Zimbabwean billionaire Strive Masiyiwa has revealed that Econet Group, the Pan-African mobile telecoms company he founded and controls, will list Mascom, Botswana’s largest mobile operator, on the country’s stock exchange by October this year.
According to a report by Forbes, Masiyiwa made the announcement Last Tuesday during a press conference in Gaborone. According to Masiyiwa, Mascom’s listing on the Botswana Stock Exchange will be one of the biggest flotations on the bourse.
“This is what I have always wanted to do …I have never held enough shareholding to push it through,” he told reporters.
On Facebook, Masiyiwa said that anyone who is able to raise as little as $10 would be able to buy shares in Mascom.
Even though Masiyiwa is renowned for founding Econet Wireless, Zimbabwe’s largest mobile operator, Mascom was actually the first mobile telecom company Masiyiwa founded. He founded the company 21 years ago, few months before he established Econet Wireless in Zimbabwe. The name Mascom, as the legend goes, was derived from Masiyiwa Communications, a name suggested to him by a business partner. Mascom is now Botswana’s largest mobile operator with an estimated 1.7 million subscribers according to the company.
In March this year, Econet Group acquired a 53% stake in Mascom from MTN Group, thereby increasing its stake from 7% to 60%. The deal, which values Mascom at $600 million is expected to be concluded anytime soon as regulatory approval is at its final stages.
Strive Masiyiwa, 58, is the richest man in Zimbabwe with a fortune Forbes Magazine estimates at $1.9 billion. Strive Masiyiwa triumphed government opposition to launch mobile phone network Econet Wireless Zimbabwe in 1998. He owns a little over 50% of the publicly traded Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, which is a subsidiary of the larger Econet Group. The Zimbabwean billionaire also owns close to half of Liquid Telecom, a company that provides fiber optic and satellite services to telecommunication firms across Africa. His other assets include stakes in mobile phone networks in Burundi and Lesotho, and investments in fintech and power distribution firms in Africa. He and his wife Tsitsi founded the Higherlife Foundation, which supports orphaned and poor children in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Burundi and Lesotho.