Masiyiwa receives Lifetime Achievement Award
By MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – ZIMBABWEAN-born entrepreneur, Dr Strive Masiyiwa, has been honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the just-ended Brand Africa 100: Africa’s Best Brands.
Masiyiwa (54) is the chairman and founder of Econet Wireless Group, a diversified telecommunications group with operations and investments in Africa, Europe, North America, Latin America and the Asia Pacific.
At the fourth edition of the lucrative Brand Africa 100: Africa’s Best Brands in Johannesburg, the mobile network executive was honoured for his influential role in pioneering the industry in Africa.
According to organisers, the Lifetime Achievement Award was accorded to an individual who had provided exemplary leadership and provided inspiration to the continent in the past 25 years.
He received a standing ovation in absentia.
“Dr Masiyiwa is honoured to receive the award but is gutted not to be here,” said Thebe Ikalafeng, Brand Africa Founder and Chairman.
Nonetheless, Masiyiwa, was humble at being acknowledged.
“It is with great honour and humility that we receive the award. It comes during an extraordinary time to be doing business in Africa,” he said from London, United Kingdom.
In the 1980s, Masiyiwa (54) emerged as one of the country’s leading industrialists, having built a large electrical engineering business.
The emergence of mobile cellular telephony led him to diversify into telecoms, but he soon ran into major problems when the Zimbabwean government refused to give him a license to operate his business.
He appealed to the Constitutional Court on the basis that the refusal constituted a violation of “freedom of expression.”
The Zimbabwean court, then one of the most respected on the continent, ruled in his favour after a five-year legal battle.
The ruling, which led to the removal of the state monopoly in telecommunications, is regarded as one of the key milestones in opening the African telecommunications sector to private capital.
A devout Christian, he has won numerous accolades and gained international recognition for his business expertise and philanthropy, and is considered one of Africa’s most generous humanitarians.
Masiyiwa has used his wealth to provide scholarships to over 100 000 young Africans over the past 20 years through his family foundation.
He supports over 40 000 orphans with educational initiatives, as well as sponsoring students at universities in America, The United Kingdom, and China.
Masiyiwa also funds initiatives in public health and agriculture across the African continent.
– CAJ News
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