How can Africa #Together grow the prosperity of our people and continent?


As most of you know, I just returned from Egypt to London to take part in another historic signing for one of our businesses (what an amazing week!)… As great as it was to announce CDC’s $180m investment into Liquid Telecom a few days ago, the timing meant I sadly had to leave before another historic moment for Africa this week: the first-ever Intra-Africa Trade Fair (#IATF) in Cairo, Egypt from 11-17 December.

Congratulations to Dr Benedict Oramah, President and Chair of the Afrexim Bank, and all the organizers of #IATF2018 including my friend, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo (Chairman of the IATF Advisory Council) and other friends and colleagues at the African Union and Afrexim Bank who had the vision to bring this critical event together, with some 42 countries and 1,100 exhibitors at last count.

You can check out the action and join the #IATF2018 conversation and watch some of the sessions on Facebook:

As President Obasanjo said in his opening remarks:

__“It is our duty to create the environment where the entrepreneurial spirit of Africans can succeed. Stronger economies yield the rewards of better health, education, improved employment opportunities and prosperity for all.”

He went on to say that he wanted Africa’s future generations to have:

# greater expectations

# greater choices and

# greater opportunities to succeed…


In April I told you here about the historic signing of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and that the process of ratification had begun. I mentioned it was the beginning of Africa putting in place the building blocks of what will become the world’s biggest single market within 100 years…

Today the market is already nearly $3Tn and 1,2bn people. It will be over $100Tn by the turn of the century with 4bn+ consumers!

Will someone from the Senior Class please explain the business case for AfCFTA. I will give you a few hints I shared from my last post:

# More and better job opportunities.

# More cross-border trade with less red tape (such as at customs and ports).

# Better food security (through lower barriers to trade across the continent).

# More efficient regional supply chains (promoting investment, growth, and creation of jobs).

# Better prices and a wider variety of goods and services (from economies of scale).

# More independence (from aid and external borrowing), innovation, protection of intellectual property.

Entrepreneurs on this platform… What else do you see? The #IATF organizers will be reading your comments!

Now if you’re able to get to Cairo this weekend, please go, because you can see this is a hugely important event. I think there is still time for you to take part in the strategic discussions and agenda setting, as well as other workshops. Some sessions are also being live-streamed online if you register or go to Facebook link I gave earlier.

The idea of this first-ever event was to create opportunities for participants, including entrepreneurs like you and me to…

# Share trade, investment and market information; (there are several workshops, for example, on how to export).

# Discover trade opportunities…

# Connect with exporters and financiers!

# Conclude business deals… whether you are a buyer, seller, investor or represent a country!

# Showcase goods and services.

# Exchange business to business (B2B) trade and market information. (Good place to do homework!)

# Build networks across nations and business sectors to discuss new structures, including 4IR opportunities, continental supply and value chains… (and much more).

And this is not just about business as usual. It’s also about business unusual…

Tomorrow (Friday) my friend Didier Drogba will be speaking on “From Football Ace to Business Executive: Leveraging the brand equity of African stars.”

I hope I’ll be able to tune in, and that you will, too.

You can check out the programme here:


by 11 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.

11 thoughts on “How can Africa #Together grow the prosperity of our people and continent?

  1. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 1.

    One of our companies, Liquid Telecom, has one of the biggest exhibition booths at #IATF2018 in Cairo this week. If you are there, please check it out and let us know what you think! We are very very serious about a connected Africa where no one gets left behind.

    Let’s work #Together to build up this continent, whatever sector we’re in.

  2. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 2.

    Last month in Cape Town the Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) held its annual awards ceremony. A big shout out to the 40 women founders and entrepreneurs from across Africa: Angola, Ethiopian, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Wow!

