Government has invited one of the country’s richest but self- exiled businessman Strive Masiyiwa to come back home.
The accomplished entrepreneur is expected back home next month, for the first time in 18 years, in what could be the biggest breakthrough for the new administration led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
President Mnangagwa’s Government has declared that it is willing to work with all local businessmen who had frosty relations with former President Robert Mugabe’s regime.
Masiyiwa — the founder and executive chairman of diversified international telecommunications, media and technology group, Econet Wireless and Kwese TV — left Zimbabwe in 2000 for South Africa amid indications he had fallen out with Government.
Now, Masiyiwa is expected in the country and is scheduled to be one of the high profile presenters at the “National Dialogue” forum slated for March 1, 2018 in Harare.
The National Dialogue forum draft programme shows several high profile people, including President Emmerson Mnangagwa and captains of industry will be in attendance. The forum is being organised by the National Economic Consultative Forum (NECF).
Masiyiwa is anticipated to present on “The role of innovation and entrepreneurship in the new Zimbabwe”.
NECF executive secretary Norman Chakanetsa, confirmed to Business Weekly yesterday that Masiyiwa is one of the speakers lined up for the National Dialogue.
However, Chakanetsa said Masiyiwa is yet to confirm his attendance but they are trying to pull all stops to ensure that he comes.
Other eminent speakers expected at the event are Vice President General (Retired) Constantino Chiwenga; Finance and Economic Planning Minister Patrick Chinamasa; and Industry and Commerce and Enterprise Development Minister Dr Mike Bimha.
Masiyiwa’s invitation is in line with President Mnangagwa’s reengagement thrust, as it seeks to rebuild bridges with countries and individuals Government has differed with as part of efforts to turnaround the economy.
By the time Masiyiwa left Zimbabwe, he claimed that he “did not have a happy relationship with the Government (and) I decided that I was better off relocating and working from South Africa”.
Masiyiwa is now understood to have set a new base in London.
According to Forbes Magazine, Masiyiwa is one of the 23 billionaires from Africa as at January 2018.
The 23 billionaires are worth a combined $75,4 billion.
Forbes estimates Masiyiwa’s net worth at $1,7 billion.
Last year, Fortune Magazine ranked Masiyiwa 33rd in the World’s Greatest Leaders list for 2017.
Market watchers say the move to bring Masiyiwa back home for the National Dialogue will have far-reaching consequences on the investment as it is likely going to inspire other prominent business personalities from across the globe to consider investing in the country.