How “Smart” is your African city?

__Don’t be left behind!

Last week I attended the Transform Africa annual gathering in Kigali, Rwanda. The main topic was building Africa’s digital economy as more and more people move into Africa’s cities. Young entrepreneurs from every corner of the continent were there, including many of my friends from this platform, all buzzing with business ideas! This was really my kind of meeting!

We had five state presidents, four prime ministers, one vice president, ministers and many, many mayors from virtually every African country. The highlight for me was an impromptu session where I was invited to do a town hall meeting with entrepreneurs. I answered questions about all sorts of things and afterwards I did lots of “selfies”!

As our host, HE President Paul Kagame of Rwanda said, technology is changing the world very rapidly and if we get this right, Africa will emerge as one of the planet’s great centers of growth, innovation and opportunity in the generations ahead!

__#FastForwardAfrica. We can do this!

They expect at least 1.4 billion people will live in African cities by 2050. This means both challenges and opportunities! (Sound familiar?) Let’s be SMART. What do you think is the only real obstacle to success? (Hint: It’s not money, but it starts with an M)…

As an entrepreneur, how do you think Africa’s cities can leverage digital technologies? This is an extremely important topic if we want to build our continent in a “Smart” way, really leapfrogging into the future. Is your city a “Smart” one? Could it be “Smarter?” Let’s talk!

At the Transform Africa Summit, there was also an excellent exhibition where both local and international companies showcased their products and services for the digital economy. Maybe next year even more of you will be there. It was an amazing event!

We were so delighted when President Kagame visited our stand with all the heads of state and ministers. His Excellency made us so proud when he said he already has a Kwesé decoder in his house!



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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.

14 thoughts on “How “Smart” is your African city?

  1. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 1.
    Rwanda stands as one of the world’s top 20 fastest growing economies! (Yes, of 190 countries in the world and also, Africa’s top five.) If the African continent could consistently grow its economy at the rate of Rwanda (about 7%) do you know how big it will be in 25 years compared to other regions? (I will send you a Kwesé decoder, if you’re the first to get it right).

  2. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 2.
    The Transform Africa Summit 2017 also included ICT experts (innovators, investors etc), NGOs, digital “Smart” people, regulators, SMEs, academics, girls and women from STEM projects, as well as entrepreneurs and more. If you’re interested, check out:

  3. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 3.
    I’ll give a decoder to the first 25 people who tell me the correct number of dealers listed in their OWN country. Answers will be posted on Remember to state your country. Hint: GET KWESÉ… We’ll only run this contest for a few days, because over 100 new applications are being processed per day! Don’t be left out.

  4. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Luckyhorse writes,

    Waiting to see you in Uganda Sir,I hear that Rwanda is one of the Africa’s countries tried to fight against corruption, and Kigali their Capital is so clean!!!

    My reply,
    I will be in Uganda next week!
    I’m also visiting Kenya, and Ethiopia.
    I’m traveling with the new President of the Rockefeller Foundation where I have served as a board member for 14 years.
    We will be looking at various projects aimed at helping the most vulnerable people in our society.

  5. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Mourtalla writes,

    I will say something very special from Obama when he came out here in Africa , he said ,”” here I’ve met Africa , the Africa I’ve always believed . she’s beautiful , she’s young , full of talent , ambitions and motivation .”. I’ll say that Africa is on the move and a new Africa is emerging ,I agree.

    My reply,
    I too agree!

  6. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Charles writes,

    Next time don’t forget to list and visit our beautiful land Tanzania.

    My reply,
    I did want to visit Tanzania as well next week but unfortunately we could not make the schedule work with those we wanted to meet. So I will return later in the year.
    These visits always have tight schedules agreed months in advance, and it is difficult to deviate from the program and do other things as I would like.

  7. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Ntege writes,

    Where are you planning to speak to your students and interprenuers from; date, place , and time. (In Uganda)

    My reply,
    Unfortunately not on this trip as the program is already fixed with the government. I will see some farmers hopefully.

  8. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Daniel writes,

    Hello Dr Strive. I’m one of your ardent followers in Nigeria. I’m interested in being a dealer/distributor of Kwese TV decoders. And my interest is in covering d entire south south region of Nigeria. Pls I’d like to knw what it requires for me 2 have such franchise. Pls inbox me with details on how 2 access u for a one on one chat. thanks

    My reply,
    The details of how one applies to be a dealer (for any country in Africa) are found on the Kwese website. You need to hurry because this opportunity will not be there forever.
    I’m not involved in the recruitment process, but I was keen to ensure that some of this platform get a chance, that is why I mentioned it.


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