Home » Ten of the richest businessmen in Tanzania — most of whom you’ve likely never heard of

Ten of the richest businessmen in Tanzania — most of whom you’ve likely never heard of

by Omokolade Ajayi

Tanzania, Africa’s 10th-richest economy by gross output and the continent’s sixth most populous country, is home to successful businessmen who have amassed fortunes amounting to the millions of dollars from businesses and deals within and outside the East African country.

Despite ranking low in terms of living standards and the economic wealth of individuals, with a real GDP per capita of $976, Tanzania ranks eighth in Africa with a private wealth of $54 billion, $6-billion more than the private wealth held by individuals in Angola.

According to a wealth report by AfrAsia Bank, the country is presently home to one billionaire, 80 multimillionaires and more than 2,300 individuals who are worth more than $1 million.

Mohammed Dewji, the CEO of METL Group, is the only Tanzanian businessman who has a net worth of more than $1 billion.

According to data compiled by Billionaires.Africa, here is a list of Tanzania’s wealthiest people.

#1 Mohammed Dewji

Source: Conglomerate

Mohammed Dewji is a Tanzanian billionaire businessman and former politician. He is the owner and CEO of MeTL Group, a Tanzanian conglomerate founded by his father in the 1970s.

MeTL Group maintains active operations in textile manufacturing, flour milling, beverages and edible oils in East, Southern and Central Africa.

As of press time, Dec. 13, Dewji has an estimated net worth of $1.6 billion, making him the 17th richest person and the youngest billionaire on the African continent.

Recently, the billionaire handed a Tsh20-billion ($8.6 million) check to Simba Sports Club (Simba SC) for a 49-percent equity stake in the business.

#2 Rostam Aziz

Source: Conglomerate 

Rostam Aziz is a leading Tanzanian politician, businessman and economist. He was reportedly the first Tanzanian to have a net worth of over $1 billion, according to Forbes in 2013.

As of 2015, he had a net worth of $900 million, making him one of the richest businessmen in the country.

Aziz amassed the majority of his wealth from his stake in Vodacom Tanzania, the country’s largest telecom service provider. In 2014, the Tanzanian billionaire sold a 17-percent stake in Vodacom Tanzania to Vodacom Group South Africa for an estimated $250 million.

Aside from his business interest in Vodacom Tanzania, the leading businessman also owns Caspian Mining, a contract mining firm in Tanzania, as well as real estate in Dubai and Oman.

Earlier this year, Aziz donated $430,000 in equipment and supplies in his country to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in public places.

#3 Said Salim Bakhresa

Source: Conglomerate

Said Salim Bakhresa is a Tanzanian business tycoon and founder and chairman of Bakhresa Group, a Tanzania-based industrial conglomerate with investments in agribusiness, beverages, logistics, media, oil trading, recycling, entertainment and packaging.

The group is one of the largest in the region, with operations spread in the Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar, Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Rwanda, Burundi, Zimbabwe and South Africa. 

The businessman derived the majority of his wealth from his business interests in Bakhresa Group. His four sons Mohamed, Omar, Abubakar and Yusuf Said Salim Bakhresa serve as executive directors on the company’s board. 

#4 Ally Awadh 

Source: Energy

Forty-year-old Tanzanian businessman Ally Edha Awadh ranks as one of the wealthiest individuals in Tanzania, having built one of East Africa’s fastest-growing energy trading and transportation conglomerates.

The Tanzanian businessman amassed the majority of his fortune from Lake Oil Group, an energy group that he built into a $1-billion-in-revenue-generating behemoth in less than 15 years.

Lake Oil Group operates as a holding for other verticals such as Lake Trans, Lake Gas, Gulf Cement and Concrete Products, with its most recent addition being African Inland Container Depot.

The group maintains active operations spread across every region of Tanzania and the neighboring countries of Zambia, Democratic of Congo, Burundi, Rwanda and Kenya.

#5 Shekhar Kanabar

Source: Conglomerate 

Shekhar Kanabar is the CEO of Synarge Group, a 50-year-old family-owned Tanzanian conglomerate with investments and active operations in manufacturing, battery recycling and automotive spare parts.

The 35-year-old businessman amassed the majority of his wealth from family investments and through Synarge Group, the family business that his father founded in the 1960s.

Since the conglomerate’s founding in the 1960s, it has evolved from a cloth-trading business in Dar es Salaam to become a multi-industry enterprise with more than 150 employees and millions of dollars in revenue through Kanakabar’s strategic decisions.

#6 Ghalib Said Mohamed

Source: Conglomerate, Investment

Ghalib Said Mohamed is an entrepreneur, investor and owner of Silent Ocean Tanzania and GSM Group. 

Mohamed, who was an Afro-pop singer, picked up his interest in business and entrepreneurship at an early age, while working in his father’s cashew-farming and general-trading business.

Some of the skills that he learned while working for his father became useful when he founded GSM, a broad-based conglomerate with investments in retail, transportation, logistics, media, manufacturing, real estate, retailing and financial services.

The Tanzanian multimillionaire amassed the majority of his fortune from his business interests through GSM. The group employs more than 2,000 direct employees and in the process has created a multitude of other indirect jobs.

#7 Fida Hussein Rashid

Source: Real Estate, Automotive

Fida Hussein Rashid is a Tanzanian businessman who has built a fortune from his real estate investments, as well as Africarriers Group, a company that he founded in 1973 as a retailer of second-hand vehicles in Tanzania.

The company has since evolved from a pioneer in the trading of second-hand vehicles in Tanzania into a leading player in the automotive industry.

Africarriers is known as one of the first companies in East Africa to import Japanese cars such as Toyota in East Africa. It is an exclusive distributor of brands such as Eicher and Golden Dragon.

#8 Yusuf Manji

Source: Conglomerate

Yusuf Manji is a Dar es Salaam-based businessman who leads Quality Group Limited (QGL), one of the most reputed business brands in Tanzania, a $700-million conglomerate operating in a broad range of sectors, including automobiles, real estate, facilities and trade.

In addition to his work with QGL, Manji is the chairman of Young Africans SC, arguably the most successful football club in Tanzania.

Earlier this year, the Tanzanian businessman was arrested by the Tanzanian anti-corruption agency on allegations of fraud and tax evasion. 

Salum Hamduni, the director-general of Tanzania’s corruption watchdog, Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau, confirmed the arrest, stating that the magnate was questioned for causing losses to the government by evading taxes and partaking in fraudulent deals.

#9 Yogesh Manek

Source: Financial Services 

Yogesh Manek is a leader in Tanzania’s financial services industry. The banker is the renowned founder and executive chairman of MAC Group Limited. He is also the chairman of Heritage Insurance (T) Company and Exim Bank (Tanzania) Limited, as well as and the executive chairman of MAC Group.

Manek scripted numerous success stories in the East African country. His most prominent business is Exim Bank, one of the largest lenders in Tanzania in terms of its customer and asset base.

#10 Haroon Zakaria

Source: Agro-Allied 

Haroon Zakaria is a Tanzanian entrepreneur who founded Murzah Oil, one of East Africa’s leading manufacturers of edible oils, toilet and laundry soaps, vegetable cooking fat, baking fat and margarine.

Since the company’s founding in 1997, it has grown into a leading player in the country, with a revenue of more than $100 million annually.

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