Forbes Says Strive Masiyiwa’s Fortune Increased To $2.3 Billion, Did It Really?

Strive Masiyiwa

When it comes to naming the who is who of the rich there is no greater authority than Forbes. Every year they produce a coveted list of the world’s richest according to various criteria including naturally Africa’s richest. In fact Forbes have a real time tracker that shows you how rich a person (we are talking about people who matter here not you and me) is at any given time.


2019 Africa’s top ten richest

  1. For the eighth year Aliko Dangote is Africa’s richest man with an estimated fortune of $10.3 billion
  2. Mike Adenuga another Nigerian with a net worth of $9.3 billion
  3. Nicky Oppenheimer of De Beers with $7.3 billion
  4. Nassef Sawiris with $6.3 billion
  5. Johann Rupert $5.3 billion
  6. Issad Rebrab $3.7 billion
  7. Naguib Sawiris $2.9 billion
  8. Strive Masiyiwa $2.3 billion

To keep Mr Masiyiwa company we have Isabel Dos Santos (who made her fortune in looting), Patrice Motsepe the mineral guy, Mohamed Mansour (who is into all sorts of things) and Koos Bekker. That makes them ten πŸ˜‰ .

A terrible year for Africa’s richest except Masiyiwa and three others

In general it was not a good year for Africa’s billionaires in general as most saw their wealth shrink due to a widespread falls in stock markets. In fact while there were 23 billionaires in the whole of Africa last year there are only 20 left at this moment.


Of these 20 all except four saw a decline in their fortunes. The billionaire with the biggest increase in net worth was Mr Masiyiwa. Last year his fortune was estimated to be $1.6 billion now he is said to be worth $2.3 billion. In a space of 12 months he added $700 million to his net worth not bad at all for a year’s work. But did he really increase his net worth by that much? Something in the Forbes article caught our eye:

Among the few on the list who are richer than a year ago is Strive Masiyiwa of Zimbabwe, worth an estimated $2.3 billion, up from $1.6 billion last year. He’s richer due to a rise in the share price of Econet Wireless Zimbabwe and a new investment that boosted the value of his stake in fiber-optic and satellite-services firm Liquid Telecom.

Forbes goes on to explain their methodology on exchange rates:

We calculated net worths using stock prices and currency exchange rates from the close of business on Friday, January 4, 2019.

Now why is that important? Well while we do not doubt the astounding business acumen of Mr Masiyiwa, he is amazing no doubt but $700 million really? Not only did he bucked the trend, he did it in a stupefying way. We cannot help however but think he had a little help- from bollars.

Remember just before last year ended we warned you about taking Zimbabwean financial results with a pinch of salt. Well we meant exactly this. There has been a recent increase in business profits, revenue and share prices despite ( we mean as result) of the ongoing economic crisis.

Officially the bond note and RTGS balances are at par with the USD but we all know better. The prices of all manner of commodities ( including stocks/shares) have increased in order to take into account the fact that the RTGS balances are not the same as real USD. It is a fact that in general the Zimbabwean Stock Exchange uses bollars and RTGS although it does benefit form the occasional foreign investor.

Conflating bollars, USD and RTGS is a mistake on Forbes’ part. An understandable one though considering they really have no viable official and alternative way to discount the value of bollars and RTGS and incorporating them into their net worth figures. To be fair, maybe they take these things into account but no mention is made of this on their list.

In business we always try to separate between real and nominal changes. In real terms I do not think Mr Masiyiwa’s fortune increased by $700 million.

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18 thoughts on “Forbes Says Strive Masiyiwa’s Fortune Increased To $2.3 Billion, Did It Really?

    1. If you get sick and go to a hospital right now, you’ll learn that being poor is a fatal sickness.

  1. Why is that most people tend to think Mr Strive Masiyiwa only makes money from his Zimbabwean investment(Econet Zimbabwe and Cassava Smarttech Zimbabwe)?

      1. Garikai,…so your assessment is based on an assumed valuation and speculation?

        Sorry, but when it comes to a more trustworthy and authoritative source on determining networth, you and TechZim are out of your league.

        I would rather trust Forbes than your social-media driven opinions

        1. Exactly Forbes have been doing this accurately for years they can’t just stumble on Masiyiwa besides their methodology is plain and exchange rates used on the day of valuation are known

          So you have a problem with those valuations, I think $700m is very modest when considering Econet Zim unbundled and created yet another very strong company, the unbundling was long over due and as expected created the value which had been understated for years

          Also Liquid Telecoms has an impressive 2019 and I believe that business is now far much bigger than Econect Zimbabwe and Cassava. The man had a good year

  2. Liquid has added value, the CDC investment in liquid was 180mill for 10%, giving it a valuation of 1,8billion, with the CSTZ listing unlocking more value, it’s possible.

    1. Yeah we noted that deal in another article but even assuming Masiyiwa got 100% of that it would still mean the bulk of his boost came from the increase in value of EWZ ( and we assume CSZL shares as well here as the split came late)

  3. “..buckle the trend..” LOL, don’t you mean buck the trend ??!! And Isabel Do Santos, don’t you mean Isabel dos Santos? What did she loot? Have you got solid proof, was she ever convicted? I think Forbes has more business acumen than this writer will ever have, never discount them!! Techzim, you are a joke already and making yourselves look like bigger clowns each and every day with your poorly “researched” and poorly written articles. You clowns should rather start up a circus and entertain yourselves and whatever crowd decides to pitch up and watch you clowns in action !

  4. Kkkkk Mr writer get your facts right. The Econet that you’re referring to, is Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, one of the many subsidiaries of Econet Wireless group. In short all subsidiaries owned by Econet Wireless group contributed to this $700 million Forbes is talking about. Do not forget that liquid is part of this family. Liquid on its own makes a bucket load of us dollars, not bond dollars, that you jonso are shouting about.

    1. We know the structure of Econet very well and didn’t miss that. The Forbes article excerpts of which are published here clearly state Mr Masiiyiwa’s wealth increased because of EWZ and not Econet Global, there is a global chill out there my friend shares are rumbling for Tech companies and Econet Global was no exception. In fact just before we wrote this we received a press release from Econet themselves which clearly showed Mr Masiyiwa’s wealth and shareholdings

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