Other Things

How Malawi’s Mike Mlombwa went from beggar to billionaire

07:13 AM 2016

Mike Mlombwa

Mike Mlombwa is a Malawian businessman and a billionaire in the country’s local currency. He owns Countrywide Car Hire, a vehicle rental and chauffeuring service operating in major cities, airports and hotels across Malawi. He has also recently ventured into the hospitality business with the construction of hotels. Today he is considered one of the country’s business success stories and has given talks globally.

But Mlombwa’s story began in poverty – a fact he hopes will be a source of inspiration for others. He grew up in the southern border district of Mwanza and lived with various families who were able to pay for his primary education in exchange for odd jobs.

“My mom was very poor… So, in the village, I grew up with several people who paid my school fees,” he recalled.

“In the afternoon I would come back from school to work in gardens or look after cattle or whatever.”

But, after completing his primary schooling, he was unable to find anyone in his district that would fund his high school education. And so Mlombwa made a 60km journey – on foot – to the commercial capital Blantyre. With no income or place to live, he visited churches looking for assistance and eventually found part-time employment that allowed him to complete his secondary schooling.

“One family took me in as a servant. I was working… but I was going to school where I did my Form 1-4.”

Mlombwa then started selling stationary and used his earnings to buy a second-hand car so he could travel across borders to buy stock from wholesalers in Mozambique, Zambia and South Africa. He then managed to acquire a second vehicle, and then a third.

“But the business became flooded [by competitors], especially from India… So I sat down and thought: ‘What should I do?’

“Then the idea of opening a care hire company came into my mind.”

To read more about Mr MIombwa visit here


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