Econet's Strive Masiyiwa awarded an honorary doctorate
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Masiyiwa, 51, was honoured with the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters in recognition for his philanthropic and humanitarian work across the African continent.
Reading Masiyiwa's citation during the conferment of the degree at the college's Century Campus in Atlanta, Georgia, college President Robert Michael Franklin told the Zimbabwean entreprenuir: "As an entrepreneur you have excelled in establishing a stellar example of principled leadership.
"As a visionary you have gained international prominence for opening the African telecommunications sector to private capital. You fought against the government to dismantle a monopoly paving the way for free enterprise, and you have shared your resources for philanthropic purposes.
"Not only do you fund one of Africa's largest orphanages, but also you've played an integral in alleviating poverty that worsened during economic reform in your native country Zimbabwe."
Two decades ago, Masiyiwa famously fought the Zimbabwean government in a five-year legal battle challenging the latter's monopoly on wireless communications in the Southern African country.
He subsequently became the first person in the world to be granted a mobile telecoms license by a court of law rather than the government, and he went on to build Econet Wireless, a leading Pan-African mobile telecoms company with operations across Africa, U.K and New Zealand.
Through his independent holding company, T.S. Masiyiwa Holdings, Masiyiwa also owns significant interests in financial services, tourism, alternative energy and infrastructure across Africa.
His controlling stake in Econet Wireless has likely made him Zimbabwe's richest man, with a net-worth of at least $280 million. He ranked No. 34 on Forbes' list of Africa's 40 Richest, published in November 2011.
Masiyiwa is known to devote a percentage of his annual income towards philanthropy. He and his wife, Tsitsi Masiyiwa, founded and currently fund the Capernaum Trust, a Zimbabwe-registered Christian charity that sponsors scholarships and medical assistance for over 28,000 orphaned Zimbabwean children.
Masiyiwa also pledged to sponsor 10 South African students to study at Morehouse College.
The Econet boss has been one of the most vocal advocates championing the interests of small farmers in Africa, and is currently the acting chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), a non-governmental organization that works closely with small farmers towards achieving a food secure Africa.
A day before the Morehouse award, Masiyiwa joined US President Barack Obama and other G8 leaders at a meeting at Camp David to discuss the issue of food security in the African continent.
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