Ashish J. Thakkar is the Chair of the United Nations Foundation's Global Entrepreneurship Council (GEC), and Executive Chairman of Mara Sokoni, an African e-commerce platform with a focus on B2C marketplace for general merchandise. He is also the Founder of Mara Group and Mara Foundation. Ashish has driven the growth of the Mara Group from a small IT business in Uganda to the globally recognized multi-sector investment group that exists today. Through its investments, Mara Group now employs over 11,000 people across 25 African countries in sectors spanning technology, banking, real estate and infrastructure. Ashish is the author of The Lion Awakes: Adventures in Africa’s Economic Miracle. In 2012, Ashish was appointed a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in recognition of his success and leadership in driving social and economic change in Africa. He is also a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Africa.