Meet the billionaires helping to transform Tanzania

20May 2017
Our Reporter
The Guardian
Meet the billionaires helping to transform Tanzania
  • There is a new breed of Tanzanian businessmen who have built multimillion and billion-dollar empires in industries as diverse as agriculture, food, construction, energy and distribution

THE number of Tanzania’s multibillionaires (with a net worth of over Sh100 billion) continues to grow substantially as economic growth in the country outstrips that of other countries in the East African region.

Billionaires helping to transform Tanzania

THE number of Tanzania’s multibillionaires (with a net worth of over Sh100 billion) continues to grow substantially as economic growth in the country outstrips that of other countries in the East African region.

Apart from the easily recognizable names like Mohammed Dewji, Rostam Aziz and Said Salim Bakhresa, there are other lessrecognizable Tanzanian businessmen who have built multimillion and billion-dollar empires in industries as diverse as agriculture, food, construction, energy and distribution and earned multimillion-dollar fortunes to boot.

Their names don’t ring with the African public, and you’ve probably never heard about them before, but they are very successful - and very wealthy. Meet the following Tanzanian businessmen who own businesses with annual revenues of $50 million or more.

Ally Awadh (source: oil marketing and transport) Tanzanian oil trader Ally Edha Awadh (pictured) is the founder and CEO of Lake Oil Group, one of East Africa’s fastest-growing energy trading and transport conglomerates. Awadh founded the company in 2006 at age 26, when he received a highly coveted licence from the Tanzanian government to import and market petroleum products in the domestic market. Success has been swift for Awadh. Lake Oil Group is now one of the 5 largest distributors of petroleum products in Tanzania and exports to neighbouring countries including Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Burundi and Rwanda. The company also has a 35-million-litre storage depot at Kigamboni, Dar es Salaam, and another depot in Mbeya, a commercial city in the country’s southwest region. The transport/haulage arm of the company, Lake Trans, owns and operates close to 500 trucks and serves as a regional contractor for commodities giants like Trafigura and Augusta.

Shekhar Kanabar (source: battery recycling) Shekhar Kanabar, 35, is the CEO of Synarge Group, a 50-year-old family-owned Tanzanian conglomerate that has its tentacles in lead manufacturing, battery recycling and automotive spare parts. Kanabar’s father founded the business in the 60s as a cloth trading business, but the business hassince grown to become one multicompany enterprise with more than 150 employees and millions of dollars in revenue.

Shubhash Patel (source: diversified) In 1992 Shubhash Patel started a rolling mill business in Dar es Salaam. In the span of two decades, he has psarlayed that business into the Motisun Group, a conglomerate that comprises more than 15 different companies in the steel, mining, plastics, paints, food processing and real estate industries. Motisun Group owns a collection of some of Tanzania’s finest hotels and resorts, including the popular Sea Cliff Resort in Zanzibar and Hotel White Sands in Dar es Salaam.

Ghalib Said Mohamed (source: diversified) Tanzanian multimillionaire Ghalib Said Mohamed got his early start in business by working for his father’s cashew farming and general trading business. He soon broke out on his own and founded the GSM Group, a diverse Tanzanian conglomerate that deals in general trading, transport, logistics, media, manufacturing, real estate, retailing and financial services.

Fida Hussein Rashid (source: automobiles) In 1973 Fida Hussein Rashid founded the Africarriers Group, a pioneer in the trading of secondhand vehicles in Tanzania. Africarriers went on to become one of the first companies in East Africa to import Japanese cars such as Toyota into East Africa. The company today is the exclusive distributor for brandssuch as Eicher and Golden Dragon.

Salim Turky (source: diversified) Salim Turky is a member of Parliament in Tanzania, but he is also one of the country’s mostaccomplished businessmen. The Zanzibar-based Turkys Group of Companies, which Salim Turky founded in the 1980s, is active in cement manufacturing, beverages, hotels, hospitals and telecommunication services. Two of his sons are in charge of the dayto- day running of the company.

Yogesh Manek (source: financial services) Manek founded the MAC Group in Tanzania in 1980. Its most prominent business is EXIM Bank, one of the 3 largest banks in Tanzania in terms of customer and asset base. He also owns Heritage Insurance Company and Strategis, the country’s leading health maintenance organization (HMO).

Abdulaziz Abood (source: diversified) Abdulaziz Abood, one of Tanzania’s most prominent politicians and businessmen, is the founder of Abood Group, a conglomerate with interests in everything from intercity bus transport, petroleum distribution,media and hunting safaris. He currently serves as a member of Parliament.

Haroon Zakaria (source: edible oils) Murzah Oils, the company which Haroon Zakaria founded in 1997, is one of East Africa’sleading manufacturers of edible oils, toilet and laundry soaps, vegetable cooking fat, bakers’ fat and margarine. The companyrecords revenues of more than $100 million annually. --Forbes

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