“I used to have several regrets, but I realised that some of the mistakes I made helped shape me to become the person I am today. If I had not made those mistakes, I would never have been in the position I am today. I leant from my mistakes and rose from them. I can now encourage and inspire other people to do better without them having to make the same mistakes I made.”
This is how Zimbabwean born Malvin Chiwanga (41), a businessman, entrepreneur, and philanthropist aptly puts his life experiences as he narrates how his life turned around after making a huge mistake in his thirties.
It seems fate had already started to map out his life path when it handed him handcuffs resulting in him spending four years of his life behind bars in a United Kingdom prison.
This huge mistake, however, turned Chiwanga’s life around. This time fate had other plans for him drenching him in oil when during his incarceration he met his business partner Russian Vlad Khodorkovsky.
Khodorkovsky is the CEO of KEM-VLAD Petroleum, a petroleum company based in Russia.
Today his past is now history and a lesson for many young people never to let a negative phase in life determine the future.
Now currently serving as the founder and CEO of Matrix Petroleum – an international petroleum company based in Guernsey, where he is responsible for leading the development and execution of the company’s strategies, Chiwanga has remained focused as he continues to rebuild his life.
Given that he is in a foreign land and the conviction, entering the petroleum industry in terms of trust issues with investors was no stroll in park.
“It was very complex because everyone is judged on their past, and not the present so I had to start from scratch in rebuilding my name and reputation,” Chiwanga who also serves as Chairman of Matrix Group, providing leadership to the board, and is responsible for the board’s composition and development recently revealed.
Now a multi-millionaire with a business empire spreading across seven countries, Chiwanga believes success is never by accident.
“You have to work for it. And never give up on your dreams,” he pointed out.
With fuel challenges back in Zimbabwe that time, Chiwanga had one thing on his mind- help find a solution to end shortages.
“Matrix Petroleum was formed as a result of a problem I identified in Zimbabwe where fuel shortages were becoming the norm, leading to day-to-day life and business operations being affected.
“In 2018 I met a guy called Vlad who is a petroleum mogul from Russia, who went on to become a dear friend,” he revealed.
According to Chiwanga, Khodorkovsky introduced him to this business.
“He helped me get started once I told him of the challenges being faced with this commodity in my home country,” he revealed.
Chiwanga said they currently supply seven countries in Africa, including Zimbabwe.
Being a Zimbabwean in the diaspora and leading a company that distributes petroleum products around the world makes Chiwanga excited and eager to continue putting the country on the map.
He said the industry in Zimbabwe is also competitive, and difficult to navigate at times with the rules and regulations changing constantly.
He also said globally, petroleum prices can be very complex as every country has their own set of rules and regulations, which then influence the fuel prices.
“We are lucky in that we have an experienced team of industry experts at Matrix Petroleum, some who even held director positions at big industry players such as BP. Our team is well versed with each country we service’s rules and regulations which has helped give us a competitive edge,” he pointed out.
Being black and having made it on the global market, his views on indigenisation and black owned businesses in Africa are clear- a lot still needs to be done.
“We still have a long way to go. I think corruption is our weakest point. The current narrative around doing business in Africa is ‘It’s impossible to succeed in Africa without cutting corners or having to pay someone to get something’.
“We need to be more united as a nation in order to change this. If you look at the way business is done in first word countries, you will see that it is very different to what is accepted in Zimbabwe. We have to all make the decision to do better in order to build a strong economy.” Herald.