    Winner: Nomso Faith Kana: Sun n Shield 84 Tech, South Africa
    Runners-up: Jane Kagiri: CreativeEdge Solutions, Kenya; Juliet Namujju: Kimuli Fashionability, Uganda

    Winner: Beth Koigi – Majik Water, Kenya
    Runners-up: Juliana Rotich – Brck.Org, Kenya; Benji Coetzee – Empty Trips, South AfricaSOCIAL

    Winner: Lorna Rutto – EcoPost, Kenya
    Runners-up: Essma Ben Hamida – Enda Inter-Arabe, Tunisia; Amina Slaoui – Groupe AMH, Morocco

    Winner: Bethlehem Tilahun-Alemu – SoleRebels, Ethiopia
    Runners-up: Sarah Collins – Wonderbag, South Africa; Renchia Droganis – Africology, South Africa

    Winner: Jane Maigua – Exotic EPZ Ltd, Kenya
    Runners-up: Jeanne Groenewald – Elgin Free Range Chickens, South Africa; Elorm Goh – Agrisolve, Ghana

    Winner: Kate Ekanem – Kate Tales Foundation, Nigeria
    Runners-up: Emma Dicks – CodeSpace, South Africa; Chiedza Daneek Nobuhle Kambasha – Hemmingworth Cartwright, Zimbabwe

    Winner: Nana Akua Oppong-Birmeh – Archxenus, Ghana
    Runners-up: Soraya Piedade – Soraya da Piedade Ltd, Angola; Winnifred Selby– Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative, Ghana

    Winner: Wendy Luhabe – Women Private Equity Fund, South Africa
    Runners-up: Margaret Hirsch – Hirsch’s Homestores, South Africa; Jennifer Riria– Echo Network Africa/Kenya Women Holding, Kenya

  3. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 4.

    Building Africa #Together includes #people from all sectors, including music, sport and the arts. The Nigerian musician and entrepreneur D’banj is just one of the #IATF2018 Goodwill Ambassadors, using talent and celebrity over the years to raise awareness about important continental and global issues. Just over a week ago he performed in Johannesburg at the Global Citizen Festival celebrating the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth which raised huge funds to support health and education programs across Africa.

    My friend Didier Drogba, another #IATF2018 Goodwill Ambassadors, will be speaking on Friday afternoon. Some of you may know that earlier this year, his foundation opened its first school in Côte d’Ivoire.

    This is how #Together we can each do our part to build Africa’s century! If you want to understand more about why intra-African trade is so important for Africa’s economic development, try to tune into some of the Intra-Africa Trade Fair sessions online.

  4. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    #Update on listing of Cassava Zimbabwe:
    Many of you have asked why the listing did not take place on Tuesday. This was due to a delay in one of the regulatory approvals. I’m pleased to advise that all regulatory approvals have now been granted, and the listing will take place next Tuesday.
    Every single person who held shares on closing date 22nd November [and still has them] will get FREE Cassava shares:
    The number of shares to be distributed will be more than 2bn shares. I think it will be the greatest Christmas gift for many, particularly pensioners!

  5. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Stella Aniemeka,

    Am interested in curbing agricultural produce waste by small scale farmers by introducing and encouraging them to adopt value addition. In Africa alone about 1.3 trillion tons of agricultural products go to waste every year and they are being thrown away by subsistence farmers due to a lot of unlimited factors, eg: no efficient transportation, high saturation of the same crop in the market, lack of cold storage facilities, selfish, extorting middlemen and most of all lack of effective agro processing companies. Onitsha anambra where I live (a little village actually) filled with plenty subsistence farmers get cheated with high losses than gains every harvest season, and the dumpster is always filled with plenty perishable fruits and vegetables they can’t sell because it’s too much in the market. I started talking to a lot of these farmers about what they think would be the solution to their problems and a lot replied with provision of the problems I identified, with these fire burning in my heart to help them cos I love farming with all my heart, I signed up for the total starter upper challenge, submitted my documents hoping to be selected but I was not, I still want to make a difference in the lives of these farmers, and I would love to work with you to bring not only a change but inspiration, love and motivation to these farmers.
    PS: my name is Stella, am 19, a fresher food and science student in the university of Nigeria Nsukka, from Nigeria and would be honoured to work with you sir, and this is my contribution to make Africa great again.

