Mugabe Missing in Top 50 richest people in Zimbabwe
By Friday Nwosu
Robert Mugabe, one of Africa’s longest serving Presidents is conspicuously missing in the top 50 richest people in Zimbabwe.
One would have thought Mugabe who came into power in 1980 and has been in office since then would have been prominently featured among the top money bags in the country, but the 93 years old president was visibly missing from the list.
According to wikiurls.com, a local firm in research and intelligence released a list of Zimbabwe’s Top 50 richest personalities. On top of the pile is telecommunication guru Mr Strive Masiyiwa, followed by business magnate Mr Philip Chiyanhwa, Mr Shingai Mutasa, Mr Moses Chigwena and Televangelist Prophet Emmanauel Makandiwa.
It also claimed that the first top ten individuals account for the first multi-million dollar citizens in an independent Zimbabwe.
1, Mr Strive Masiyiwa
Mr Strive Masiyiwa is the executive chairman and founder of the Econet Group-a privately held diversified telecommunications group with operations and investments in Africa, Europe South America, North America and East Asia Pacific Rim. Its local unit is Econet Wireless Zimbabwe(EWZ) whose market capitalization was US$455 million by the end of last week.
Although the 54-year-old businessman’s exact holdings in EWZ is not known, last week the businessman indicated on his Facebook post that he held less than 50 percent of the mobile telephone company.
“When we listed the company (1998), I only had direct interest of about 35 percent. Out of the 60 percent, that I held in my personal company 25 percent was held by friends who had helped me. Within a few years they had sold their shares and moved on.
“ I never sold shares, except at the beginning, to help build the largest church in the country. Over the years I just continued to buy whenever I had some cash. Even today I still hold less than 50 percent of that particular business. The public hold the majority, “ he said.
Assuming that he holds between 30 percent and 40 percent, his value in Econet could be more than US$159 million.
Mr Masiyiwa also has other business interests that include renewable energy, water treatment, Coca-Cola bottling, financial services and hospitality.
He sits on a number of international boards, including the Rockefeller Foundation, the Council on Foreign Relations Global Advisory Board, the Africa Progress Panel, the UN Secretary General’s Advisory for Sustainable Energy, Morehouse College and the Hilton Foundation’s Humanitarian Prize Jury.
Last year, Forbes estimated that his net worth could be more than US$600 million. It ranked him as number 43rd richest person on the continent.
2. Philip Chiyangwa
The extent of the maverick businessman’s riches is not known, but his decision to venture into real estate and property development seems to be paying dividends.
Estimates suggest that Chiyangwa holds in excess of 12000 hectares around the country.
Most telling, Government and the Harare City Council decided to return to him contested land in and around Harare. Order Farm, which had been taken over by Oder Housing Development Consortium made up of 56 companies, is home to more than 20 000 families. Assuming that they decide to compensate Chiyangwa US$4 per square metre-a fee that has mostly recently been hinted-the 56-year-old tycoon stands to have a US$20 million payday.
In addition, he has more than 40 companies, with engineering firm Zeco Holdings being the only listed firm.
5. Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa
At the age of 37, what the televangelist has achieved is nothing short of phenomenal. It also shows the shifting local business landscape.
Some have since termed the phenomenon where men of the cloth increasingly tussle it out for rich pickings in the business world as gospreneurship.
Though much of his investments are under the cloak, so to speak, it is believed that Prophet Makandiwa has a controlling stake in Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed Radar Holdings (Private) Limited among other multi-million dollar businesses.
He also owns a huge stake in entertainment giant, Ster Kinekor’s franchise both in Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Estimates suggest that he also draws more than 50, 000 congregants at his church services per week.