Tech Champions

‘We’ve done the heavy lifting,’ says Cassava Technologies’ Hardy Pemhiwa

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This article is part of the dossier:

Top 50 tech champions

By Nicholas Norbrook

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Posted on April 8, 2022 16:50


For Liquid Intelligent Technologies (#167), the pandemic has produced yet another example of Africa leapfrogging. “We saw a five-times increase in data throughput,” says Hardy Pemhiwa, the chief executive of Liquid’s holding company, Cassava Technologies, recalling the huge demands suddenly placed on its vast fibre-optic network on the continent in 2020. Many companies were forced to digitalise to survive.

This is part 9 of an 11-part series.

Cassava Technologies was created to house the new ambitions of Strive Masiyiwa, the Zimbabwean founder of Econet Wireless and elder statesman of African tech. Masiyiwa now wants to “create a digitally connected future that leaves no African behind”, Pemhiwa says. Cassava separates Econet Wireless from the digital infrastructure and digital services business – essentially the fibre network, cloud services and data centres.

The Econet Wireless ecosystem, comprising the mobile-money business in Zimbabwe and mobile-phone networks in Zimbabwe, Burundi, Lesotho and Botswana, produces around $250m of annual earnings before deductions, says Pemhiwa. “And that is really because of exchange rates –otherwise, that is easily half a billion dollars in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation,” he adds.

He estimates Cassava Technologies to be

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