Matabeleland to get $25m from Econet

By Staff reporter | 09 Feb 2019 at 20:33hrs
Matabeleland provinces will get 25 percent of the $100m Econet Challenge Fund announced this week by the firm's founder and executive chairman Mr Strive Masiyiwa and his wife Tsitsi to support rural entrepreneurs.

The fund is part of the couple's extensive philanthropic work in Zimbabwe and across Africa.

Mr Masiyiwa said in a statement that women would get a minimum of 50 percent, while traditional businesses like stores and grinding mills would be excluded from benefiting from the fund. The fund is being financed from their personal resources and would be disbursed as loans through Steward Bank, a member of the Econet group.

"My wife and I have decided to set up a special fund of $100m over 5 years for ReImagine Rural in Zimbabwe. We have also challenged our friends in the philanthropy community to join us to expand it across Africa.

"The fund which is our own personal money will be disbursed as loans through Steward Bank (a member of the Econet group). The money will support projects from rural entrepreneurs or those entrepreneurs willing to focus on rural areas," he said.

Conditions for the fund are that the minimum loan would be $1 000, while the maximum was $10 000. In addition, beneficiaries will not be asked for collateral while the maximum interest was 5 percent.

Mr Masiyiwa said repayments would go into a revolving fund and all entrepreneurs must undergo training before accessing the loans.

"I want to use this initiative to challenge global donors to support mass entrepreneurship in Africa by putting my own money into what I believe. My wife is currently on a major drive to get this concept adopted by other philanthropists, so we can push into other African countries.

"This initiative does not reduce our commitment to other areas of our philanthropy efforts including education and the $60m sanitation and water initiative in Harare."



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