Founder of Econet, Mr Strive Masiyiwa, has made it onto The Bloomberg 50 prominent figures that have made a global impact in 2020. Bloomberg’s annual top 50 list recognises individuals doing notable things within their respective fields. From politics to music to business and filmmaking; Bloomberg’s annual list is a melting pot of who’s who on a global scale.
Bloomberg acknowledged the businessman’s philanthropic efforts to help Zimbabwe deal with its struggling health-care system and the devastating Covid19 pandemic. Bloomberg labelled Masiyiwa as “Zimbabwe’s messenger of hope”. Through his Higher Life Foundation; Masiyiwa deterred health-care workers in the nation from striking over the erosion of wages. The foundation paid monthly stipends from ZW$5,000 to ZW$10,000 ($62 to $124) to health-care workers.
When the pandemic hit, he added another ZW$500 a day for anyone hospitalized by the virus and $ZW50, 000 for permanent disability or death. The significance of the programme can be seen in the fact that some medical workers have gone on strike since its expiration. In total, the foundation paid out $10 million in cash to over 1700 health-care workers.
Bloomberg also touched on the billionaire’s run-in with the Zimbabwean government stating;
“Masiyiwa, whose telecommunications company operates in Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America, has had his run-ins with Zimbabwe’s government, which he sees as pursuing policies detrimental to his wireless business.”
“More than 90% of the country’s commerce is conducted via mobile-money transactions because of cash shortages. The government accuses Econet, which dominates the industry, of fueling black-market currency trading and money laundering, accusations the company denies.”
The businessman’s telecommunications company has grown to great proportions. A testament to that is EcoCash and Econet’s domination of mobile money transactions, which have become essential in the face of cash shortages.
Masiyiwa joins the likes of music producers, Swizz Beats and Timbaland; filmmaker, Bong Joon-ho; the President of Uruguay, Luis Lacalle Pou and Co-founders of Feminist Coalition, Odunayo Eweniyi and Damilola Odufuwa to name but a few on the list.
According to Bloomberg, “Masiyiwa sees his donations as giving back to his home country, even though he lives in self-imposed exile, mostly in Johannesburg and London.”