The National Geographic Society has announced the election of Strive Masiyiwa to its board of trustees. Masiyiwa is the founder and chairman of the Econet Group, a telecommunications, media and technology company with operations and investments in 29 countries.
The announcement of his selection was made by Jean Case, chairman of the Society’s board of trustees, and Tracy R. Wolstencroft, the organization’s president and chief executive officer.
“We are delighted to welcome Strive to the National Geographic Society board of trustees,” said Case. “An impact-driven nonprofit like the Society requires leadership that reflects the complex interdependent world in which we live. With his significant international business, entrepreneurial and philanthropic experience, Strive will provide the global perspective and expertise we need to achieve our mission.”
Masiyiwa currently serves on the board of Unilever, the transnational consumer goods company, as well as the global advisory boards of the Council on Foreign Relations and Stanford University.
In 2013, the United Nations and the World Bank named him to the advisory board of the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative. In addition, he is a trustee of the Asia Society; a member of the Committee on Conscience of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum; and was part of the Founders Circle of the Carbon War Room, an initiative created by Sir Richard Branson to promote market-based, low-carbon energy solutions to combat climate change.
Masiyiwa has also built a legacy of extensive philanthropic work across Africa. He is chairman of the board of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, which is working to improve food security and income levels for 30 million farming households by 2021.
Committed to the next generation of African entrepreneurs, Masiyiwa mentors young people from across the continent on his Facebook page, reaching more than 3.5 million followers. He and his wife, Tsitsi, also founded the Higher Life Foundation, which has supported the education of more than 250,000 orphaned and vulnerable children in Africa over the past two decades.
“Strive’s profound knowledge of Africa will be extremely valuable as we partner with local scientists, conservation professionals and government officials to safeguard some of the Earth’s last wild places such as Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique, the sub-Saharan Okavango River Basin and Benin’s Pendjari National Park,” said Wolstencroft. “As the National Geographic Society looks toward helping to conserve 30 percent of the planet by 2030, Strive’s insights will be critical to our success.”
By signing the Giving Pledge, Masiyiwa and his wife have publicly declared that they will donate at least half of their assets to charitable causes. In recognition of the global reach of Masiyiwa’s work, Fortune magazine named him to its list of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders” in 2014 and 2017.