited the PM of Ethiopia a few months ago, two of his aides came to see me when they heard I was in the building:
    “Please write something about policy makers like us. We are also following!”
    #SomethingIs Happening!

    But here is what I want you to do:
    Imagine you are not just writing to me.
    There are venture capitalists, philanthropists, global business leaders listening to you!
    Make what you say count—for you!
    It’s about you, and not about me!
    I’m so excited for you!

  8. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    King Ofori writes,

    From Ghana, my problem is with the agricultural cycle. We get to produce more and storage and marketing becomes a problem.

    My reply,
    Every great product or service you see around you probably began as a result of some young entrepreneurs “seeing a problem”; but instead of saying “why can’t someone solve this problem, they said to themselves, “WHY CAN’T I SOLVE THIS PROBLEM?”

    A few months ago I travelled to a Tech Hub in Israel where I spent the whole day listening to young entrepreneurs who had invented all kinds of solutions for use in Africa!
    They were looking for partners.
    Such hubs are beginning to explode in Africa too. We need more. We also need them to collaborate with each other more.
    If you see a problem, don’t cry or complain, smile to yourself and say:
    “This is my chance!”

  9. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    It was amazing to see so many young Africans studying at post graduate level in German universities. My heart was filled with so much pride and hope, at seeing them [particularly the young women].
    These are some of the most gifted young people of their generation, and most of them will end up in leadership positions in whatever field they pursue.

    I admire anyone who manages to get a proper PHD. I know how smart you need to be to get a PHD, particularly in a place like Germany. It’s no joke—these guys are really, really smart.
    Africa needs to get more young people to pursue PHDs particularly in STEM.
    It was really a privilege to meet the technocrats who will drive Africa’s future.
    Well done. Keep it up. See you back home.

  10. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Some notes to future business leaders:
    (1). This is a paradox that I have observed:
    The leaders who need the most advice do not need or value advice [and advisors] and rarely ask for it.
    The leaders who look for the most advice [and surround themselves with the best advisors] are the ones who are so smart, they shouldn’t need advice or advisors.
    (2). The smartest, most successful companies in the world, spend a lot of money on outside advisors.
    (3). You should so value advise that you are prepared to go anywhere to get it, and above all to pay anything for it.

    (4). The dumbest people I ever meet are those who tell me they are not prepared to PAY for advice, or complain about the cost of advice.

    (5). As an entrepreneurial leader, even when you know exactly what you want to do, it costs you nothing to take advice.
    With all your seeking, seek after good advice.

    (6). If your advisors are not comfortable when you seek outside counsel, then it is because they are not giving you good advice.
    The moment an internal advisor derides outside counsel, then I know there is a problem they are trying to hide. Good advisors are those who like to see their advice validated or challenged by their own peers.

  11. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    #Breaking News!

    “Ich bin ein Berliner” [John F Kennedy]

    The YouTube views of #Strive In Berlin has now reached 3.2m views. How cool is that!
    So how do they say “I love Berlin” in German?
    Thanks for all the support in getting Africa’s Green Revolution message.
    The German government has launched an initiative called:
    Through this initiative they are partnering with Africa to help stamp out hunger through increased agriculture production, and creation of job opportunities for young people.
    You will recall I was part of a visit to see Chancellor Angela Merkel with Chief Kofi Annan, President Obasanjo, Bob Geldof, Peter Eigen [founder of Transparency International]. I also made a special presentation to to G-8 leaders in 2012 at Camp David on “African food security and smallholder farmers”.
    The global support for African agriculture is now growing rapidly.
    Now I want to focus on a new generation of African farmers, who are young and tech savvie:

    I was not joking when I told President Obama at the 2012 G-8 meeting, “I want to make African smallholder farmers RICH, so they can afford to buy tractors, send children to school, and even buy smartphones from me!”

  12. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    #my advice to President Obasanjo!

    I used to be part of a special gathering arranged by the former German President Horst Kohler. It was called the Germany Africa Dialogue Series.

    Five African heads of state [Nigeria, SA, Ethiopia, Ghana, Botswana], five business leaders, five civic leaders, and five academics, would spend two days discussing with a select delegation of German leaders, their biggest industrialists, civic society and academia. It was out of this world. They treated us with such respect, and the discussions were intense.

    We would often break into small groups to look at specific issues. During one of those sessions, President Obasanjo asked me to be his rapporteur, and help him prepare an agenda. I prepared a paper for him overnight on “German skills development: how the Germans develop artisans—-this is why they have these incredible manufacturing industries.”

    President Obasanjo loved it, and we put it on the agenda. Unfortunately it was at the end of his tenure. Nevertheless we must ask our leaders to revisit this area. You cannot have high income jobs if you are unskilled. It’s not just PHDs, it’s also about machinists, turners, fitters, plumbers, electricians…


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