Strive Masiyiwa is now the richest black man in Southern Africa, with a net worth surpassing $4.4 billion – dethroning Patrice Motsepe from the position, according to one count.
Masiyiwa’s new title is thanks to the year-to-date price increase in the shares of his telecom company, Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, and his smart-tech company, Cassava Smartech.
As of Wednesday, Masyiwa’s net worth had increased from $2.7 billion to $4.4 billion, Billionaires.africa reported.
Forbes’ authoritative rich list still has Masiyiwa behind Motsepe.
Both men have seen their wealth rocket since the start of the year.
Masiyiwa, 61, recently announced his retirement as chairman and director of Econet Wireless Zimbabwe Limited and still retains his more than 50% stake in the company he listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange in 1998.
In response to his announcement, Econet Wireless’ board of directors announced the appointment of Elizabeth Tanya Masiyiwa, one of Masiyiwa’s six children, to the board of the telecom company to propel the firm’s growth.
According to the board of directors, Elizabeth’s appointment will bring a wealth of experience, as she has worked in various organisations, spearheading investment and funding programs and human capital development.
Motsepe credits his early business education with exposure to his father’s small spaza shop, and was a lawyer before moving into mining.
Masiyiwa’s entrepreneur mother left Zimbabwe after it declared independence, and he trained as an electrical engineer.
Manufacturing magnate Aliko Dangote, from Nigeria, is the richest person on the African continent by a considerable margin, with a net worth calculated at close to $14 billion at the end of last year. His family features figures such as his great-grandfather Alhassan Dantata, once ranked the richest person in West Africa.
The richest people in Southern Africa are the dynastic families of Johann Rupert and Nicky Oppenheimer, who remain considerably wealthier than Motsepe and Masiyiwa.
Rupert and Oppenheimer are also typically the second and third richest people in Africa-wide lists, albeit well behind Dangote, with occasional competition (depending on rule share prices and exchange rates) from Egypts Nassef Sawiris, who is also a scion of a super-rich family.