Net Worth: $280 Million, Source: Telecom
Citizenship: Zimbabwe , Age: 51
Zimbabwe's telecom magnate Strive Masiyiwa founded mobile phone company Econet in 1993, though because of objections from the ZImbabwe government the cellphone network did not go live until 1998. It soon became the largest mobile telecom operator in the country. Today he serves as its chairman. Publicly traded Econet controls Mascom, which has 70% market share in neighboring Botswana. It also operates in Kenya and Burundi, and is the only African-based company with a telecom license in the UK (Econet Satellite Services). It has won a 3G license in New Zealand and will roll out a network there once the market is fully liberalized. Masiyiwa moved with his family to Johannesburg, South Africa in 2000, where Econet is now based. He was also publisher of the Daily News, Zimbabwe's only independent daily newspaper, which was closed down in 2003. His mother was an entrepreneur involved in the informal economy in what was then called Southern Rhodesia; she made enough money to send Masiyiwa to secondary school in Scotland and then the University of Wales, where he studied electrical engineering. He returned to worked for newly independent Zimbabwe's state telecom company before starting Econet. Masiyiwa created a foundation that provides scholarships to orphans, including those whose parents have died of AIDS.