Zimbabwe is a beautiful African country with its moments. The landlocked country is notorious for its unstable economic situation with 80% of it 1.4 million population living under the poverty line. The economic downfall was solely based on their participation in the war in Democratic Republic of Congo which ran from 1998 to 2002. Zimbabwe had suspended its own currency at some point due to the hyperinflation crisis it had experienced.
With a GDP growth of just 1.1%, and a GDP Per Capita of $900 million, Zimbabwe might be slowly recovering from the economic turmoil that President Mugabe brought about. The country still has a long way to go. Unemployment rate stands at 95% with inflation at -2.4%, according to Forbes. Nevertheless Zimbabwe has some industries which are very profitable and especially to those who have invested in them. These individuals have defied the odds to become the richest Zimbabweans.
Here are the some of the Top 10 Richest Zimbabweans 2017
10. Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa $100 million
It is common knowledge that evangelism is big ‘’business’’ in Africa (no pun intended). Pastors, prophets and ministers gather huge following that translates into cash, and self-proclaimed Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa is no exception. He founded the Apostolic Faith Mission in Zimbabwe and his controversial preaching style including claiming to cure HIV, earned him enough following to fill up a football stadium, literally. He is also a prominent businessman, with political connections, philanthropy and is a close personal friend to President Mugabe.
9. Ezekiel Handinawangu Guti $130 million
Ezekiel Guti is an Evangelistic Minister and founder of the Zimbabwe Assemblies of God, with over 2000 churches spread across 122 nations, worldwide. He is also a televangelist and author of 69 books. His church, ZAOGA, is recognized as Forward in Faith Ministries, and has used the church to build a total of seven biblical colleges in Ghana, Zambia and Mozambique. Guti has also built a hospital, the Mbuya Dorcas Health Centre under the church’s umbrella. With over 4,000 pastors worldwide and 50,000 believers in Zimbabwe alone, Ezekiel’s evangelistic legacy is close to being timeless.
8. Shingai Mutasa – $142 million
Shingai Mutasa studied in London, earning a degree in Economics. He later returned to his home country Zimbabwe to pursue entrepreneurship. He joined a family owned marketing and distribution firm, where he turned it into a multi-million dollar commodity trading company. He then acquired a majority stake at TA Holdings, and BP Oil refining company enroute to becoming one of the richest men in the country. His mergers and acquisitions business strategy propelled granted him his multi-million dollar empire.
7. Dr. John Panonetsa Mangudya – $150 million
Central Bank of Zimbabwe governor Dr. Mangudya made his money working for the top most financial institution in Zimbabwe. Controversial as this may sound, he might be holding a doctorate, but it was unaccredited and the University in which he claimed to have sourced the doctorate from (Washington International University) confirmed a fake university. Part of his fortune can also be traced back to Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries where he served as a non-executive officer.
6. Philip Chiyangwa – $288 million
Philip Chiyangwa is a politician, businessman and current president of ZIFA (Zimbabwe Football Association). His political profile gained traction when he was elected as a Member of the Zimbabwe parliament under the ZANU party. Around 2004, President Robert Mugabe detained Chiyangwa on treason charges. He is believed to have been tortured to a point of having a stroke. After the horrendous ordeal at the hands of the CIO, Mugabe’s own paramilitary outfit, he quit politics and is now a fully-fledged businessman. He co-founded the Affirmative Action Group with fellow businessman the late Peter Pamire.
5. Nic Van Hoogstraten – $500 million
Nic is a British real estate magnet who is known for his highly controversial lifestyle. Nic has faced crime charges due to his violent nature when it comes to rival businessmen. He owned over 2000 properties which he sold to focus on other ventures which were mainly based in Zimbabwe. He has very close ties with President Robert Mugabe. Nic owns over 1600 square miles of land including Central Estates and has mineral rights in the Marange diamond fields.
4. Billy Rautenbach – $568 million
The Harare born 57 year old has had a very extensive business empire which spread to a lot of African countries earning him the nickname ‘Napoleon of Africa’. He mainly deals with trucking, car manufacturing, farming and mining. He is also an active rally racer alongside his son Conrad. One of his breakthroughs was when a mining company he was involved in was listed on the London Stock Exchange and had mining operations in DRC.
3. Dr. James Makamba – $600 million
Perhaps one of the few genuine businessmen and philanthropists from Zimbabwe, Dr. Makamba’s fortunes lie in the mining, communications and agriculture industries, and also has major interests in the property and digital publishing. He studied abroad and earned his MBA at California Coast University, and his Business Leadership doctorate (honorary) from St. Luis University, Dominica. He runs the James Makamba Foundation, focusing on uplifting entrepreneurial and community development initiatives for the youth in Zimbabwe.
2. John Bredenkamp – $700 million
The 76 year old who was a rugby union player is also the founder of Casalee Group. The company mainly deals with tobacco sale and distribution. Bredenkamp has also been a key figure in some of the country’s political activities though behind the scenes. His net worth is currently said to be originating from tobacco trading, grey market arms dealing, sports marketing and diamond mining. The Casalee Group is the fifth largest tobacco maker in the world and the biggest non US leaf tobacco company with offices all around the world. John however sold the company and expanded his business to other areas using the Breco Company.
1. Strive Masiyiwa – $1.4 billion
The London based entrepreneur who received his alma mater from the University Of Wales is the founder and executive chairman of the telecommunications group Econet Wireless. Masiyiwa is also a member of the Africa Progress Panel, individuals who are tasked with advocating for equitable and sustainable development in Africa. He has also been listed as one of Africa’s most generous humanitarians. His company is the second largest company in Zimbabwe by market capitalization. He has a lot of accolades to his name in the business sector and also from Forbes magazine.
Zimbabwe has been ranked 132nd best country to do business, with monetary freedom rising steadily due to the recovering mining and agricultural sectors. Perhaps the diamond mines will yield more karat soon, to reduce the public debt that currently stands at 45% above the GDP. Zimbabwe is a passionate African country, with their religious and social roots firmly supported by the community based leadership style Robert Mugabe instilled over the thirty years he has been in power. The political atmosphere is however struggling, and the legislative organ of government will need a couple more years to stabilize and take Zimbabwe to where they belong in terms of economic prosperity. Unemployment being one of the worst in the world, a change in regime is imminent, as Robert Mugabe can only stay in power for so long.