Econet boss Strive Masiyiwa has defended his stance on the lifting of sanctions on Zimbabwe saying “if Zimbabwe had been a person who committed a crime, for which they went to prison, would you not say 20 years is enough?”
“Zimbabwe has served its prison time. It’s time for the country to be given a chance to get back on its feet,” Zimbabwe’s richest man whose company is the largest on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange by market capitalization.
Masiyiwa has been criticised for putting his business interests ahead of the welfare of Zimbabweans, the majority of whom are his clients, after he said President Emmerson Mnangagwa was sincere about turning around the country’s economy and called for the lifting of sanctions on the country so that it can revive its economy.
“As an entrepreneur, on many occasions I have had initiatives for my country Zimbabwe, which could have created tens of thousands of new jobs. When I have discussed them with either investors or banks, they have turned me away, saying: ‘We don’t want to violate the sanctions in your country’, “ Masiyiwa said.
“I have documents and emails from bankers and investors. I tried so hard to persuade some of them, often suggesting that they are not interpreting the sanctions correctly.
“In my case I was forced to go to China to secure loans to support our Zimbabwean businesses. But this was not always ideal. I have spoken about it publicly on many occasions even in the US and China itself.
“It is not right that we as business should have to work under such conditions, when all we want is to create jobs and livelihoods for ordinary people,” he said.