43: From Orphan to Entrepreneur: Musanga Logistics CEO Njavwa Mutambo

 
Njavwa Mutambo says he was orphaned at age 7, but that hasn't stopped him from working to build the tech startup scene in Zambia.

Njavwa Mutambo says he was orphaned at age 7, but that hasn't stopped him from working to build the tech startup scene in Zambia.

Njavwa Mutambo is the CEO of Musanga Logistics, a delivery company in Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia. 

Technology has the potential to transform economies in Africa, empower small businesses, lower costs – but before any of that can happen, there are some basic challenges. One of those is the cost of delivery. 

That's where Njavwa, and Musanga Logistics come in. He's using bicycle couriers and people who own trucks and need side-work, Uber-style – to connect people in Zambia like it's never been done before. 

Mutambo is by far the youngest guest I've ever had on the Fortt Knox Podcast. I met him by chance during a visit to Silicon Valley this summer. I was giving a talk at a venture capital firm, Goodwater Capital, and he was there. He asked me about coverage of African startups, told me what he was doing, and I just had to hear more. 

And that's really a big part of what Fortt Knox is about – that's why it rich ideas and powerful people. Whenever I can talk to someone who's doing something extraordinary that shifts the way I think about business, achievement, making the world better, I want to bring you that. 

So I invited Njavwa to CNBC's bureau at One Market Street in San Francisco. He described his vision for bringing more sophisticated e-commerce to the African continent, his path from impoverished orphan to tech entrepreneur, and what he learned from seeing Silicon Valley – and America – up close for the first time.