Tanzania’s Mohammed Dewji has emerged the richest man in East Africa and the youngest African billionaire. The 41-year-old is estimated to have a net worth of $1.4 billion.
Mo Dweji, as he is popularly called, has succeeded in putting his country on the map which has Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt and Morocco representing the continent in a global list dominated by the United States of America.
Personal Life – Wife, Family
Mo was born on May 8, 1975, in Ipembe, Singida, Tanzania. He was the second out of five children of Gulamabbas Dewji and Zubeda Dewji, a Shia Muslim family.
He attended Georgetown University in Washington D.C, graduating in 1998 with a Bachelors in International Business and Finance and a minor in Theology. Shortly after graduation, he returned to Tanzania to join the family business.
In 2001, Dewji married Saira and has been blessed with three children. They reside in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Mohammed Dewji is the CEO of METL, a Tanzanian conglomerate founded by his father in the 1970s. It is active in textile manufacturing, flour milling, beverages and edible oils in eastern, southern and central Africa.
The companies now valued at over $1bn was built from $26 million revenue within the space of 18 years (1999-2017).
He is Tanzania’s only billionaire, with business operations in at least six African countries. He has expressed his interest in expanding the business to several more countries.
The young entrepreneur said his next target is not just to expand his businesses to more countries but to also build the companies’ revenue base to $5bn by 2020 and to also employ 100,000 people across Africa.
Politics And Philanthropy
Mohammed Dewji is not just a shrewd businessman as perceived. He is a well-known Philanthropist and a former politician.
He served as a member of the Tanzanian parliament for 10 years after which he resigned from politics in October 2015.
In 2014, he established the Mo Dewji foundation which provides scholarships for poor Tanzanian children, improves accessibility to basic needs such as water and healthcare and agri-business community projects.
Mo Dewji has played an active role in his foundation and has encouraged others about the importance of philanthropy.
In addition to his foundation, Dewji joined the Giving Pledge, an effort that helps address society’s most pressing problems by inviting the world’s wealthiest individuals and families to commit to giving more than half of their wealth to philanthropy either during their lifetime or in their will.
Dewji is the first Tanzanian and one of the three Africans that have made the pledge in this group of 150+ billionaires which include Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Mark Zuckerberg, Strive Masiyiwa and Patrice Motsepe.
Mohammed Dewji’s Awards And Recognitions
Mohammed Dewji is recognized worldwide because of his excellent achievements and this has made him win many awards which include:
- 2012 – Young Global Leader Award by the World Economic Forum
- 2014 – 10 Most powerful men in Africa by Forbes Magazine
- 2014 – African Philanthropist of the Year Award by African Leadership Magazine
- 2014 – Top 100 of Young Economic Leaders
- 2015 – Receiver of Alhulbayt TV Award for excellence for contributions to the community.
- 2015 – Philanthropist of the Year Award for East African Region by All Africa Business Leaders Awards (AABLA)
- 2015 – Business Leader of the Year Award by African Business Magazine.
- 2015 – Forbes African Person of the Year Award 2015
- 2016 – Choiseul 100 Africa 2016: Economic Leaders for Tomorrow
- 2017 – Recipient of the African CEO of the Year 2017 Award at The African CEOs Forum 2017.
Dewji once said people in Tanzania look at his wealth and think he must be sunbathing and playing golf all day, but that he works really hard, putting in hundreds of hours just to be where he is today.
This is just for those out there who think that success falls from a tree and to those who think that because you have become a billionaire then you have nothing to worry about.
Now you see you have to worry about maintaining your wealth while helping others to succeed and create impact in the world. If he can be a billionaire at the age of 42, then you too can, with hard work and determination.