Around 200 visitors discussed with Strive Masiyiwa in Berlin about Africa's (green) future

December 06, 2018.  

On December 4, 2018, around 200 people attended the Youth Townhall Meeting with entrepreneur Strive Masiyiwa at the Humboldt University in Berlin to discuss  Africa's future. Among them were approximately 50 students from African countries such as Uganda, Ghana, Nigeria and Tanzania - most of them from Bonn University and ZEF - who currently study in Germany.

Watch the 1.40-hour video of the event <link https: external-link-new-window internal link in current>here (recorded and produced by Humboldt University).

Find impressions and photos on <link https: pg zefunibonn photos external-link-new-window internal link in current>Facebook (1.7 million people followed the event per livestream on Facebook!)


Read the unauthorized translation of the article published in on December 5, 2018 by Robert von Lucius (you can read the original article in German <link https: aktuell wirtschaft diginomics strive-masiyiwa-afrika-braucht-eine-gruene-revolution-15926129.html external-link-new-window internal link in current>here):

"Some of these young people met in the Senate Hall of the Humboldt University in Berlin. Among them were about 50 graduate students from Uganda and Ghana, Nigeria and Tanzania, who are pursuing their education at the Center for Development Research in Bonn - four-fifths of them will return to Africa. This evening was unusual in many respects: first because the audience consisted almost only of young Africans, many of them women, and there were not the usual old white men and government officials talking at events on Africa in the capital; second because they did not talk about the past but about the future; third because all questions and answers were short, concise and concrete; and fourth because when the moderator asked who would like to pose a question to the guest, almost every hand in the room was raised.

The main guest was the mobile phone entrepreneur Strive Masiyiwa, who is followed by more than three million "fans" on Facebook, more than any other entrepreneur in the world. The talk and discussion in Berlin were transmitted live on Facebook; and almost every second, comments came from every corner of English-speaking Africa.

Corruption is the biggest tragedy

Masiyiwa is now living in exile in London, but is still close to his homeland Zimbabwe. For many years he has financed the education of young Africans in schools and colleges, at any time 40,000, so far he supported a quarter of a million students. The ex-dictator of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, had driven him into exile with death threats because he cracked the state telephone monopoly with a successful lawsuit.

He would like to return home soon, Masiyiwa said. The founder of the pan-African Econet Group became a cult figure at an early age, calling for entrepreneurship and action through social networks.

Strive Masiyiwa in Berlin used practical examples to show how people can use technology to fight corruption in Africa – which he called the "biggest tragedy out there": with money allocations to small farmers, for example via "mobile wallets" (mobile, installed on a smartphone), bypassing a diversion by corrupt officials; through the use of blockchain technology to control cash flows at all times; or by publishing corruption attempts on Facebook. Again, he observes progress and confidence among the new generation and in the incredible energy of these young people - the average age of Africans is 19 years.

More on the subject

Masiyiwa called in Berlin upon the young academics to return to Africa and to work for agriculture. This is not a panacea in Africa, he says. But it offers great opportunities. In this century there will be ten to fifteen mega-cities in Africa, comparably the size of the Nigerian capital Lagos. This city has eight million inhabitants, which is twice as many people as in Berlin. These inhabitants will have to be nourished. In Nigeria, 70 percent of all people employed work in the agricultural sector, but they receive only one percent of all bank loans. Land rights are a problem: predominantly women work in rural areas, but they hardly ever possess land titles consolidated in the land register giving them security. Africa is the only continent so far without a "green revolution".

Masiysiwa, who is also Chairman of AGRA (Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa) calls on calls upon the young not to cling to governments, but to identify problems and solve them themselves. The former generation, such as Kwame Nkrumah and Julius Nyerere, as Africa's founding fathers, fulfilled their mission of decolonizing and liberating Africa. But these struggles and achievements as well as debates about African socialism belong to the past, and time should not be wasted on that. Now it is important to raise everyone's standard of living - that is the mission of this generation."

Our original event announcement is <link https: media-center events details article external-link-new-window internal link in current>here.



Heike Baumüller

Dr. Heike Baumüller