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Strive Masiyiwa is a true patriot

02 Nov 2018 at 06:07hrs | Views
MR Strive Masiyiwa is a telecommunications magnet and billionaire with a business conglomerate straddling the African continent and beyond. He is a self-made entrepreneur who commands respect across the entire world.

From humble beginnings in Zimbabwe, he built an empire that now encompasses telecommunications, ICT, banking, mobile money, digital television and numerous other ventures dotted around Africa and Europe.

The Econet Wireless Zimbabwe founder is among the 10 richest people in Africa and has made the Forbes list of wealthiest individuals in the world.

In short, he is an ambassador of Zimbabwe to the world and the country should be proud to have such an accomplished individual as its own.

Mr Masiyiwa, now domiciled in London, left the country almost two decades ago to set up base in South Africa because of a strained relationship with the previous administration under Mr Robert Mugabe.

On Tuesday, he gave an interview to CNBC Africa in which he voiced unequivocal support for the new dispensation under President Mnangagwa. Speaking from South Africa, Mr Masiyiwa said the new administration should be given a chance and called for the removal of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the West and its allies.

He said President Mnangagwa is sincere about turning around the country's fortunes and while it is going to be challenging for the country to achieve economic transformation, Zimbabwe needs to be given a chance.

"I have invested in Zimbabwe in the last 10 years $1,5 billion, I'm as committed to investing in Zimbabwe as always I have always been, come rain or shine but concerning the change that has taken place, I believe it is real, I believe President Mnangagwa is sincere in the things he wants to do," said Mr Masiyiwa.

"It is going to be extremely challenging, everybody knows that, anyone who understands economics knows it's going to be tough going but I think Zimbabwe needs to be given a chance. We got to stop the politicking and focus on rebuilding this country and I'm right up there.

"I think for instance, that the sanctions should be removed, there is no justification for them anymore, they should be removed and I have always been on record to say the sanctions are not justified and now we are almost 20 years into the sanctions, you can't have one country operating with its hands tied behind its back."

We welcome the sentiments expressed by Mr Masiyiwa and hope they will find traction with the West. As a businessman with vast interests in Zimbabwe, he is aware of the challenges his companies face when transacting around the world with the scourge of sanctions looming at every turn.

They are an albatross around the neck of every Zimbabwean entity doing business and requiring payments to be routed through the international finance system whose epicentre is New York. Many companies' transactions have been red flagged in the US with funds frozen just because they are domiciled in Zimbabwe. Prospective investors also shy away from doing business with firms from this country because of sanctions.

Mr Masiyiwa is therefore well placed to speak out on this matter because it affects him directly. As a patriotic Zimbabwean, he is aware of the implications of the country continuing to be a pariah state isolated from the community of nations.

By taking a stand, Mr Masiyiwa is doing his bit to tell the world that Zimbabwe is open for business. He has evidently been charmed by President Mnangagwa's policies which put the economy ahead of everything else including politics. As the richest man in Zimbabwe, his endorsement of the current Government is instructive and strikes the right chord with international investors.

As the Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Monica Mutsvangwa said on Wednesday, it is the duty of every Zimbabwean to speak positively and rebrand their country to attract business so that we go back to our former glory.

"It is through unity that we can achieve development and get the country to the level that we desire. It is not up to the Government and President Mnangagwa alone to champion the re-engagement drive and the rebranding of the country but also that of private citizens and the business community," Minister Mutsvangwa said.

We totally agree with the Minister and urge other prominent Zimbabweans in the diaspora and within the country to emulate Mr Masiyiwa in projecting a good image of the country.

To accelerate the re-engagement drive, Zimbabwe needs all hands on deck including its leading lights in the business community.

As a Zimbabwean who loves his country, Mr Masiyiwa has led the way and we urge him to ignore dissenting voices that are critical of his latest stance. His endorsement of President Mnangagwa shows that he is a visionary and astute businessman with a deep love for Zimbabwe. National interest should triumph over everything else.

Source - chronicle
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