Doing business in Africa? Four things you should know about, from one of the region’s most successful entrepreneurs
“2017 will be the year the continent bounces back,” says African entrepreneur Mohammed Dewji.
Mohammed Dewji is a businessman, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and former politician. He serves as the President of MeTL Group, a Tanzanian conglomerate founded by his father in the 1970s where he is the majority owner of the business. Mohammed is single-handedly responsible for increasing MeTL’s revenues from $30 million to over $1.5 billion between 1999 and 2015. Currently, the MeTL group has investments in textiles, energy, petroleum, agriculture, insurance, mobile telephony, transport and logistics, trading, real estate, and food and beverages (edible oils, milling, carbonated soft drinks, water). The group is conducting business in 8 countries and employs over 28,000 people. MeTL’s operations contribute ~3.5% of Tanzania’s GDP.
Mohammed served as Member of Parliament from 2005 – 2015 for his home town of Singida, after which he resigned from politics. In 2019, Forbes magazine listed him as the 14th richest person in Africa, with an estimated net worth of US$1.9 billion, also noted as the youngest billionaire on the content. Mohammed was also the first Tanzanian billionaire on the cover of Forbes Africa magazine in 2013.
In addition to his many endeavours in the business arena, Mohammed also has demonstrated an exemplary record of contributing to the well-being of the people of his country via the Mo Dewji Foundation which he established in 2014. The scope of his contributions covers education, health, and community development projects.
Most recently Mohammed joined the Giving Pledge – an initiative started by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. This pledge is an effort to help 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 upon their deaths. Mohammed is the first Tanzanian and one of the few Africans that have made the pledge in this group of 150+ billionaires, some of whom include Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and Mark Zuckerberg.