Britain’s first black billionaire – Strive Masiyiwa

Strive Masiyiwa

Strive Masiyiwa has been officially named as the first black billionaire for the United Kingdom (UK) by The Sunday Times Rich List. He is a London-based Zimbabwean billionaire businessman and philanthropist and popularly known as the founder and executive chairman of the international technology group Econet Global. He is a very prominent person and he sits on Netflix and Unilever boards.


Strive Masiyiwa & Reed Hastings
Strive Masiyiwa & Reed Hastings

In 1999, Strive Masiyiwa left Zimbabwe for South Africa where he lived before he then moved to the United Kingdom in 2010. He has been staying in London since he moved there in 2010.

It took Masiyiwa years to be able to set up his now giant telecommunications company, Econet, as he faced resistance from the Zimbabwean government. President Robert Mugabe was leading the government during those years until in 1998 Masiyiwa managed to register Econet.


It is alleged that the government intended to launch its own telecommunications company, NetOne, therefore, Econet was deemed as a very strong competitor.

Masiyiwa left Zimbabwe which was Rhodesia by then with his parents when he was 7 years old in 1961. His family relocated to Zambia, where Strive Masiyiwa completed primary education before emigrating to the United Kingdom at the age of twelve. His business mother paid for him to attend a private secondary school in Scotland, and he eventually earned an engineering degree from the University of Wales.

He worked in the computer business in Cambridge for a brief time before returning to Africa. He later told Forbes that the network was launched at a time when 70% of the country’s population has never heard a ringtone.

Strive Masiyiwa resides in a detached £2.5 million property on an exclusive gated estate in Surrey while in the UK.

He also owns high-profile buildings in New York, including two neighboring apartments atop the Eldorado Towers, which have housed celebrities including Michael J. Fox, Moby, and Alec Baldwin at various times.

In 2016, he paid $24.5 million for the two properties. According to reports from 2019, he also owns a £24 million mansion with 24 rooms, nine of which have ensuite bathrooms.

Strive Masiyiwa is also known as one of Africa’s most active philanthropists, focusing on young people in particular. Together with his wife Tsitsi, he launched the Higherlife Foundation, which pays school costs for 40,000 orphaned or low-income students in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Burundi, and Lesotho.

Strive and Tsitsi Masiyiwa - Higherlife Foundation
Strive and Tsitsi Masiyiwa – Higherlife Foundation

Through his family foundation, he has awarded scholarships to over 250,000 young Africans over the last 20 years.

The Ambassador Andrew Young Scholarship, founded by the couple, allows African students to attend Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia.

Strive Masiyiwa and four other business leaders were invited to the 38th G8 meeting at Camp David in 2012 by President Barack Obama to speak about solutions for increasing food production and ending poverty in Africa.

Strive Masiyiwa was named one of the 50 most influential business leaders in the world by Fortune Magazine in 2014.

In 2018, he was named to Forbes’ billionaire list, with a net worth of $2.3 billion at the time.

Currently, Strive Masiyiwa is working on getting vaccines for Africa’s big population during these COVID-19 times and he is one of the most generous humans in Africa. He has managed to secure 400 million doses of COVID-19 for the continent. He also donated 45 ventilators to Zimbabwe to assist with COVID-19 in the Coronavirus crisis in 2020.

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