Breaking News! We put our money where our vision is…

__This is how we want to help build Africa’s century! 
On Saturday I travelled to Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt for a special signing ceremony of a historic agreement between Liquid Telecom and Telecom Egypt, witnessed by His Excellency Dr Amr Talaat, the Egyptian Minister of Communications and Information Technology, and Her Excellency Dr Sahar Nasr, the Egyptian Minister of Investment and International Cooperation. At this ceremony, Liquid Telecom announced a landmark investment of $400m in Egypt over the next three years in a major partnership with Telecom Egypt to connect Egyptian businesses to the rest of Africa, and to build data centres and network infrastructure within the country.Wow!

This development follows the historic completion of Liquid Telecom’s Cape Town to Cairo high-speed fibre network which runs a land-based cable across 13 countries, linking over 660 cities and towns.

The Cape to Cairo project was heavily supported by African Union (AU) leadership. Over the years and especially as current AU chair, His Excellency President Paul Kagame of Rwanda urged countries across the continent to create a “One Africa Broadband Network.” Egyptian President His Highness Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has said he will continue to push this initiative during his tenure next year as the incoming chairman of the AU’s 54 nation body.

__Why is this important? Because this is #how,#together, we are building Africa’s century: creating jobs, increasing intra Africa trade, and strengthening a world class digital infrastructure for even more investment to enable our citizens to prosper as the Fourth Industrial Revolution transforms our continent and the world…

# In each country, we provide backbone network infrastructure to both Internet Service Providers and telecoms providers.

# We also provide what are called “data centers” which house the “cloud” (computer networks).

# High speed internet access makes it possible for tens of thousands of savvy, young entrepreneurs like so many of you to create amazing new businesses that rely on the Internet…

Come to think of it, if you’re on the Internet right now (using something like Facebook) we have probably enabled it!

As many of you know, I have talked about my burning passion to connect “Cape to Cairo” for decades… Now it’s done! Phew!

Our next task is to expand to West Africa. We’re working on our “trans-Sahara” route, running from Sudan through Chad and Cameroon to Abuja, Nigeria. This is already at the border of Cameroon and Nigeria. We should cross into Nigeria before the end of January.

Then we will link the networks in all the countries of the west, all the way to Senegal. This is our mission for 2019. In 2020, we want to spin around all the way back to Cairo!

__I would like to express my deepest appreciation to the AU Chair President Kagame. He above all recognized what few recognized before — that if they’re given support, the private sector can undertake major infrastructural projects of any scale.

The railway, power, and communications networks of the USA were built by private companies. President Kagame reached out to his colleagues and asked them to help us, when I met him with several leaders last year. Now he has passed the baton to President El-Sisi, and I have promised him that this time next year, I will return to inaugurate “Cairo Dakar”!

For a project of this scale to be built, you need a world class management team and a professional workforce, together with equally dedicated contractors and their staff.

Tens of thousands of people have worked on this project over the past 14 years when we first embarked on this fibre build out. It has meant thousands of jobs for local communities and is creating ever more jobs as Internet and broadband services take a hold, and become cheaper and faster.

Nic Rudnick, the Group CEO of Liquid, joined me over 22 years ago as a young white Zimbabwean and proud African. His leadership team includes Stephan Duproz (France), Adil El Youssefi (Kenya), David Eurin (France), Kate Hennessy (UK), Wellington Makamure (Zimbabwe), Willem Marais (SA), Ahmad Mokhles (Egypt), Phil Moses (UK), Sam Nkusi (Rwanda), Michelle Pirie (SA), Ben Roberts (UK), Reshaad Sha (SA), Faithful Taruwinga (Zimbabwe) and…

In fact, there are so many men and women in senior leadership positions working behind the scenes that make a business like this possible.

I can’t mention them all or this post would never end, but I salute each and every one of them across Africa today for a job well done!

I trust that all of you entrepreneurs out there, especially in the Senior Class, know why the huge power of high speed connectivity is such a big deal, now and in the future…

Let’s talk.



by 13 Replies

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.

13 thoughts on “Breaking News! We put our money where our vision is…

  1. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 1.

    “So next time you see one of the Liquid Telecom crews digging around in your neighborhood, spare a thought for them; they are trying to find their way to Cairo!” Who knows which year I wrote this, and what was the name of the post?

    And look where we are now…

    Did I mention yet that Liquid Telecom won the Best Network Improvement award at the annual AfriCom Awards in Cape Town last month, in recognition of the Cape to Cairo Network we’re celebrating today?!

  2. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 2.

    “This is a fantastic time to be entering the business world, because business is going to change more in the next 10 years than it has in the last 50″ said Bill Gates the founder of Microsoft. Someone in the senior class, can you tell others on this platform what Mr. Gates is talking about here.

  3. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 3.

    Liquid Telecom is driven by the vision that every individual on the African continent has the right to be connected. By now you know I see connectivity as key to building Africa’s century. High speed broadband can mean different things to different people and businesses. What does it mean to you? Here’s one thing it means to me (quoted from an interesting article “How digital technology is changing farming in Africa”):

    “African entrepreneurs are now interested in how farmers work and how they can help improve yields. The barrier of entry into farming technology has dropped, as cloud computing, computing systems, connectivity, open-source software, and other digital tools have become increasingly affordable and accessible. Entrepreneurs can now deliver solutions to small-size African farms at cost models that farmers can afford…”

  4. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 4.

    What next?

    We need to push the linkage of our continental power grids, and also rail and air transportation. Now is the time for bold initiatives to build intra African trade and investment. Your turn!

