Zimbabwean billionaire and Telecoms entrepreneur Strive Masiyiwa has promised to donate at least $600 000 to help children orphaned by the devastating Cyclone Idai.
Masiyiwa made the announcement in a Facebook post, while announcing a fundraising campaign launched by his children called Pledge Idai: #TheNextMile which aims to raise $200,000 in 45 days to help support rescue and recovery efforts, as well as help fund the crucial work of rebuilding devastated communities.
The Zimbabwean billionaire said he will donate up to $200,000 to Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique – the three countries hit by Cyclone Idai. According to Masiyiwa, the funds raised will be professionally administered by his philanthropic organization, Higherlife Foundation and his UK-based charity called Delta Philanthropies.
“We have identified partners in each country and will of course report back periodically on what exactly they do with the money. Accountability is key,” he said.
Tropical Cyclone Idai, one of the worst tropical cyclones on record to affect Africa and the Southern Hemisphere as a whole, has caused catastrophic damage in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, leaving at least 900 people dead and hundreds more missing. More than 300,000 people across the three countries were displaced. Communications are still difficult and road impassable. According to Wikipedia, Idai is the second-deadliest tropical cyclone recorded in the South-West Indian Ocean basin, behind only the 1892 Mauritius cyclone. The UN World Food Program has classified Cyclone Idai as a level-three emergency (on par with Yemen, Syria and South Sudan) as hundreds of thousands of people still have little or no access to clean water and food, especially as smallholder crops were destroyed right before harvest. The risk of cholera outbreak and spread of malaria is increasing.
Strive Masiyiwa, 58, is one of Africa’s most philanthropic billionaires. The Zimbabwean telecoms mogul is the founder of Econet Wireless Group, a company that owns mobile telecoms operations across several African countries. He is also the founder of Liquid Telecom, which provides fiber optic and satellite services to telecom firms across Africa. Along with his wife, Tsitsi, the Zimbabwean billionaire is the founder of the Higherlife Foundation, which has paid the school fees of more than 50,000 orphaned children in Zimbabwe. Forbes Magazine estimates his net worth at $2 billion.