The most successful African entrepreneurs of the future

__Think beyond borders of all kinds.

Amongst the many things I wanted to achieve with this platform was to get young African entrepreneurs to reach out and start talking to each other, doing business deals, and partnering to find solutions to Africa’s many other challenges. I’m not sure if you saw this comment I made during our discussion on partnerships a while back:

“Afterthought: Here is a secret! The most successful Africans in future are those who master the ability to partner with Africans from other African countries… Shhhh! (Keep this secret to yourself, because there are many enemies out there who will try and stop you from believing this.)”

As an entrepreneur, there are huge benefits for you if Africa can shift its economic narrative to what I sometimes refer to as “Africanization.” We as Africans need to open up this continent to development by Africans. However, this should not be to the exclusion of working with partners from other parts of the world, or frustrating potential investors!

Have you looked at Africa’s numbers lately?

# Continental Africa has a population of 1.2bn people, and a GDP of $2.8Tn.

# It compares quite favorably with India which has a population of 1.3bn, and GDP of $2.6Tn.

# Assuming a compound annual growth of 5%, Africa’s GDP as a continent can reach $30Tn in 50 years.

# This is 1.5 times bigger than the US economy today (at $19Tn), and three bigger than China today ($11Tn). This is not to suggest that we’ll overtake China and the US, because they’ll continue to grow naturally.

# An economy of $2.8Tn, with a population of 1.2bn people could be leveraged to unleash the type of growth we’ve seen in China over the last 25 years, and beginning to see happen in India under PM Modi.

# In 50 years, Africa’s population will be close to 3bn, and the economy could be $30Tn.

# Two-thirds of Africa’s population will be under the age of 25!

# 60% of the population will live in cities (already 37% — comparable to China, higher than India’s. Expected to be world’s fastest urbanization from 2020 to 2050).

# If we can just increase our GDP growth by an additional 2% per annum to 7% — and sustain it and manage it well — Africa’s future could be remarkable.

# This could completely do away with the need for any form of international development aid (currently about $60bn per annum, and being cut anyway!)

So when you hear about 5% growth or “just 2%”… Does that seem like a small number, and one we can easily achieve? Maybe, but any serious economist will tell you: “Not so simple!”

About 20 years ago, I set off on a remarkable journey. I wanted to do business in Africa, as an African. I’ve set up businesses with entrepreneurs and partners from just about everywhere on this continent — north, south, west and east. At one time or another, I’ve worked in every part. Sometimes I’ve set up joint venture partnerships and other times I’ve just sold or bought something.

A global entrepreneur once called me over a planned a massive investment he wanted to make in a certain country. Years later he said to me, “You told me I would lose my investment, and be left with just my shirt…” Then he symbolically took off his shirt! I wished I had been wrong but my experience with how business works there, I knew he would lose his money.

I’ve also advised people to make investments in places where they went to look for themselves and were very surprised, in a good way!

Let me tell you, it won’t be easy, but it’s easier now than 20 years ago, and will be even easier going forward.

# There’s never been a greater need than now for Africans to reach out to each other — beyond tribe, race, and national borders.

Do you see “Africa rising” where you are? If not, share some of your ideas what must done (not just by others, by YOU.)

Let’s talk.


13 thoughts on “The most successful African entrepreneurs of the future

  1. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 1.
    I once had a partnership in an African country with some really smart guys, mostly my own age. One day I arrived unexpectedly early for a meeting to discuss our business, and found them meeting alone in a room. I immediately challenged them over why I wasn’t invited to the meeting, since we were all partners: “So you meet on your own without me?” I asked, then added: “I imagine you also meet separately along tribal lines, without each other! If we’re partners, we’re partners, guys. So cut out this nonsense, otherwise I’m out of here!”

  2. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 2.
    I even have a little chart which I call “Degree of Difficulty,” where I rate countries on how difficult it is to do business there “as an African.” It’s harder for an African to do business on this continent (outside his or her home country) than for anyone else. I cannot publish my little chart because it would cause pandemonium.

  3. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 3.
    If there’s one profession in very short supply on this continent, it is serious economists. If you’re smart and thinking of a university PhD, please do economics… the most endangered profession in Africa, after journalism.

  4. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 4.
    More quiz results! If you’re looking for contest results, please keep an eye on news. After you see you’ve won, please send us a quick note right here. Once we hear back, one of my team will be in touch via Facebook messenger inbox, or message requests. Remember — if we don’t hear back from you within two weeks of the date of the prize announcement, our prize offer becomes null and void.

  5. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Inga writes,

    Why is it your products are not coming to South Africa is the market or the red tape?

    My reply,
    You might be surprised to learn that we have more than 2000 employees in South Africa. More than 400 of those people work for Kwese Tv.
    We are heavily invested in that country, and we will continue to invest there.
    I lived in SA for 10 years, and it is really my second home.

  6. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Simbo writes,

    Sharing such rating information will help upcoming entrepreneur, I believe .

    My reply,
    I fully appreciate your point.
    It would also be very helpful to global investors who are looking for such information. I am being asked all the time about which are the best countries in Africa to invest based on my experiences.
    Unfortunately the political class in some of the countries that are difficult will not take the publication of such a list constructively. They will accuse me of campaigning against their country, rather than trying to address these issues. They will then retaliate against my hard working staff in those countries.

    There are countries where the Presidents have invited me to address them and their key ministers about what measures to take. And in such cases I have given my best advice. I will always give my best to Africa, if given an opportunity.

  7. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Seki writes,

    How do we connect East Africa to West Africa by road?

    My reply,
    …and rail, and airlinks as well!

    We need to also connect the soft infrastructure as well to enable the easy movement of people, goods and capital.

    For my part I want to connect every African country by fibre. We have already connected 15x countries through our company Liquid Telecom. This year we will directly link East, South and West Africa. As I speak we are building….
    Our Kwese Tv signal is available in 44x countries, we just have to build distribution. I can assure you it will be done by the end of this year.
    “Nothing is impossible for him who believes in God”; you know that don’t you?

  8. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Victor writes,

    I met two guys on this platform one from S.A and the other one from Japan and we are doing great things you will soon hear about us…Thank Dr Strive for this platform i have achieved great things through this platform

    My reply,
    Totally awesome!
    Keep me informed.

  9. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    On Kwese Tv we have this amazing show in which young Africans are asked to share their favorite meal with an African from another country. I love that show…if you get a decoder look out for that show. I’m putting my money where my mouth is, so to speak!

  10. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Ofuso writes,

    Hello Mr Masiyiwa, how do i contact kwese tv as i have an idea they might be interested in. I got this idea after i read your post on cervical cancer. I however do not know who to contact since i am in Ghana.

    My reply,
    At the moment our people are working flat out to get the systems up and running in over 20x countries.
    To you and others who are keen to present ideas, I suggest that you give them a bit of space. I’m sure by the end of the year, you will see them starting to look out for you.
    Meanwhile go to the Kwesefied website for additional information.

  11. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Ivy writes,

    I believe that to be able to form very successful business partnerships with our brothers and sisters from other countries, we should make it a point to read on what is happening in other African countries on a daily basis.

    I personally do this by subscribing to Google alerts on the industries in African countries that interest me. This has helped to be knowledgeable in recent developments in African countries apart from my own and also given me some ideas on businesses to start.

    My reply,
    Every morning, I read a report on what is going on across the entire continent. I have trained myself to think about Africa as one big country. I don’t care about the borders, after all we did not put them there!

  12. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Tamuka writes,

    Thank you sir for sharing. I was impressed by these stats. I’ve always thought of Africa as a country rather than a continent and your stats reveal that a connected Africa is a true giant.

    By also going through your stats, I figured out something amazing, Africa’s GDP is equal to that of the United Kingdom, both at $2,8tn and greater than that of Germany and Russia. Africa the country is bigger than some of the world’s largest economies. That should be the narrative, we should work towards having a borderless Africa that is connected.

    I remember your speech at a prayer breakfast meeting in Kenya back in 2015 when you said, “When I walk down the street in Nairobi, until I open my mouth, you couldn’t tell where I come, because I’m really Kenyan.” That’s the beauty of Africa, we don’t have differences.

    My reply,
    There is a day coming, when “the last shall be first”…it is our turn, and it can happen in your life time.
    When I was a child living in Zambia, I met some Chinese people who had come to build a railroad to Tanzania. I asked about their country, and they told me they rode on bicycles. It surprised them that in Zambia there were so many cars and not as many bicycles!

  13. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Rungano writes,

    India is building up because of national borders.. No boundaries… China is one of the fastest growing excise duties and embargoes within itself..African nations put together on paper have a sizeable GDP.. But actually each nation defends its own industry, blocking business with a neighboring country. If only we could systematically open of markets to each other as African economies…

    My reply,
    Now you understand why I joined the AU Reform Task force:
    Its about the prosperity of our people.


Leave a Reply

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