Learn to use the law to protect you and your business (Part 2)

__Case study: a “legalpreneur” for SMEs…

Every once in a while, I read a comment and I think it should become a post. Today is one of those days. This is not because I want to promote anyone’s specific business but because you can all learn from each other how to stand out amongst a crowd of entrepreneurs on this platform and beyond, and also be inspired.

Congratulations to Mrs Barinaada Bema Alexander in Lagos, Nigeria for your legal entrepreneurship venture focused on start-ups and SMEs. We have never met nor spoken before, and I don’t know (yet) from direct experience if you are a good lawyer… but to all of you on this platform: What parts of her “pitch” comment earlier this week do you think caught my eye?

“Dear Sir, #StriveMasiyiwa I am a young lawyer with 5 years post call experience from Nigeria.

‪After my law school I was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2015, I did a mandatory Youth service in the law office of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria for one year. Few months after the service I was absorbed in a shipping agency where I worked as it’s Company Secretary/Legal Adviser. I was there for about 5 months before I tendered my resignation when the working condition became unbearable.

‪In Nigeria and perhaps other developing countries, SMEs are a major player in promoting National Economic Growth and to a large extent they help in reducing unemployment

‪I realised early on that one of the major problems faced by many SMEs (small and medium enterprises) is lack of access to legal Service.

‪I realised that they are a vulnerable set of people with special legal need and attention than what the traditional law firm can offer.

‪I realised also that there are no dedicated law firms that are SME focused.

‪Knowing all of this, and understanding the peculiarities of small business owners I decided to set up a specialised SME inclined law firm called Barinaada Legal that caters for the legal needs of SMEs.

‪The primary aim for establishing and registering Barinaada Legal is to provide SMEs with legal support and act as their legal bodyguard so that they can channel their energy, efforts and resources into growing their businesses.

‪I have a community on Facebook called Law and Business Community where on a regular basis, I dish out legal content that I know will help small business owners to thrive.

‪I am also the Convener of the legal round table which is a quarterly physical meet up where entrepreneurs can gain legal clarity about their business as well as network with other entrepreneurs.

‪My Facebook Timeline and Instagram page is a virtual law firm for anyone who wants legal clarity about business. Every Tuesday is free legal consultation where SMEs can book a free session with me.

‪The vision for Barinaada Legal is to be the go-to Law firm for SME related legal issues not just in Nigeria but across Africa as a whole and so we are open to partnerships and collaborations that will make this vision a reality.

‪As a young lawyer this is how I am contributing my quota to the growth of SMEs in Nigeria.

‪Thank you Sir, for all you do for SMEs.”

Well done to this “legalpreneur” for identifying a need and launching a business to reach out and address it.

I wonder who among you knows that SMEs create about 80% of new jobs in emerging economies? That’s a big potential market for some of you. SMEs are huge drivers of innovation and economic development…

And, of course, we nearly all start out as SMEs!

__So why is it that young entrepreneurs and small business operators in general do not seem to have enough access to quality lawyers and legal services? Why do so many not know their rights, or how to protect them?

Do you have good knowledge of the law, including basic contract law, labour law and other national laws and regulations that affect your business? If yes, how did you learn? Let us know. Where are the gaps?

Personally, I would love to see courses on commercial law, financial literacy and entrepreneurship, starting in high (secondary) schools. Within just a few years, a new generation of entrepreneurs would start to emerge, equipped with skills, knowledge and #mindset to launch the next Amazons of this world…

What are you waiting for? And if you’re not waiting, great! What are you up to? Share your inspiring news, if you’re ready.

To be continued. . .

by 49 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.

49 thoughts on “Learn to use the law to protect you and your business (Part 2)

  1. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 2.

    “When we invest in women and girls,” said Melinda Gates, “we are investing in the people who are investing in everyone else…” Our NGOs and civil society need to think in terms of #LegalAidForWomenEntrepreneurs as one of the new frontiers of human rights in Africa. So many women across the African continent are entrepreneurs, yet few have legal protections or local organizations to assist them, especially SMEs. Are there other women lawyers or “legalpreneurs” on this platform? What services are available in your community and where are there gaps to fill?

    Reply
  2. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    #Reflection:

    “Should I be looking into the business of the the law?” I keep wondering to myself:
    I think I could make a tonne of money from such a big need!
    “If you want to be successful look at the needs, and then reach out to solve them…”
    There has to be a lot of money in this game, given that there is such a need!

    If I can find a way to digitize legal services, perhaps I can make it cheaper for entrepreneurs….
    The entrepreneur in me tells there is a gold mine in this!
    What do you think?
    Have I got you thinking?
    Are there any entrepreneurs out there doing something cool and disruptive, maybe in India, Brazil, China, Kenya?
    Tell me please!

    Reply
  3. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    #Reflection:
    I was once approached by some [social] entrepreneurs in South Africa, who were developing a digital platform to publish every legal hearing, and judgement in their country!
    I wonder if they did?
    Imagine if every single court filing in your country, and all the rulings were digitized:
    This is already possible in many countries.
    Imagine the impact on transparency.
    We need entrepreneurship from lawyers in Africa.
    If our lawyers use more technology, it would be fantastic.

    Reply
  4. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Veridique writes,

    Sir, your inspiration is awe. I just want to tell you that I am through with business grad (MBA). 2018 was a good year as we got our porridge certified by the Congolese bureau of Standard and managed to reach over 500 malnourished children. In January last year, I started a Tour Operating Business which aligns with the view to harness the African touristic potential, our business model is inclusive as we are investing 15% of our profits in Nutrition specific areas focused on the communities surrounding national parks, the idea is to attain sustainability by having the venture in tourism support our nonprofit, Action of the future.
    This is exciting to me, I look forward to your further mentoring and support for me as a gogettaz.

    Happy new year sir Strive Masiyiwa

    Veridique
    Congo DRC
    http://www.actionofthefutre.org

    My reply,
    It has been a while since I heard from you!
    What a joy to hear of your progress.

    Your country is very much in my prayers.

    Reply
  5. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Arome Adejoh Yusuf writes,

    Thanks to this brave lawyer. Sometimes its the legal fees that scares SMEs away; many can not afford to pay that 10% initially, better deals like these are wonderful….. Tax cuts, tax exceptions….etc; if you don’t know what’s up the guys at the tax office won’t complain when you pay more than is required. As of today, certain businesses are not required to pay income tax other than to collect VAT for up to 2.5 years……but if you don’t know…well!

    My reply,
    Here is how I see it:
    “If you buy something for $100, and you know you can sell it for $500, would you be “scared” about how much you paid for it in the first place?”
    The answer is NO!
    Not when you are making $400!

    When you learn to use the law properly in your business, it will be like buying something for $100, and being able to sell it for $10,000!

    Reply
  6. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    #Reflection:

    When Econet was very small, I was approached by a big operator that wanted to buy a stake in the business. Their CEO invited me to travel and see him. He was an American guy but the business was not American.

    I told him I could only proceed with negotiations if they were willing to pay for me to hire a lawyer of my choice, to enable me to negotiate with their lawyers:
    “You are not kidding?” he asked, totally shocked.
    “No, sir. I’m not going to negotiate against all these high powered lawyers, without a high powered lawyer of my own. It’s not fair, and I can’t afford it.”
    He looked at me long and hard, then he reached out and shook my hand to the surprise of all his people.
    “You are right, I will pay for your lawyer, even if the deal does not happen. You are the kind of person I want to work with.”

    I approached a lawyer in New York, who handled my negotiations.
    The deal did not happen, but the big operator still paid my lawyers’ fees.

    Years later, that American CEO, long after he had left the company heard that I was around and asked to see me:
    “I was stunned by what you asked for that day. I also knew at that moment that I had just met someone who would not be a pushover. I respect you a lot.” We remain friends to this day, even though we never did business.

    Reply
  7. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    #Reflection:

    “Econet shall have the right to move telecoms traffic WITHIN, INTO, AND FROM Zimbabwe”:
    This was the order given by Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court:
    “Within”…meant we could operate our mobile network.
    “Into and from Zimbabwe”…meant we could operate our own international telecoms gateway. This allowed us to become the first telecoms operator in Africa, to operate its own International Gateway. We created a new industry, as other operators followed what we had done.

    That ORDER OF THE COURT, was “our prayer to the court” [as it is called].
    It was drafted for me by one of the leading telecoms lawyers in the world!
    Her name is Dr Judith O’Neil, and she came from the United States.
    The legal strategy was put in place by a young Zimbabwean lawyer called Tawanda Nyambirai. He is probably the best legal mind I have met anywhere, when it comes to strategy.

    The case was argued by Mr Wim Trengove from South Africa. He was recommended to me by Sir Sidney Kentridge QC.

    #That is what we call “great lawyers”.

    In each case my task as the leader was to find the best advice I could get from anywhere in the world.
    “Wisdom is found in the multitude of counselors”.

    A good leader is never afraid to give credit, and #ShoutOut to those who helped them achieve something.

    Reply
  8. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    #Reflection:
    In 2001 a dispute broke out between us and our partners in Nigeria.
    After some interventions by some powerful people, it was agreed that we would negotiate a settlement.

    I chose a young lawyer in my team to handle the negotiations. The other side put together a team of their best lawyers, and he went to see them alone.
    Our opponents were surprised that I had sent this “kid”!
    I sat in my hotel room, and he would come to confer on issues.

    They met all day, and at the end of the day they brought a “Settlement Agreement”, which all the parties signed.

    Two years later another dispute erupted, and this time the matter went to court, and remained in litigation for nearly 10 years.
    An international arbitration panel appointed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria’s Federal High Court, finally resolved it. The judges were majority Nigerian.

    The key agreement in the dispute was the original settlement agreement.
    It was totally unbreakable!

    The young lawyer [the “kid”] who handled our negotiations that the other side had totally underestimated was Nic Rudnick, now CEO of Liquid Telecom!

    Reply
  9. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Ikechukwu Olunkwa writes,

    Congrats to Strive Masiyiwa and followers. You all has made Strive’s Page Facebook most engaging Page. Strive thanks for your MBA post.
    34 post from Strive made it to top 500 post. Top Engagements from Strive: 63,142,841

    Waoh!

    https://buzzsumo.com/blog/facebook-engagement-guide/

    My reply,
    I had not seen this!
    Thank you for the kind remarks.
    What can I say?
    “We give glory to God. And I thank Him for you guys on this platform.”

    The other day I was working in my lounge at home in London, when a tradesman came in to fix my doors. He was a white British guy:
    “Mr Masiyiwa I follow you on Facebook. I’m an entrepreneur working for myself. I loved the Post on Rwanda when you went to name the Gorillas! The lessons you teach and share are applicable to all entrepreneurs. Please keep doing it.”

    Reply
  10. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Caius Ugochukwu writes,

    Sir can you recommend your 10 books for entrepreneur, business and startups? I’d highly appreciate it from you. Am your big fan

    My reply,
    There are so many great books on “entrepreneurs, business and Start Ups”:
    I would not even know where to start. Reading is my favorite personal habit. These days I also like to listen to Podcasts and eBooks. It helps me get through a lot of new books.
    This week I listened to a Podcast of an interview of the founder of AirBNB for instance. It was just amazing. I loved the story because it is so ingenious.
    I’m currently reading a book by a young American couple who set up a restaurant in Rwanda:
    “A Thousand Hills to Heaven”. Josh Ruxin.
    I went there for lunch and his wife Alissa took me for a tour of their boutique hotel. If you are ever in Kigali, I suggest you stay there!

    Reply
  11. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Sparrow Du Lake writes,

    Its a good thing to be associated with you chief, your inspirational words made me discover the entrepreneur in me and today Ahia Jara an organic skin and haircare line that produces its own cosmetics is born with sales outlet of 80% online and 20% in market and it is technologically driven with a staff strength of 10 and poise to be the best in its industry and as you continue to feed us(your children here) with your endless wealth of experience and wisdom may God continue to increase you in all leaps and bounds. Amen.

    My reply,
    This is so exciting. You know I’m highly connected in this industry?
    I serve on the board of one of the biggest [and greatest—in my view ] Personal Care companies in the world, Unilever.
    The founder of the most successful US based Skin Care brand for African American women, Sundail, Richleau Dennis, was born in Liberia. He called me a few days ago to wish me happy new year.
    I think I can get him to invite you to see their operations. He also owns Essence Magazine [I know you ladies out there know this amazing publication for black women]

    You would have to pay your own way, and you don’t have to rush. Where are you based?

    Reply
  12. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    #ShoutOut!

    “A Thousand Hills To Heaven” by Josh Ruxin.

    When I was in Kigali [for two days] over the Christmas holiday with my family. I asked my friend the famous Dr Donald Kaberuka to take me to a cool restaurant. He suggested we try a place called “Heaven” . It is a restaurant with a small boutique hotel. Having been in the industry before I asked for a tour. The owner offered to take us around. Her husband joined us and gave me his book.
    Please read it, and of course, if you are in Kigali visit them and also stay there!

    Reply
  13. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Austin Writes,

    Strive Masiyiwa breaking news:

    Chief is on the 8th position of the richest guys in Africa. Check the new list from Forbes:https://www.forbes.com/africa-billionaires/list/#tab:overall

    My reply,
    Thank you Austin for this ShoutOut!
    As they say so eloquently in Nigeria:
    “We give glory to God”.
    Success for me is to one day see some young woman [or man] who can say I helped inspire them whilst they were on their way to that list. I won’t get you on that list, but I hope to just give you a little push, here and there.
    God bless you all.

    Reply
  14. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    #Pause:

    Foundational Truth:
    In the story of Adam and Eve, God asked Adam a simple question:
    “Who told you?”
    Adam had heard, and accepted something which was not true.
    It is a foundational truth in the practice of law, particularly if you are facing trial in court:
    “Who told you?” Means, is the person who told you, a creditable witness, is it someone known to be a liar, or someone who has an ulterior motive?
    In court:
    #”who told you?”
    Is not established until two or more [credible] witnesses to an accusation are found.

    If I see, hear, or read something, I want to know #”who told you?”

    I never want to find myself in the situation of Adam and Eve in which I’m “deceived” by anyone:
    Once I know that the source of something is not a credible person, and that there is no credible witness, I will never pass it onto another person or even mention it, because then I become the source of a lie or slander.

    Reply
  15. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Blessing Machiya Shumbakadzi writes,

    Lawyers and the law are very intimidating for most people because the courtroom language is hard to understand and when we hear about law its mostly when there are lawsuits involved! This article is enlightening as it shows lawyers as just people who are equipped to help those facing any legal challenges! Platforms like the one featured today will go a long way into breaking down law into simpler terms and making it accessible to many.

    My reply,
    99% of the activities of lawyers in the business world have nothing to do with courts, or even disputes.
    Lawyers are important business advisors just like accountants.

    Reply
  16. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    #Message to our Zimbabwean, DRC, and Sudan
    members of the platform:

    This morning I was informed that the authorities in Zimbabwe have directed that all Internet services be shut down.
    As it was a written directive issued in terms of the law,
    non-compliance would result in immediate imprisonment of management on the ground.

    Last week we were issued with a similar order in the Democratic Republic of Congo [DRC].

    We complied as directed.

    Whenever such directives are issued, management call in the legal teams, and review them in terms of the law.

    #I’m fasting and praying for Zimbabwe, DRC, and Sudan today…

    We have staff in all these countries, and we love our customers.

    Please, please, stay safe.

    Reply
  17. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Jordan Mashaka writes,

    There is another South African entity that is doing exactly the same thing. They are styled as SAFLII.

    When i was doing my LL.B in Tanzania, this platform was a great help to me. It contains hundreds of Tanzanian judgments and rullings and yet it is not Tanzanian owned.

    It also contains judgments and rulings from other SADEC countries too. It helps to make free access to legal materials a reality.

    Today i am a practising junior advocate, but still in several occassions i have been relying on this platform as one of my key sources in legal research.

    What if i could emulate their model in my own way? How far can i go with the project?

    A big shout out to all guys at SAFLII. You have been of help to me for years.

    http://www.saflii.org

    My reply,
    Actually these are the people I heard about.
    This is such s great initiative.
    We also need initiatives that focus just on business cases.
    I love reading Court judgements, even as a Past Time.

    Reply
  18. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Aero Ncube writes,

    Strive Masiyiwa you are cheating your own don’t boast about your stolen billions while the rest of the Zim people are suffering to make it worse you have blocked internet access for them , pathetic let them endure what they have paid for mxm

    My reply,
    Don’t allow hatred to rob you of your capacity to reason, my dear brother.
    Why would I sitting here in London, order that your Internet be blocked?

    I’m embarrassed for you, but I forgive you.

    Reply
  19. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Tom-Chris Angel Emewulu writes,

    Thanks for all the efforts you put into lifting many young Africans with you, Dr #StriveMasiyiwa! Incredible things has happened and continues to happen on this page. I for one, if you remember our conversation from the motor ride 2 years ago, I’m one of the beneficiaries of your benevolent wisdom. Recall how I told you that after reading your post on how every company must be a technology company, my company, SFAN came up with the https://www.sfanonline.org/readyforwork/ initiative to unlock the potentials of young people. Well, Sir, I’m glad to inform you that the pilot started last year, September, and some of our pilot students already have jobs of their own with some setting up their businesses as I write this. Last week, a corresponded from Deutsche Welle passed through a special class we held from the pilot participants and here is his report (start listening from the ***20th minute): https://DW.com/en/africalink-on-air-10-january-2019/av-47031326 Later this year, we shall be having an Africa-wide entrepreneurship event and we shall launch the Readyforwork Talent Accelerator, the first personalized education company in this side of the world! I’m thankful for your work and the role you play in Africa. Indeed, this is how we rise – thank you and God bless you!

    My reply,
    This is excellent!
    Well done.
    Next week I will be launching an amazing initiative and this has inspired me also.
    Please be sure to follow closely.
    We will do s separate post later this week.

    Reply
  20. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    #Pause:

    Most lawyers working in a city like London or New York may never enter a court room in their lives.
    Don’t look at lawyers and their role in a narrow way:
    In business most lawyers are not involved in issues of disputes or fighting with others.
    Lawyers are advisors to ensure that you run your business effectively. They also help you to take advantage of opportunities in a systematic way.

    Reply
  21. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Rabecca Webo writes,

    Access to finace is an issue by now senior members of this class should know is not that difficult to handle. Thanks to you I have a list of more than 30 venture capital funds in Kenya who we will be approaching soon (we already know the good guys and the bad guys!)…We have looked at the requirements to list at the Nairobi Stock exchange and when we are ready we will list soon…Were it not for you we would be thinking the old school way of begging a bank to finace us (very costly)…Thanks for the Good work may you live long eneough to see us list and buy our shares …#eagle in the storm

    My reply,
    Wow, Rebecca!
    There is something about Kenya that really excites me at times!
    I always get this sense that Kenya is on the verge of an extraordinary breakthrough as a nation…
    Yes there are problems there like any country, but Kenya has so much going for it from an entrepreneurship perspective.

    One of the things I like about Kenya is the fact that I can openly visit President Kenyatta, Deputy President Ruto, and Hon Railla Odinga and they are able to appreciate that I’m just a businessman. They do not make railing accusations simply because I spoke to someone. They all like to get my views on business issues. It is so refreshing, and I’m not the only one who says that.
    Keep it up!

    Reply
  22. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    #Pause:

    When it comes to #Finance for entrepreneurs, in Africa:
    There are three huge elephants!

    #1. Access to finance: This is the subject we all want to talk about most of the time. But actually it is the easiest to solve.
    #2. Cost of Finance:
    The cost of finance for entrepreneurs in Africa is the highest in the world!

    Most entrepreneurs in Africa fail because of the prohibitive cost of finance to start and finance the operations. They often forced to either charge high prices or they go out of business altogether.
    This is not a problem of banks but a policy matter [what we call fiscal policy].

    #3. Foreign exchange:
    Many African countries have foreign exchange problems. It is a remarkably simple problem to solve!

    Every week I sit down to write something on the two issues I have never discussed:
    #Cost of finance for entrepreneurs,
    #Availability of Foreign Exchange for entrepreneurs to buy machinery and raw materials…

    Always I stop…

    This is why I coined the phrase:
    “We fight in the conditions and not the conditions…”
    More accurately:
    “[In some countries] we African entrepreneurs fight in the [bad policy] conditions and not against [the bad policy] conditions.”

    Reply
  23. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Runyararo Mherekumombe writes, (edited)

    What statute would be used in the case of Zimbabwe to effect this directive?

    My reply,
    # It is called The Interception of Communications Act Cap 11:20

    Section 6(2) (a).

    If the CEO of Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, Mr Douglas Mboweni had refused to carry out the directive this is what section 6 (2), says:

    (2) A service provider who fails to give assistance in terms of this section shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level twelve or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three years or to both such fine and such imprisonment.

    This is a direct quote from that Act of Parliament.
    It came into effect in August 2007.
    It could easily have been repealed during the GNU as the opposition had majority legislators.
    I’m sure you will agree that it is extremely unfair to blame Econet executives and engineers in Zimbabwe for something over which they have no control, and which threatens them with imprisonment should they resist.

    Reply
  24. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Zewelanji Sk writes,

    Strive Masiyiwa sir please ignore and block such.They dilute the decorum and seriousness of this platform.Its like that noisy guy in class trying to distract others during calculus.We have never been this way and we need our teacher as his very best as we also pray for you and make supplication on your behalf

    My reply,
    Sometimes it is helpful to reply, if not to the person who has written but for the benefit of others.

    All service providers in Zimbabwe were issued with the government directive to shut down services. The directive issued in writing, is issued in terms of a law passed by the Parliament of Zimbabwe [which had legislators from all parties], called the Interception of Communications Act.
    Econet strenuously opposed it as it went through the process, but it is now law.

    Once an order is issued under the Act, then management of any Internet Service Provider including all mobile operators must comply.

    I cannot order our staff in Zimbabwe to ignore a lawful order, because they will be arrested.

    Citizens can challenge a law they consider unlawful by approaching the Constitutional Court. This can take up to five years (as I discovered), but you would have to comply until such time as a court ruled to remove such a law.

    Remember what I taught in Part 1 of this series:
    #Act Lawfully at all times.

    Now as for those who do not want to follow the decorum of our platform, they will soon learn, if only to avoid being seen as unreasonable by their peers.

    Reply
  25. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Breaking News: Zimbabwe.
    Here is a statement issued by Econet Wireless Zimbabwe on the suspension of Internet services, to all their customers in Zimbabwe.

    “Further to a written warrant issued by the Minister of State in the Office of the President and Cabinet, through the Director General Of The President’s Dept. responsible for National Security, acting in terms of Section 6, of the Interception of Communications Act, Internet Services and related applications such as WhatsApp, Twitter etc., are currently suspended across all telecommunications networks, and Internet Service Providers.
    As an organization we are obliged to act when directed to do so in terms of the law.
    All inconvenience caused as a result of this action is sincerely regretted. We urge others to respect that this is a matter beyond our control.”

    Failure to comply would result in 3 years imprisonment for members of local management in terms of section 6:2 (b)

    “(2) A service provider who fails to give assistance in terms of this section shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level twelve or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three years or to both such fine and such imprisonment.”

    Please share this with anyone who raises this issue.
    Appreciated.

    Reply
  26. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Breaking News: Kenya

    “Suspected militants have attacked a luxury hotel complex in Nairobi, killing a number of people.
    Gunfire and blasts were heard at the compound in the Westlands district of the Kenyan capital, which houses the DusitD2 hotel as well as offices.
    The Somalia-based militant group al-Shabab said it was behind the attack but gave no details.
    People – some with bullet wounds and covered in blood – were escorted out of the building by heavily armed police.”
    BBC.

    #deeply saddened by this development.
    Let us continue to pray without ceasing, for Kenya and other Nations in Africa, including Zimbabwe, DRC, Sudan and Cameroon.

    Reply
  27. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Charles writes,

    You have got power and influence Sir, you can do more in this situation.

    My reply,
    Now you know that I have no “power and influence in Zimbabwe”.
    If I had power and influence in Zimbabwe this would not have happened.
    If I had power and influence this law would not exist.
    If I had power and influence I would not have been forced to live in exile for 19 years.
    I have not met anyone who has power and influence in Zimbabwe for 25 years.
    I’m not a member of any political party in Zimbabwe. I last voted in 1985.
    The Internet in Zimbabwe was not shut down by the operators but by the government. They have the power to not only order it to be switched off but also to physically switch it off themselves.
    I’m as unhappy about it as anyone else.

    Strive Masiyiwa

    Reply
  28. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Charles Tafadzwa Chananda,

    If you were one of our technicians, and I asked you from the safety of London or Johannesburg to defy the authorities at your own personal risk, would you do it?
    Would you tell soldiers and security agents to stand aside?!

    I have no power to do it, my brother.
    Let’s not direct our anger and frustration at the wrong people.
    You and I sitting outside the country cannot do anything.

    Reply
  29. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Tendai Choto writes,

    Strive Masiyiwa Sir, what happened to the little clause in the Constitution upon which Econet won its Case several years ago that says “every person has a right to communicate freely or without hindrance from the Government “?
    What happens when the Gvt of the day take away People’s Rights?
    I don’t want to sound Political and you know I will never bring about Political issues on this Platform.

    I have a lot of questions Sir. My heart bleeds for Zimbabwe. When I left a few days ago, I never thought I’d wake up to hear how the situation back home has become a war zone. I am praying for my family and every Zimbabwean affected right now.

    My reply,
    When this law was passed in 2007, it was one of the reasons I fought so hard to help the opposition in 2008. Morgan lived in my house and we travelled together across Africa to drum the support that led to formation of the GNU. I wanted this law repealed because I knew that if it was ever used this is what would happen. The opportunity to repeal was during the GNU because there were more opposition members of parliament. It did not happen. I don’t blame them.
    There is no point in debating that now.

    There are a lot of laws on the statutes of Zimbabwe that have to go.
    We all know that.
    The process of overturning a law in the Constitutional Court is long and laborious. It will not bring back Internet tomorrow.

    Reply
  30. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    BREAKING NEWS: ZIMBABWE!

    I have just been advised that a revised directive has been received, allowing partial restoration of services:
    I have seen a copy.

    Internet will be fully restored but not Social Media. We await further directives on Social Media restoration.
    I once again urge authorities to restore all services.

    I urge protestors to exercise their freedom of expression peacefully.

    It will take a few hours for Internet Service to be restored and stabilized.

    I would like to thank our management on the ground for their efforts in their engagements with government since this crisis began.

    Please continue to push until all services are back up.

    You guys put your own safety and security on the line, and kept cool heads. We appreciate you.
    I also thank the Call Center Operators for their extraordinary patience particularly when they faced abuse.

    Zimbabweans know how tough it is and I know they appreciate that it was and remains outside our control.

    We thank our customers, particularly those who fully understand how hard this is under the circumstances, and have been supporting us.

    #Stay safe, and let’s all exercise restraint.

    God bless you.

    Reply
  31. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Bashir Bala writes,

    My name is Bashir Bala, I am the CEO of Excel Integrated Farms Katsina. Our vision is to establish an organic poultry farm (specifically broiler and local chicken). We identify the overuse of antibiotics growth promoters (AGP) in chicken which affects the consumer health and the environment. We use herbs and other natural spices instead of AGP to promote growing conditions of the chicks. We have taken in new clients especially housewives and our business is growing since we start 6 months ago.

    We face problem of feed cost which constitute over 65% of the cost but we are trying to curb that by using cassava peel as an alternative to produce the feed.

    Thanks Sir for your inspiration, what you’re building here will outlive generations.

    My reply,
    This is a very inspiring story.
    I have been trying to promote entrepreneurship in Poultry as part of my ReImagineRural Initiative!
    There is lot of interest in this, and next week in Davos we are announcing some really exciting initiatives.
    There is a massive shortage of chickens in Africa, particularly there in West Africa.
    I hope others will see the opportunity you present in supplying feed for chickens.

    Reply
  32. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Tinashe Dambaza writes,

    I have a business idea and I am going to see executives at a certain incubation hub. They said they are going to offer everything including potential partners and mentors as well as writing my business plan and Product Specifications Document. But i told them my business plan will do alone,and have also found a guy who i knew from college to be my lawyer and first partner. So when we go to see them i will be having my business plan with my own strategy as well as a lawyer who has my interests at heart.

    My reply,
    A few weeks ago I shared some information about the work Liquid Telecom is doing in Tech Incubators.
    It is so important the LegalPreneurs, and FinancePreneurs, also imbed themselves in these hubs.
    We have our own hub called Muzinda Hub.

    Reply
  33. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afolayan writes,

    Dear Mr strive… am a young entrepreneur, founder and Chief Executive officer of EcoSolutions Company Limited, a Waste Management company a small waste management company in Ghana, due to our strength in terms of logistics and equipment we can’t approach Government for a franchise contract agreement… instead we go to a big contractor for Sub-Contract to work in the service area where they can’t access with their bigger trucks and can’t cover….
    Currently sir, we have an existing sub-contract with one of the top waste management company within The metropolis(Okai koi south sub metro) signed by both parties in October 2018..towards the ending of 2018 they proposed giving us the whole contract as an Operator and pay them royalty..the new agreement was not signed yet but we were told to commence operation on 2nd of January..after one week of successful operation in all of the service area and lots of investments and innovative ideas. I was called one day by the operation manager that the executive chairman of the company said our company should stop operation and the head office to take over….as an under 30 CEO.. am really confused because it was on the claim that we haven’t signed the new agreement but the old still there… I need advice from the house here….

    My reply,
    Unilever have a home care product called “Dirt is Good”; I also think that “Waste is Good”—Great business to be in; you will be a billionaire one day!

    Now about your problem:
    Learn the right lesson here. This is what happens when you work without the assistance of a lawyer.
    I don’t know the details here, but either you don’t have a lawyer or you have a bad one!

    You need to approach a good lawyer.

    Reply
  34. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    BREAKING NEWS:ZIMBABWE!

    I HAVE JUST BEEN ADVISED THAT THE GOVERNMENT OF ZIMBABWE HAS ONCE AGAIN SHUT DOWN INTERNET SERVICES. ALL OPERATORS IN THE COUNTRY WERE INSTRUCTED TO SHUT DOWN ALL SERVICES BY 10PM.

    #Sad

    Reply
  35. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Rachael and Austin,
    Thank you so much to you and others for helping me to answer some of our colleagues.
    As I try to deal with this crisis, affecting the whole nation, I really appreciate those who are engaging some of our detractors.
    My mother taught me a long time ago, that if a relative knocks on your door in the middle of the night, saying they are being chased by someone trying to kill them; you don’t first say them things like:
    “Tell me how this all started?!”
    “Who is to blame?!”
    “Is that person not your friend?!”
    “Did I not tell you not to go out at night?!”

    There will be a lot of time later to apportion blame, or to analyze. For now let’s deal with the problem!
    The Internet in a country does not just support social media platforms, even the banking services, shops need Internet based systems. Medical machinery, and other related services.

    Reply
  36. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    #Reflection:

    When I was chairman of Associated Newspapers Zimbabwe, which operated the only independent daily newspaper in the country, The Daily News, the Minister responsible for media at the time issued an order that required us to be licensed.
    That order in the view of our lawyers was a clear violation of our Constitutional rights as a newspaper.
    I instructed our people to ignore the order and go to court. The court refused to entertain our application because they said we had “dirty hands”:
    Under Zimbabwe’s Administrative laws,
    you must comply before you complain!

    That is what our courts upheld, and I was the person who was at the center of that particular judgment.

    When we went back to apply for a license we were told we had missed the deadline. The Daily News was then shut down, putting hundreds of people out of work. Not that it matters but I lost my entire investment.

    Please share this story with others, when you hear them say that our people should have refused the Orders from the Security Authorities to shut down the Internet.

    We should not allow anger and frustration to take focus on the wrong.

    This is a sad, sad situation for all of us.
    We will get through this.

    Reply
  37. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Maobi writes,

    This is deep to believe that Zimbabwe could be so blind of a great generation changer of this time, what baffled me most is your unequivocal decision not to join them by all means,if I could behold ur personality I will truly look like the christ, am challenged to do more everyday I read your posts, sir we need you at this part of the world,i believe we can reach you to speak at an ECONOMIC SUMMIT coming up on October 9th and 10th at ABA CITY OF Abia state,This is African project,we will achieve great mentor,we follow you as you lead,AFRICA_WILL_RISE.

    My reply,
    Thank you for those kind remarks.
    I have never been to Abia State in Nigeria!
    I wish I could come but unfortunately I already have that date blocked out in my diary.
    Keep inviting me, because one day I will surprise you!

    Reply
  38. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Rachael writes,

    Strive masiyiwa..Thanks for standing with us..A time like this.we feel the love extended

    My reply,
    Please ask someone to give you a link to the speech I gave at the Kenya Prayer breakfast a few years ago, on “The Good Samaritan”.
    I love Kenya.

    Reply
  39. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Claver writes,

    Hello Mr Strive Masiyiwa, how can I meet you as young belgo-burundian, I’ve some dreams that I want to realize. Pls inbox.

    My reply,
    You have just met me.
    However my first advice, now that we have met, is focus on #substance and not #form in life:
    In substance you will get me from reading and studying what I have written here, than sitting and sharing with me your dreams.
    Entrepreneurs don’t like to sit and listen to dreamers. Develop your dreams into a business idea, and turn that business idea into a Start Up, then pitch to investors.
    Well come to our class.
    You will prosper here.

    Reply
  40. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Bassey Bright writes,

    I know God answers prayers, HE would answer us on this. Peace must prevail. My heart is with Zim. Every African is important! Thank you Jesus!

    My reply,
    Yes He does!
    We shall yet see His deliverance.
    I have been up for most of the night, and I have been praying.
    All that I ever had or achieved in life came by prayer. I know nothing more powerful than prayer. And so I pray.

    Reply
  41. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Ibrahim Wasiu writes,

    Thanks Dr. for inspiring us, the African youths. This is how we’re changing the narratives of farmers in Nigeria. We started by interacting with the farmers, understanding what challenges they face and after much deliberations, we now have a social enterprise which will help them reduce their post harvest loss. The how: We help them sell directly to markets, create processing plants with which we create more off-farm jobs. we lease the processing plants to them on a PAYG model (they pay with money or equivalent value of processed harvest) and then we’ve created a partnership with research institutes to transfer standard farming and processing skills to them and with this we’re on a mission to change farmers’ narratives, one after the other.

    My reply,
    This is really impressive!
    Next week I’m launching something really exciting in Davos which is aimed at people like you.
    Meanwhile I’m sending your note to our people at AGRA, so they can learn more from you. They might even show you how to apply for funding for such an initiative.
    Well done!

    Reply
  42. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Julius Muzenda writes,

    Dear Dr Strive Masiyiwa Thank you for making this clear. I can now notice many people hate you in Zimbabwe because you said sanctions must go!! Some of the words i can’t repeat them.

    This pierces my heart to the maximum because I really know you love Zimbabwe and it’s citizens you love Africa.

    May the Almighty God continue to bless you and protect you and your family

    I just think these scriptures

    , save in his own country, and in his own house. Luke 4:24 And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country.

    My reply,
    They say in Shona, “don’t burn down the house in order to remove a snake”. The “snake” of injustice and intolerance cannot be removed by US sanctions, because the latter have unintended consequences which cause suffering of ordinary people. Those who fight for democracy must have the courage to accept that there are other tools.
    They have to protect the poor and vulnerable, even as they fight for their rights.

    Most of the people who want sanctions to remain have never read the actual sanctions documents, or experienced what it is like to try and raise capital for a business in Zimbabwe and have banks and investors sight these very sanctions.

    Several highly experienced economists and financial experts around the world agree with me. That does not mean we all support ZANU PF!

    Now at the same time, if a person thinks I’m wrong on sanctions, we can agree to disagree, but to insult and attack is simply to accept that they have become like those they wish to remove.
    When I announced that we were going to help Zimbabwe mobilize resources to fight cholera which WHO said could result in 10,000 deaths, there were some people who got angry because for them it was a way to show the incompetence of the government.
    We have so far spent over $20m. How many of those people shouting and screaming at me, really care about that? Do you know why?

    Personally I have always looked at someone who uses insults like I would an infant struggling to talk. Ignore them.
    Stay on a course of humility.

    By the way FB statistics show that millions of Zimbabweans regularly visit this platform. It is the most visited internet site by Zimbabweans in general.

    Last year our site had 64m engagements. This was the highest in the world, and Zimbabweans were a part of it. I love their support.

    There are less than 50 people involved in attacking and insulting me. This is an area I understand really well.

    Reply
  43. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Baridueh Badon writes,

    Strive Masiyiwa please Sir, at least teach us the principles if not the entire secrets

    My reply,
    You have to extract these secrets from my comments. This is why this page has the most engaged followers in the world, that is official!
    #Study to do!

    This platform is for people who DO!
    It is not for people who are looking for an opportunity to simply express their opinion on an issue.

    #In negotiations you must go over the details with a fine toothcomb. Over and over and over again…
    But never lose sight of the big picture!

    Reply
  44. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Dannyblingz Sterling writes,

    There are a lot of street vendors and hawkers who are constantly being oppressed and in most cases defrauded. In cross River State for instance, there are many area boys posing as tax collectors who go about harassing these vendors asking for tax and sometime you can have up to ten different groups in a month coming to ask for tax.these traders do not have access to a lawyer and do not know how to protect their business using the law. Most of them a afraid of going to a lawyer because of the exorbitant charges. And they are afraid because most of these people belong to some of the politicians. Surely something can be done to help this people.

    My reply,
    Many people around Africa never really stop to think about the plight of vendors. These are some of the most exploited people in our societies.
    They occupy a “twilight zone” where people simply don’t think about their plight when all they are trying to do is feed their families. They also play a crucial economy role that few economists have ever bothered to track.
    The attitudes of some law enforcement is also deplorable.
    So what should we do to help them, because on this platform it is not enough to highlight problems? We need solutions!
    # We need a generation of social entrepreneurs who are dedicated to develop tools to make their lives better, including help them with their rights;
    #We need a generation of social entrepreneurs who help to organize them so they can act collectively, and Lawfully to protect themselves and their property.
    #We need to find ways to engage law enforcement to train police officers that understand the law, and in particular the rights of citizens.
    #Vendors are Entrepreneurs!
    The greatest entrepreneurs in Africa, are not people like myself and Aliko. The vendor you see on your streets is better than us, because the issues and challenges they overcome everyday to just survive are more daunting than anything we ever face!

    #RESPECT@AfricanVendors!

    None of these things are easy. This type of transformation never is.

    Reply
  45. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Takunda Brytwll Mudzamiri writes,

    Strive Masiyiwa …i have one problem which connects to what has been happening the past days… i boughts almost 3 GB for the past days… starting tuesday … and all of those Gigabytes i have not used any …due to the closure of the data services … no my problem comes to hand that …should we not be reimbursed of such purchases ??? please im a concerned user of econet zimbabwe

    My reply,
    Although I’m not involved in the day to day running of the business in Zimbabwe [contrary to the views of some who don’t know how big companies are run], I did enquire with the management in Zimbabwe on your behalf. They assured me that they will reimburse anyone of their data.

    Right now the management are swamped with the crisis, and I plead patience on their behalf:

    #They are dealing with a very difficult situation which is not of their making, and which they are totally opposed to.

    #90% of employees are not able to come to work because of the security situation. We don’t even know if they are ok, as they have not been in contact, and some live in places where there has been extreme violence. So there is no one to effect any changes.

    #On Monday there is a court hearing which we hope will open social media.

    #Management fought very hard to allow some services to be opened particularly to allow things like EcoCash to operate as people had no food.

    I know Mr Mboweni is a very fair minded guy and he will ensure that everyone gets the bundles they lost. He would also do anything to help you get back all your beautiful Social Media services.

    [BTW:I don’t know how you asked this question, because no one in Zimbabwe has Facebook].

    Reply
  46. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Mary Chioma Etokwudo writes,

    Let me borrow a statement from this article.

    “According to NetBlocks, which estimates the cost of internet shutdowns worldwide, the three-day outage could cost the country’s already shaky economy upwards of $17 million.”

    We are supposed to be moving forward not backyard.

    My reply,
    I don’t know where they got that silly figure from!
    When you shut down the Internet of a country, every single digital platform shuts down.

    Social Media is only a part of the use of the Internet.

    Basically every business in Zimbabwe that uses digital platforms shut down!

    Hospitals, schools, local authorities, and even government operations themselves would have been affected.
    Banks shut down, mobile money platforms shut down. Ride hailing platform shut down.

    We are however more concerned about peoples’ lives right now.

    90% of our own employees are unable to report for work, and we have lost contact with many of them.
    -One of our employees lost his father in a protest related incident.
    -3 of our employees have been attacked in their own homes and hospitalized.
    -Scores of our small entrepreneurs that we supported have been looted and have lost everything.

    To keep the network working engineers and technicians cannot respond to call outs, so more and more basestations are shutting down when there is a fault.
    //

    Econet alone has been losing $5m per day.

    #Sad!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

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