Mr Dewji who is the youngest billionaire in Africa with a fortune of over 1.25bn US Dollars, has grown his family’s business from a national trading house to a multibillion dollar multinational conglomerate creating more than 28,000 jobs in the process.
According to Face2Face website, Mr Dewji (41) was pitted against 24 other billionaires in Africa in March, this year, emerging in the top five. METL also contributes two per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). He pushed METL to one of the largest industrial conglomerates in East Africa, with interests in manufacturing, distribution, trading, haulage, storage and real estate.
The company was founded by his father, Mr Gulam Dewji, in the 1970s as a commodities trading house, but when the younger Dewji returned to Tanzania after pursuing a business degree in the United States, he joined the business.
He bought government-owned manufacturing facilities in the textiles and edible oils industries and built METL into a multibillion company. The company is now active in East, Southern and Central Africa. Last December, Mr Dewji was named the ‘Person of The Year’ and the 158th richest person in the world by Forbes Magazine last year.
In the list of top five African billionaires creating jobs, Aliko Dangote (59), who is the founder of Dangote Group takes the lead, with one of the most diversified business conglomerates in the continent and a presence in 16 countries in Africa with a net worth of 25bn US Dollars (about 52.2trl/-).
In Nigeria, Dangote employs more than 200,000 people while in Tanzania he employs 10,000 people out of whom 1,000 are permanent employees.
In the second position is Mr Christo Wiese, from South Africa who owns Shoprite, Pepkor and Tradehold with a net worth 3.1bn US Dollars, about 6.5trl/- and employs 160,000 people. Mr Naguib Onsi Sawiris at number three, is an Egyptian billionaire and chairman of Orascom Telecom Holding, with a personal wealth of 3.1bn US Dollars, employing about 72,000 people.
Number four is Mr Issad Rehab, worth 3.5bn US Dollars, an Algerian national who founded Algeria’s largest privately held conglomerate, Cevital. Rehab owns a sugar refinery and has diversified interests in electronics, steel, vegetable oil and margarine and employs 30,000 people.
Mr Dewji and the others beat other contenders who included Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, the current chairperson of Africa Union and first wife of South Africa President Jacob Zuma and Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari whose recognition in fighting corruption saw him enter the race.
The METL CEO said the 28,000 employment went to Tanzanians across the country, expressing his hope in providing more jobs in the near future due to growth of his businesses.