  5. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Crossing the first border: South Africa to Zimbabwe [only 500m] took more than 3 years!

    Yes, getting approval to cross the border from SA to Zimbabwe, a distance of some 500m, took over 3 years!
    To imagine that we still had almost 20 other borders to cross to get to Cairo!

    #1. The beginning is always the hardest part. So if you have just started a business [or any other venture] and you are finding it almost impossible, remember that if you are patient, persistent, and passionate, you will eventually make it!

  6. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    In 2003 Liquid Telecom’s largest customer cancelled a contract that accounted for 80% of our income. The business almost went into bankruptcy. We were forced to retrench most of the employees. I was totally gutted.
    Our investors demanded that we shut it down immediately. I refused, and took it over personally with a small staff compliment. We rebuilt the business model, and started afresh.

    Hard things are hard!
    Sometimes you will face terrible setbacks, but you must never, ever give up!
    If you do you are not an entrepreneur.

  7. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Nigel Mukuruwenzira Patsanza writes,

    Congratulations are in order! to say Well done Strive it’s not enough!!!!

    You have raised the Zimbabwe Flag to greater heights!

    I once said Strive for Zimbabwe President! I was wrong! I have realized you are destined for greater heights!

    I first met you Strive at Charles Prince flying school in the 90s Myself and you where both trainee private pilots. Our instructor was the late Davis Tendai Midzi (MHDSRIEP).

    One day he took both of us for manouvers up in the Delta Four flight training area. I remember you telling Davis about your dream telecoms project .Econet project was still in the incubator! I was so pessimistic that I thought it would never come to fruition.I remember saying to Strive not in Zimbabwe it will never happen! Strive retorted to me and said “Where do you come from,are you Zimbabwean? Why are you not patriotic?” I said to my self this guy must be a joke, he must be Steve Quincy Urkel’s twin!
    How blinkered I was!

    “To him that will, ways are not wanting”

    Sky is the limit Strive you motivate the world!

    My reply,
    Thank you for this encouraging note for all our friends on this platform.
    Flying was one of the things I had to give up in order to pursue my entrepreneurial dream. I hope you went on to become a great pilot.
    Davis was a great flying instructor, and pilot. May his soul Rest In Peace.
    God bless you for this memory.

  8. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Someone writes,

    Dear sir Dr Strive, do you encourage the practice of pyramid schemes and network marketing as genuine for entrepreneurs ?

    My reply,
    If you set up a business based on these concepts three things will happen:
    #1. You will end up cheating people, and become a criminal in the process.
    #2. You will go to jail, if you are caught.
    #3. Your final resting place will deservedly be Hell.

  9. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Jerry Musungo writes,

    Strive Masiyiwa CDC’s 10% shareholding for the investment puts the current value of Liquid at 1.8 Billion dollars. Since you mentioned that the business is adequately funded for the next few years is there still a need to do a public listing? If so when are you likely to go public

    My reply,
    There are many benefits which come from listing a company, of which raising capital is just one.
    Another major reason why you list a company is to give liquidity to investors:
    When a company lists, the early investors [who came in when the company was private] will have the option to sell all their shares or just small amounts, whenever they like.
    Even for the founder this is hugely beneficial; whenever I want money I can just sell a few shares, or I can use it to buy back shares.
    Being listed is the end game for a successful entrepreneur.

  10. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Malone Jay writes,

    Strive Masiyiwa Data is a primary needs for Africa that used by governments to reduce joblessness among it’s teaming youth through self development IT courses and online business creation. Soon data must become cheaper in the long term to help achieve my above points.

    My reply,
    Your understanding of this issue needs to deepen. I hope through this platform you will come to understand a few important things about how jobs are created in an economy that is prospering:
    The most successful economies in terms of prosperity are those in which government creates an enabling environment for entrepreneurs and enterprises to invest, and create jobs. It is the entrepreneurs who use Data [not governments; don’t confuse “data” with “information”] to create jobs. Companies like Facebook, Google, Liquid, use data to create jobs, not governments.

  11. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Kelly Chagira writes,

    I have a feeling that, in the next 5 or 10yrs, Data will turn out to be bigger than oil, gas and electricity combined! It will be the most common denominator across all imaginable industries. You truly are a prophetic visionary! Congratulations on this one!

    My reply,
    It already is!
    The most valuable companies in the world are not oil companies, gold, or resources like platinum and diamonds. They are not banks.
    The most valuable companies like Microsoft [now a cloud computing company], Apple [smartphones], Amazon, Google, Alibaba, Tencent, Uber, Grab, Facebook…all have one thing in common:
    Every single one of these companies has a market value greater than the economy of any African country, and yet Africa is the most resourced place on the planet.

    Microsoft and Apple are bigger than the Saudi Arabian economy!

    If you want to make yourself or your country truly wealthy focus on DATA [digital] driven business models!

  12. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    #In The News Today!

    Financial Times – The CDC is investing $180m in Liquid Telecom, Africa’s largest independent fibre optic and cloud computing provider, in one of the biggest equity investments in the 70-year history of the UK government’s overseas development arm. Liquid Telecom, which has built fibre optic networks across 13 African countries, including a Cape Town to Cairo link, said it would use the capital to accelerate its expansion in the face of what it called “exploding” demand for data in Africa.

  13. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Abdou Diop‪:

    Congratulations Strive. It was a réal pleasure Sharing the Presidential Roundtable with you.

    My reply,
    It is exciting to see someone like you join and comment on our platform.
    You are doing great work in Africa.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *