Why the Internet is the key to expanding a business across Africa and the world.

By now you know that one of my burning passions was always to set up a business that expanded outside my own country. I remember traveling to Namibia in 1990 with a plan to set up a business there. By then I’d been in business for less than five years, and already I was thinking of international expansion. Unfortunately, it was a total fiasco!

I didn’t yet have the capital or the skills to do something like that, and Africa really wasn’t yet ready to receive investors from other African countries. I went back home disappointed but not dispirited. I knew that one day I would do it… and seven years later, I set up Mascom in Botswana!

The rest is history, as they say. I’ve now developed the capacity to set up businesses almost anywhere in the world, and it just seems to get easier and easier.

You can do it, too!

Now let me share with you another secret: You can set up a cross-border or multinational business almost overnight these days and you don’t have to have years of international experience.

How is that?! It’s the Internet!

You can create a pan-African or even a global business overnight because of the smartphone (handheld computer) which gives you access to the Internet. Today there are already 250m people with smartphones in Africa that you can use to connect you and your business to the world, instantly.

__All you need to do is to develop products and services for them!

In recent months, I have allowed you a front row seat to see how this is done through the Kwesé TV project. First, we put our programming on the Kwesé App, which allows anyone to watch TV on their mobile phone from anywhere in Africa. Right now, entrepreneurs are launching products for distribution in this way from all corners of the world.

Let me give you another amazing example: We always knew we could beam by satellite to every African country at the same time. That technology has been around for a long time. So then we started thinking of how to tackle an old challenge in a new way: How do you sell satellite TV decoders to people in every African country?

The traditional solution? Set up offices and shops, country by country which could take years…

Our solution? E-COMMERCE!

We have now set up an ONLINE platform that is selling decoder packages in the 13 countries where we already have authorization to operate!

__Yes, we can now sell our products and services online… and recruit dealers online, too!

Just last week we launched Kwesé’s Online Shop:https://store.kwese.com … as well as an online “recruitment center” to help us find the best dealers on the African continent.

Imagine if I could have done that in 1990 when I went to Namibia; in fact, I would have spared myself the trip!

So there you have it:

# Kwesé TV is available in every African country using the Kwesé App.

# For those who prefer using a satellite decoder, they can now just go online to Kwese.com and either order directly at our Online Shop, or look up a Kwesé TV dealer.

# If they have the skills and interest in being part of our star team, they can even become dealers themselves!

We already have a team working 24 hours a day shipping any number of decoders to our participating countries throughout Africa. Within six months it will be over 40 countries.

This is what the likes of Google, Facebook, Netflix, Alibaba and others have done… Now we in Africa can (and MUST) do it, too.

The bottom line is this: it doesn’t matter what business you’re in, you can expand it, not just across Africa but the world.

I’m sure your e-magination is working overtime by now!


by 27 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.

27 thoughts on “Why the Internet is the key to expanding a business across Africa and the world.

  1. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 1.
    Like I wrote before, always think of the Internet like “real estate,” because it is. You can build almost anything on it, from homes, to shops, to businesses, shopping malls, and even cities! What are you building on the Internet at the moment? Before you ever worry about buying a piece of land in Accra, ask yourself what do you have on the Internet beside your email (residential) “address”? What is your “business address”?

  2. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 2.
    For this week’s quiz, I’ll give a decoder and satellite dish, plus not just ONE month (which all new customers get) but THREE months free subscription — to the FIRST two people in each African country who correctly answer these questions:

    1. Can someone overseas (or in another African country) buy a decoder from the Kwesé Online Store and ship it to someone else? (Yes or No)
    2. Name three of the competencies we seek in those selected to join our star team of Kwesé TV dealers.
    3. You can order two different packages from the Kwesé Online store. What is included in the “Kwesé TV Decoder” package?

    You’ll find the answers on http://www.Kwese.com/dealer and https://store.kwese.com. Remember to include your country. The winners will be posted in two weeks on http://www.kwese.com/news

  3. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 4.
    This is the power of the Internet: A Nigerian working in New Zealand or China (or anywhere!) can go online to Kwese.com to buy a decoder for someone to watch Kwesé TV at home in any part of Nigeria. Take note: E-commerce is really starting to grow fast in Africa. You and I must get into it as entrepreneurs!

  4. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Ivy writes,

    My social enterprise, Developers In Vogue will be launching our online freelance platform soon to connect the ladies we have trained to real-time projects and jobs via the Internet. This will help them get projects to work on from all over the world; hence no barriers.

    I also had the opportunity of presenting my social enterprise to the delegates of the Women 20 Summit which was attended by Chancellor Angela Merkel. The theme for the Summit is to Challenge The Gender Digital Divide.

    My reply,
    Well done!
    would love to know more.

  5. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Farai writes,

    Dr Masiyiwa, what is required of one to be a Kwese Tv dealer? I am in Namibia.

    My reply,
    Farai, all you need to do is to go to Kwese.Com, using your smartphone, tablet or computer.
    You will find the application procedure on that website. You need to move quickly as many people have already applied for Namibia, and there are only a limited number of slots per country.

  6. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Ann writes,

    Thanks sir but pls is there any other special reason why you mentioned Accra, “Before you ever worry about buying a piece of land in Accra, ask yourself what do you have on the Internet beside your email (residential) “address”? What is your “business address”?”

    My reply,
    Because it starts with “A”, I could just as easily have chosen Nairobi, or Harare, or even Tunis.
    All I wanted to say is that an email address, and website (which is an address of your business on the Internet) is all you need.

  7. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Faith writes,

    Has Kwese TV gotten authorization in Nigeria to operate?

    My reply,
    Yes, long ago!
    Nigeria is one of the 13x countries where we already have service. All you need to do to get a Kwese decoder is to go to Kwese.Com, and navigate to “Get Kwese”, scroll down to “Buy Online”, and find Nigeria. Once you buy a decoder one of our installers will help you.
    We are also recruiting dealers in Nigeria Online. And you will soon be able to also contact local dealers.

  8. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    When you think about building a business on the Internet, there are five things you should be thinking about:

    #1. How can I use the Internet to help grow the business we already have?
    There is no entrepreneurial activity that cannot benefit from the Internet.
    Websites, Social Media platforms, are all platforms that can be used to grow your business in terms of its sales, and profitability by reaching more customers, quickly and cheaply.

    It will quicken your growth. It is key to getting to the global marketplace.

    #2. How can I use the Internet to spur innovation?

    # 3. How can I use the Internet to lower barriers of entry, including capital, and cost?

    #4. How can I use the Internet to access skills, expertise, partnerships?

    #5. How can I build actual Internet businesses?
    This last question takes the game to a completely new level, altogether. It will be the subject of my next post.

  9. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Agoha writes,

    E commerce is where the world is all going to, i run an e commerce shop call obeago stores, in partnership with major platforms in my country Nigeria. This has opened my eyes better to all you have been teaching us sir. I get orders from all the sates, orders come in while i sleep, some even when I am in church on Sundays. I’m thinking of expansion, and mentoring the younger ones, and possibly being a kwese distributor. I love you Sir, thanks for all the inspiration.

    My reply,
    This is fantastic!
    I love this!
    Watch this guy!
    This is what I’m talking about.
    If you want to be a Kwese dealer, just go to the Kwese.Com/dealer. Register yourself, and become one of our dealers in Nigeria.

  10. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Amos writes,

    Hello sir, I wish to humbly ask you to be my tutor. Thank you.

    My reply,
    I’m your tutor. All you have to do is study (not just read) what I post. I deliberately post only once a week, to give you time to study each one carefully.
    I don’t want you to “follow” me, but to walk “side by side” with me.

  11. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Sethunya writes,

    Just a thought Dr Masiyiwa. One of your first businesses is Mascom in Botswana and I do believe you have offices in South Africa. How come you haven’t launched in these 2 countries as yet even thought you have set your footprints in them already? I’m quite intrigued by this so please explain this rather puzzling scenario. It would be interesting to know. I just spoke to one of the online consultants on kwese.com (Tefang) who was very patient in assisting me. However I’m disappointed that Botswana nor SA are among the countries that distribute the satellite decoder. I would appreciate some explanation here.

    My reply,
    If you go to the Kwese.Com, you will find that Botswana is actually one of the 13x countries where you can order a decoder online already.
    We are now recruiting local dealers for Botswana, and I promise that if you order you will have service in a matter of days.
    South Africa is in the next round of countries to be launched.

  12. Makawa Joseph Gilbert

    I’m an ardent reader of ur posts Dr strive and indeed sth is cooking up in my head. As an enthusiastic pharmacy student at makerere university Uganda. It will soon be ready to be served to the uttermost parts of the globe. Thanks Dr strive.

  13. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Maurice writes,

    When I grow up I want to be greater than you

    My reply,
    May the Lord grant you the desire of your heart. I will be cheering you all the way.

  14. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Benneth writes,

    I run a social enterprise that focuses on people on Autism Spectrum here in Lagos Nigeria. I am looking for a way to use internet to solve the enormous challenge of getting treatment and vocational and camping centres abroad and assisting their families to secure visas to these centres.

