Mohammed Dewji is Tanzania and Africa’s youngest billionaire with a whopping net worth of $1.5 billion, according to the Forbes magazine.
In the vast landscape of Africa’s economy, one name shines brighter than the rest – Mohammed Dewji. At the tender age of 38, he not only became the youngest billionaire in Tanzania but also one of the most influential figures on the continent. With a staggering net worth of $1.5 billion, Dewji has captured the attention of the world with his rise to prominence.
Tanzania, a low middle-income country in East Africa, has been steadily making its mark on the global economy. With a GDP estimated at $71 billion (nominal) or $218.5 billion on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis as of 2021, according to the International Monetary Fund, the nation has proven that it is a force to be reckoned with. However, what truly sets Tanzania apart is the presence of Mohammed Dewji and his immense contributions to the country’s growth.
Dewji is the CEO of METL conglomerate, an influential player in Tanzania’s economic landscape. His journey to success began with humble beginnings, as he inherited his family’s trading business and transformed it into a powerhouse conglomerate. Today, METL spans a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, agriculture, real estate, and trading. Under Dewji’s astute leadership, the conglomerate has become an economic powerhouse, generating substantial revenue and creating employment opportunities for thousands of Tanzanians.
Forbes magazine, known for its annual rankings of the world’s wealthiest individuals, first recognized Dewji’s immense wealth in 2013. At the age of 38, he made his debut on the prestigious Forbes Billionaires Index, a feat that catapulted him to national and international fame. Since then, Dewji’s net worth has continued to grow, solidifying his position as Tanzania’s wealthiest individual and earning him the title of Africa’s youngest billionaire.
Dewji’s rise to prominence is not only a testament to his entrepreneurial spirit and business acumen but also a reflection of his commitment to social responsibility. He is a firm believer in giving back to the community and has made significant contributions to various philanthropic causes.
Through his foundation, Dewji Foundation, he has invested in education, healthcare, and poverty alleviation initiatives, making a positive impact on the lives of countless Tanzanians.
Biography of Mohammed Dewji
Mohammed Dewji was born in Ipembe, Singida, Tanzania, as one of six children in his family. His ancestors were Twelver Shias who relocated from Gujarat, India to East Africa in search of trade opportunities during the late 1800s.
To pursue further education, Mohammed attended the Arnold Palmer Golf College and Trinity Preparatory School for Grade 11 in Orlando, Florida. In 1998, he successfully completed his studies at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., earning a degree in international trade and finance with a minor in theology.
The Family business
Dewji returned to Tanzania and joined his father’s company, METL (Mohammed Enterprises Tanzania Limited), which was established in 1970. Under Dewji’s leadership, the company experienced remarkable growth, with revenues skyrocketing from $30 million in 1999 to an astounding $2 billion by 2022.
Today, METL has a diverse portfolio spanning textiles, energy, petroleum, agriculture, insurance, mobile telephony, transport and logistics, trading, real estate, and food and beverages.
With his expertise and vision as a seasoned businessman, Mohammed Dewji successfully expanded METL’s operations across eight countries. The company currently employs over 34,800 people and contributes approximately 3.3% to Tanzania’s GDP.
As the largest home-grown company in Tanzania and with a presence in 11 African countries including Uganda Ethiopia Kenya Rwanda Burundi Zambia Mozambique Malawi DR Congo and Tanzania,METL holds a prominent position in the region.
In addition to his entrepreneurial achievements,Dewji served as a Member of Parliament from 2005 to 2015,having represented Singida,the town he hails from.Subsequently,his focus shifted towards his business ventures,and he stepped away from politics.
Dewji’s accomplishments have garnered international recognition.Forbes has consistently listed him as Africa’s 15th richest person since 2022.He has held the title of the youngest billionaire on the continent for six consecutive years.In 2013,Dewji graced the cover of Forbes Africa magazine,and he was honoured as Forbes Person of the Year in 2015.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa also recognized Dewji’s expertise by appointing him to serve on the investment advisory council for the Republic of South Africa in 2021.
Mohammed Dewji’s Philanthropy
Mohammed Dewji’s impact goes beyond the realms of commerce and politics. In 2014, he established the Mo Dewji Foundation, which focuses on initiatives in education, health, community development, water accessibility, and gender empowerment to enhance the well-being of Tanzanians.
Dewji’s dedication to philanthropy is evident through his commitment to the Giving Pledge. In 2016, he joined this esteemed community of billionaires who have pledged to donate over half of their wealth to charitable causes either during their lifetime or afterwards. Notable members include Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Mark Zuckerberg.
In addition to his charitable endeavours, Dewji is an avid investor in sports. He holds a 49% stake in Simba Sports Club, Tanzania’s largest and most popular sports club.
However, it is important to note that Dewji faced a harrowing incident in October 2018 when he was reportedly kidnapped at gunpoint in Dar es Salaam. Fortunately, after nine days of captivity, he was released unharmed.
The journey of Mohammed Dewji from a small trading company to becoming a global economic powerhouse is truly remarkable. His commitment to philanthropy exemplifies his extraordinary impact not only on Tanzania but also on Africa as a whole.