ECONET founder and executive chairman Mr. Strive Masiyiwa and his wife Tsitsi have launched a $100 million Challenge Fund to support rural businesses and other entrepreneurs focusing on rural areas in Zimbabwe as part of their extensive philanthropic work in Zimbabwe and across Africa.
Masiyiwa, who also happens to be one of the richest Africans in the world, had this to say about the fund:
“My wife and I have decided to set up a special fund of $100m over 5 years for ReImagine Rural in Zimbabwe.
We have also challenged our friends in the philanthropy community to join us to expand it across Africa.
The fund which is our own personal money will be disbursed as loans through Steward Bank.”
What the money is projected to?
“The money will support projects from rural entrepreneurs or those entrepreneurs willing to focus on rural areas.SB will set up a special team [Masiyiwa Rural Challenge Fund].
I want to use this initiative to challenge global donors to support mass entrepreneurship in Africa by putting my own money into what I believe. My wife is currently on a major drive to get this concept adopted by other philanthropists, so we can push into other African countries” he said.
“This initiative does not reduce our commitment to other areas of our philanthropy efforts including education and the $60m sanitation and water initiative in Harare.
We thank the Lord who empowers us” he added.
How the money will work?
The details of how the money will work were posted on his Facebook page.
This is how it will be dispatched: 25% must be set aside for an area of Zimbabwe called Matabeleland; Women must get minimum 50%; Young people must be the focus; Traditional businesses like stores and grinding mills will be excluded. They want to see a new generation of businesses, to fulfill his dream of #ReImagineRural. Min: $1000, Max $ 10,000; No collateral; Maximum interest 5%; Repayments will go into revolving fund; All entrepreneurs must undergo training before loans; No political lobbying for support.
Who is Masiyiwa
Founder and Chairman of global telecommunications group Econet Wireless. Strive Masiyiwa (born 29 January 1961) is a London-based Zimbabwean businessman, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. … Over the last few years, Masiyiwa has devoted his time to mentoring the next generation of African entrepreneurs on Facebook.
Mr. Masiyiwa currently serves on the board of Unilever, the transnational consumer goods company, as well as the global advisory boards of the Council on Foreign Relations and Stanford University.
In 2013, the United Nations and the World Bank appointed him to the advisory board of the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative.
Econet Group is a telecommunications, media and technology company with operations and investments in 29 countries.
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