Zimbabwe’s richest man Strive Masiyiwa says the change that is taking place in Zimbabwe is real and President Emmerson Mnangagwa is sincere about what he wants to do to turn the country’s economy around.
Interviewed on CNBC, Masiyiwa said it was going to be extremely challenging to turn around the country’s fortunes.
“Anyone who understands economics knows it’s gonna be tough going,” the Econet boss said.
Masiyiwa founded Econet amid trying times and it is now the biggest mobile network and also the biggest company by market capitalisation on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.
From a mobile telephone operator, Masiyiwa is now into mobile money, banking, manufacturing, cable television and optical fibre networks.
He now has operations in Africa, Europe, South America and the East Asia Pacific Rim.
Recently he came to the country’s rescue following the outbreak of cholera in Harare last month when he pledged $10 million to help curb the disease which killed more than 50 people and affected 10 000 others.
“I think that Zimbabwe needs to be given a chance,’ he told CNBC. “It needs to be given a chance. We gonna stop the politicking and focus on rebuilding this country and I am right up there.”
Mnangagwa has been under pressure since the 30 July elections, first with violence that erupted on 1 August and then the presidential election result being challenged in court.
Although he won the court case with costs, opposition leader Nelson Chamisa insists that he won the elections and Mnangagwa is an illegitimate leader.
Chamisa tried to inaugurate himself at the weekend.
Masiyiwa also called for an end to sanctions because they were crippling the country.
Zimbabwe has been under European Union and United States sanctions since 2003.
The European Union lifted most of the sanctions except on former President Robert Mugabe, his wife Grace and the Zimbabwe Defence Industries.
The United States has refused to lift its sanctions but has amended the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA) to list things that Zimbabwe should do for it to lift sanctions.
“I think for instance the sanctions should be removed, there is no justification for them anymore,” Masiyiwa said.
“They should be removed. I have always been on record to say that the sanctions are not justified. Now we are almost 20 years into the sanctions. You can’t have one country operating with its hand tied behind its back.”