Elizabeth Tanya Masiyiwa, daughter of South African billionaire, Strive Masiyiwa is now the director of Econet Wireless Zimbabwe.
The board of directors at Econet Wireless Zimbabwe has blazoned Elizabeth’s appointment of to the board of the Harare-grounded telecom company.
Elizabeth Masiyiwa, a social entrepreneur and philanthropist, is one of six children of Strive Masiyiwa, Zimbabwe’s richest man and one of eighteen African billionaires. Strive Masiyiwa founded and scaled Econet Wireless Zimbabwe in a billion-dollar company.
Elizabeth’s appointment comes nearly a month after Strive Masiyiwa announced his withdrawal as president and director of Econet Wireless Zimbabwe Limited.
His leadership position at the telecom firm is coming to an end as he refocuses his attention on humanitarian endeavours through the Gates Foundation.
Elizabeth Masiyiwa has served on various boards in the past, including the Higherlife Foundation, where she is the head of design and invention, and Harvard University’s Center of African Studies. She holds a series of leadership positions in both original and transnational associations.
The board of directors of the leading telecommunications firm believes her presence on the board will provide fresh insights, as she has worked in a variety of organisations, managing investment and financing initiatives, and human capital.
Under her father’s leadership, Econet has scaled into a telecom behemoth, as well as one of Zimbabwe’s largest and most profitable enterprises, with further than 12.4 million users in the past 20 years.
Econet Wireless Zimbabwe shares are at ZWL136.39 ($0.41) on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange as at the time of writing, giving the telecom company a ZWL358-billion ($1.1 billion) valuation.
In the 1980s, when mobile cellular telephony became popular, Strive Masiyiwa decided to branch out into telecoms. However, he soon ran into trouble when the Zimbabwean government of Robert Mugabe refused to provide him with a licence to operate his company, Econet Wireless.
Masiyiwa took his case to Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court, claiming that the refusal violated his “freedom of expression.” A Zimbabwean court ruled in his favour after a five-year legal battle that brought him to the verge of bankruptcy. The decision, which resulted at the end of the state monopoly in telecommunications, is widely recognised as a pivotal point in the opening of the African telecoms industry to private finance. In 1998, the company’s first cellular subscriber joined the new network.
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