    My reply,
    You know Stella, this is not the language of an entrepreneur. All you have done is make political statements which you could easily make on the COMMENTS section of a national newspaper in your country.
    At 19 you should be thinking in terms of identifying solutions to a particular problem that you see in society. Even in a bad political environment, there are still opportunities for us to find solutions to problems which do not require politics.
    I recently met a young woman who had designed a special bag for storage of Cassava to ensure that it lasts longer. She was about your own age.
    I want to challenge you to focus on solutions to the problems that you see; you will surprise yourself with how much more fulfilling it will be in the end.

  6. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Moses Munzwembiri writes,

    The sad part is my country Zimbabwe is doing nothing to entrepreneurs, to register a business is still expansive ,to get tax nombure its a mountain to climb. I am happy to say South Africa doing great on helping entrepreneurs by creating a clear ground to work on .If you register a business in SA ,as little as R200 within 10 days ,you will get your pappers of registered company approved and your tax number ,from there you can open an account .I wish more countries can learn from them.

    My reply,
    Jeremiah the Prophet wrote:
    “If you have been wearied by the soldier who fighting you on foot, what will you do when the horseman arrives?”
    Moses, for you to succeed as an entrepreneur in Africa, this is not the type of challenge you would even bother to write about. Don’t be wearied by such small issues, rather prepare yourself for the bigger battles ahead.

  7. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Bao Zhong writes,

    Strive Masiyiwa Thanks so much for your enlightenment Dr. strive. We are so honored and thrilled to be of support in your vision of building africa’s digital future as we are a supplier of liquid from 2012.

    My reply,
    Xie Xie!

  8. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Kilama writes,

    Africa is a place for personal projects many people dream on behalf of their countries, such project’s are rather nations by nature and not individuals.
    I wish you would first start by making river Nile navigable. It would safe Uganda a lot of dues every citizen pays toward imports and exports. Uganda is not a land lock country. Leave the railway project and look into this foremost.

    My reply,
    This is not how entrepreneurs respond.
    You have made an [unhelpful] commentary. Why rail with such vitriol at someone else? If you think making the River Nile more navigable is the answer, then YOU go ahead and pursue that vision, and leave the other guy to pursue his own railway vision—there is room for both.
    Once you have a mindset that simply criticizes, at the end of your life, you will not have anything to show for it, other than statements criticizing others.
    BTW, if you want to navigate shipping from Uganda via the Nile, I suggest that you go and have a good look for yourself first. I know that river well.

  9. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Okafocha writes,

    Indeed a spiced up week for you sir. It’s amazing how you muster all the energy to meet them all up. Congratulations Dr. Strive Masiyiwa

    My reply,
    Thank you for those kind remarks. Sometimes it can really be quite challenging, as I’m nearly 60 years old.
    Last week I broke one of my teeth, and was in terrible pain. The doctors wanted to replace it with implants using surgical procedure over the weekend. Then I was told I must go to Egypt to sign the agreement. I travelled there in excruciating pain, and nearly fainted in the airport after signing as I headed back to London.
    But this is nothing, and it is not for sympathy that I write, but to remind you that we must be totally determined.

  10. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Mesa writes,

    I remember in Kenya, like 3 years ago, milk in the Rift Valley was flowing that even Our KCC (Kenya Cooperation Creamery )would not hold it, the milk was poured out when people in Northeastern dying from hunger. So, Value addition and directing it to place of need.

    My reply,
    Read my reflection on #Value Addition.

    The entrepreneurial mindset upon hearing that there is so much milk in the Rift Valley says to themselves:
    “Milk is a raw material for so many cool products. Let me research all the kinds of things I can do with milk.”
    Read about a Swiss Entrepreneur named Henri Nestlé. He started a business using milk produced in his village, and built what is today one of the largest companies in Europe:
    Nestle [worth almost size of SA, and Nigerian economy]—-there is money in milk!

    My challenge to Africa’s young entrepreneur is simple:
    What will you do with the copper?
    The oil?
    The diamonds?
    The platinum?
    Our countries will not realize their full potential economically, until we answer that question through our entrepreneurs.

    America produces more oil than Nigeria, or Saudi Arabia, but they export very little of it, because their entrepreneurs use it in products like this iPad, and your iPhone!

    It’s time to unleash our entrepreneurs on our raw material resources!


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