    I would so much appreciate your guidance and mentoring. The burden and negligence is too much for these families. Thanks

    My reply,
    I would like to learn more about your work.
    It would be good to do a Tv program on what you do, and we will show it on Kwese Know channel.
    So, so important.
    God bless you.

  15. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    A dear friend in Nigeria once gave me this wise saying, “never assume that the way you think a problem should be solved, is the only way it can be solved.”

  16. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Congratulations Antony Joshua!

    The first time I ever saw a live satellite TV broadcast in Africa was 29th October 1974 (I was 13 years old), and living in Zambia.
    It was the famous “rumble in the jungle” in DRC.
    Who could have imagined that 42 years later, we would be the EXCLUSIVE Pan African broadcaster of one of the greatest sporting events ever!
    #Antony Joshua Vs Vitaly Klitschko.

    Joshua was born in Nigeria, and proudly carries the map of Africa tattooed on his shoulder (not recommended but appreciated !)

    We broadcast the event live to more than 40 African countries, and in many of them it was for free!

  17. TEDxUI Team

    Dear Sir,
    Trust you are doing well Sir. We have been trying to reach you for over a month now.
    When it comes to the most popular and prestigious platform for the imparting of knowledge through creative styles, TED no doubt tops the table. TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) is a non-profit media organisation which posts talks online for free distribution, under the slogan “ideas worth sharing”. It was founded in February 1984 as a conference by architect and graphic designer Richard Saul Wurman, who observed a convergence of the fields of technology, entertainment, and design (that is, “TED”), and has been held annually since 1990. TED’s early emphasis was technology and design, consistent with its Silicon Valley origins, but it has since broadened its focus to include talks on many scientific, cultural, and academic topics.
    The main TED conference is held annually in Canada at the Vancouver Convention Centre. TED events are also held throughout North America and in Europe and Asia, offering live streaming of the talks. They address a wide range of topics within the research and practice of science and culture, often through storytelling. The speakers are given a maximum of 18 minutes to present their ideas in the most innovative and engaging ways they can. Past speakers include Roger Ebert, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Chimamanda Adichie, Professor Pat Utomi, Bill Clinton, Gordon Brown, Al Gore, Billy Graham, Richard Dawkins, Bill Gates, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and many Nobel Prize winners.
    TEDx are independent, locally organised events which can be organised by anyone who obtains a free license from TED, agreeing to follow certain principles. We have basically so that people across the globe can all share a TED-like experience wherever they are. They are non-profit but may use an admission fee or commercial sponsorship to cover costs. Similarly, speakers are not paid. They are branded TEDx, with x stand for an independently organised TED event.
    A TEDx event is organised by volunteers from the local community, and just like TED events, it lacks any commercial, religious or political agenda. Its goal is to spark conversation, connection and community. TEDx does not associate with other organisations. Sponsors of TEDx events are not allowed on stage and they cannot influence the programme. Likewise, speakers are not allowed to sell products, promote themselves or advance notions that cannot be defended with well-founded evidence on stage.
    The first TEDx event took place in a university: TEDxUSC, back in 2009 and ever since, there have been almost 2000 TEDx university events all over the world.
    Furthermore, it is with great pleasure that we invite you to speak at this exceptional and special Ted event in the University of Ibadan, Nigeria’s premier varsity, themed “Dare to Be Abnormal.” Ted events are conducted worldwide to address a wide range of topics within the research and practice of science and culture, often through storytelling. Speakers are given a maximum of 18 minutes to present their ideas in the most innovative and engaging ways they can. On this note, we will like you to share one idea you know can change the world.
    It also goes without saying that a person to be considered for this role and honour must be a person of high integrity, verifiable accomplishment and someone who has exceptional, unique and unbiased idea to share with the audience.
    In this regard, our team has decided to extend this invitation upon inevitable notice of your exceptional and enviable qualities, and the thought-provoking idea we believe you stand for. This idea we believe will be tuned to inspire the youths, considering that it is meant for University students.
    In event of your acceptance, please note that this event is scheduled to take place at the Trenchard Hall, University of Ibadan on the Saturday 8th day of July, 2017. Besides, we would appreciate an appointment to meet with your good self at your earliest convenience to further discuss the topic of your talk. We are very anxious to hear from you, and cannot wait to inspire the world through your unique perspective.
    Please find the link to other popular Ted talks in the world:
    To know more about Ted/Ted talks, visit http://www.ted.com
    Do accept the assurance of our warmest regards and highest esteem.

    Yours sincerely,

    TEDxUI Team

  18. Yoo Ali

    Dr Strive, your practical entrepreneurial posts have been of great value on my entrepreneurship journey. Many thanks and God bless. Yoo


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