Masiyiwa upbeat on increased FDI to Africa
… as Ajay Banga is nominated new World Bank president
BILLIONAIRE entrepreneur and Econet group founder Strive Masiyiwa, has expressed optimism that Africa is set to receive increased foreign direct investment in the coming years, following the nomination of Ajay Banga as World Bank president.
Writing on his social media blog — where he mentors African entrepreneurs — Masiyiwa said the appointment of Banga, a seasoned business leader and former executive chairman of MasterCard, could be a game-changer for Africa and its entrepreneurs.
Banga was last month nominated by United States President Joe Biden to be the World Bank president, replacing David Malpass, who recently announced his resignation.
“To be honest with you, I’m very pleased with this choice, because I happen to know … Banga and have always been impressed by what he did at MasterCard.
“Anyone who can take a $20bn company and grow it 10 times to over $200bn is always going to get my attention. But that isn’t all…. Banga, who was born in India, has a real passion for Africa and that is how we first met,” he said.
Masiyiwa noted that Banga helped set up the MasterCard Foundation, the only global foundation to focus almost exclusively on Africa, and moved its headquarters to Kigali in Rwanda.
“During the pandemic, when we were desperately trying to raise billions of dollars to buy vaccines, the Mastercard Foundation chipped in with $500 million for vaccines and almost $2 billion to support the Africa Centre For Disease Control,” he said.
“After hearing about his nomination, I reached out to Ajay almost immediately and approachable as ever, Ajay said; ‘Strive I want to hear your thoughts about how I can help Africa realise its vast potential”, Masiyiwa said.
He added that they met right away, since he happened to be in New York at the time.
“Ajay, I want to talk to you about Africa’s young entrepreneurs and how they can help transform our continent,” I told him. He beamed broadly, and said: ‘“I’m keen to hear from you about this. Remember I’m from business and I know you.”’
“We need to help Africa’s young entrepreneurs get better access to venture capital and to ensure proper infrastructure that supports economic activity. Africa needs real investment to support growth.
“We get less FDI than Singapore which has a population of 4 million compared to our 1.3 billion,” Masiyiwa said as he shared his passion for Africa’s entrepreneurs and economic development with Banga.
The serial entrepreneur added that Banga is the right man for the World Bank top post and could help Africa to thrive.
“I’m not saying he will deliver, but it’s not every day that we get a candidate for this job who has his credentials. Let’s give him a chance. It could be a game changer,” Masiyiwa said.
Banga began his global tour last week, with his first stop in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, where he met African Development Bank group president Akinwumi Adesina, his senior management and the board of directors.
Banga spoke about the need for the World Bank Group to develop a strong partnership with the African Development Bank Group that would help deliver transformative results.
The former Mastercard CEO emphasised the role of technology in helping to tackle challenges facing the world. He also talked about the role of the private sector in mobilising much-needed capital resources for significant economic development.
He said this applied both to private sector capital, as well as to private sector ingenuity and innovation, which are needed to tackle the many challenges facing the world.