Meet Mohammed Dewji, the founder and CEO of Mohammed Enterprises Tanzania Limited (MeTL) and the youngest millionaire in Africa, according to Billionaires Africa.
Dewji was recognized a billionaire by Forbes Magazine in 2015, at the age of 40. According to Billionaires Africa, he is still the richest young man in East Africa, with a claimed net worth of $1.5 billion.
His meteoric ascension to the top of the entrepreneurship world is no accident. Dewji comes from a line of business owners; his grandmother maintained a trading shop in Tanzania’s central area, selling sugar, rice, matchboxes, and spices among other things from her humble mud and sand home.
His father, on the other hand, was involved in importing soft commodities into Tanzania with the help of family savings and credit. By the mid-1970s, he had transformed his mother’s shop into a profitable import-export enterprise.
After finishing his study in the United States, Dewji returned to Tanzania. He also worked on Wall Street before coming home to run his family’s trading company. He modified the nature of the company’s operations after taking over the family firm, shifting it from primarily trading to production.
He has turned MeTL into one of the most formidable industrial groupings in Africa, not only in Tanzania. Everything from edible oils and detergents to soft drinks and pasta is produced by the corporation.
“It also has significant operations in agriculture, haulage, and port services. The group contributes three percent of Tanzania’s GDP, has annual revenues of more than $1 billion, and employs over 20,000 people across East and Southern Africa,” according to Billionaire Africa.
Some of the businesses under MeTL, as highlighted by Billionaires Africa, include:
21st Century Textiles Limited: a textile mill in Sub-Saharan Africa located in Morogoro, Tanzania. It is reportedly the country’s leading employer in the textile sector.
East Coast Oils and Fats: Tanzania’s largest edible oils company. The company makes soap, cooking fat, and margarine and can process 750,000 metric tonnes.
1st Century Food and Packaging Limited: a wheat and maize milling factory that accounts for over 25 percent of the local market share.
Glenrich Transportation: a transport and logistics company with over 1,000 vehicles with various carrying capacities.
A-One Products and Bottlers Ltd: one of Tanzania’s largest beverage manufacturers. Its flagship product includes Mo Xtra, which holds a 70-percent market share in the country’s CSD market.
Royal Soap and Detergent Industries Ltd: Tanzania’s largest detergent manufacturer.
East Coast Liquid Storage Limited: an Inland Container Depot and Container Freight Station offering handling, storage, and logistics services for import and export cargo.
MeTL Agro: an agribusiness that owns several plantations, including sisal plantations, cashew farms, and palm plantations.
21st Century Holdings Ltd: Manufactures various sisal products for local and export markets.
Star Oil Tanzania Limited: operates a network of retail pump stations and petroleum depots, enabling efficient storage and distribution of petroleum products.