The Founder of Econet Global, Strive Masiyiwa, along with his wife Tsitsi Masiyiwa have pledged $100 million to a fund rural entrepreneurs. Masiyiwa, who also happens to be one of the richest Africans in the world had this to say about the fund:
My wife and I have decided to set up a special fund of $100m over 5 years for ReImagine Rural in Zimbabwe.
We have also challenged our friends in the philanthropy community to join us to expand it across Africa.
The fund which is our own personal money will be disbursed as loans through Steward Bank (a member of the Econet group).
The money will support projects from rural entrepreneurs or those entrepreneurs willing to focus on rural areas.
SB will set up a special team [Masiyiwa Rural Challenge Fund].
I want to use this initiative to challenge global donors to support mass entrepreneurship in Africa by putting my own money into what I believe. My wife is currently on a major drive to get this concept adopted by other philanthropists, so we can push into other African countries.
This initiative does not reduce our commitment to other areas of our philanthropy efforts including education and the $60m sanitation and water initiative in Harare.
We thank the Lord who empowers us!
Details of how the fund will work were posted on his Facebook page and we know the following:
- 25% must be set aside for an area of Zimbabwe called Matabeleland;
- Women must get minimum 50%;
- Young people must be the focus;
- Traditional businesses like stores and grinding mills will be excluded. We want to see a new generation of businesses, to fulfil my dream of #ReImagineRural.
- Min: $1000, Max $10,000.
- No collateral;
- Maximum interest 5%;
- Repayments will go into revolving fund;
- All entrepreneurs must undergo training before loans;
- No political lobbying for support