Tanzania magnate is Africa’s youngest Dollar billionaire as he joins six SA elites on Forbes rich list

Mohammed Dewji is Africa's youngest billionaire. Picture: Supplied

Mohammed Dewji is Africa's youngest billionaire. Picture: Supplied

Published Jan 26, 2024


Forbes has recently released its Africa’s Billionaires 2024 Rich List, which includes six South African business tycoons and Tanzanian business magnate, Mohammed Dewji - at 48 - was the youngest among the continent’s wealthiest people.

Most of the remaining 19 were between the ages of 60 and some were in their 90s.

The likes of Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote, Johann Rupert, Nicky Oppenheimer, Patrice Motsepe, Christo Wiese and Michiel Le Roux, were some of the Top 20 richest Dollar Billionaires in Africa, according to Forbes.

Dangote, who is Africa's largest cement producer, has retaken the top spot of being the richest man on the continent, with a staggering fortune estimated at $13.9 billion (estimated at R262 billion).


1. Aliko Dangote – $13.9 billion - 13,900,000,000 Nigeria - estimated R262 billion

2. Johann Rupert & family – $10.1 billion – South Africa - est. R189 billion

3. Nicky Oppenheimer & family – $9.4 billion – South Africa - est R176 billion

4. Nassef Sawiris – $8.7 billion - Egypt - est R163 billion

5. Mike Adenuga – $6.9 billion - Nigeria - est R129 billion

6. Abdulsamad Rabiu – $5.9 billion - Nigeria - est R110 billion

7. Naguib Sawiris -$3.8 billion - Egypt - est R71 billion

8. Mohammed Mansour – $3.2 billion - Egypt - est R60 billion

9. Koos Bekker – $2.7 billion – South Africa - est R50 billion

10. Patrice Motsepe – $2.7 billion – South Africa - est R50 billion

11. Issad Rebrab & family – $2.5 billion - Algeria - est R47 billion

12. Mohammed Dewji – $1.8 billion - Tanzania - est R33 billion

12. trive Masiyiwa – $1.8 billion - Zimbabwe - est R33 billion

14. Aziz Akhannouch & family – $1.7 billion - Morocco - est R32 billion

15. Othman Benjelloun & family – $1.4 billion - Morocco - est R26 billion

16. Youseff Mansour – $1.3 billion - Egypt - est R24 billion

17. Yassen Mansour – $1.2 billion - Egypt - est R22 billion

17. Christoffel Wiese – $1.2 billion – South Africa - est R22 billion

19. Michiel le Roux – $1.1 billion – South Africa - est R21 billion

19. Femi Otedola – $1.1 billion - Nigeria - est R21 billion

Forbes said they only considered African billionaires who reside in Africa for the list, excluding people such as London-based billionaires Mo Ibrahim and Nathan Kirsh of South Africa.

However, it said it would include London-based Zimbabwean Strive Masiyiwa, as his telecom holdings was operating in Africa.

Forbes said they used stock prices and currency exchange rates from the close of business on January 8, 2024 to determine net worth, while they also valued privately-held businesses, using estimates of profits and applying prevailing price-to-sale or price-to-earnings ratios for similar public companies.

South Africa dominated the Top 20, with six billionaires, Egypt had five, Nigeria had four, Morocco had two, while Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Algeria had one each.

The top 20 was rounded up by an assortment of interests from manufacturing, media and entertainment, fashion and retail, mining, construction, telecommunications and financing, among many.

One of this year’s top 20 richest on continent, Dewji, 48, of Tanzania was the youngest among the top 20.

The former parliamentarian, who served between 2005 and 2015, has business interests in insurance, textile manufacturing, flour milling, beverages and edible oils in eastern, southern and central Africa, through the MeTL Group.

The company is the largest private sector employer in Tanzania, employing over 40,000 people, with aspirations of reaching 100,000 by 2030.

Dewji - ranked the 12th richest person in Africa - built his empire on the successes of an entrepreneurial family when he poured his drive into his father’s trading empire, which was established in the 1970s.

“The most important thing is employment generation. First and foremost, I look for businesses that employ as many people as possible,” said Dewji.

The MeTL Group operates across 10 African countries, with new projects set to reach India and the Middle East.

The Mo Dewji Foundation, MeTL Group's charitable trust fund, has impacted hundreds of thousands of Tanzanians through investments in water, health, and education.


Forbes lauded African businessmen like Dangote, Rupert, Motsepe, Dewji, Sawiris, Adenuga, Bekker, Rebrab and the Mansours, and others who were thriving on the continent, for their resilience in a continent that has to continually fight for its successful participation in the global economy.

“Africa remains one of the world’s toughest places to build – and hold onto – a billion-dollar fortune, as global investors remain leery of its stock exchanges, businesses struggle against strained economies, poor infrastructure and volatile exchange rates, while changing political winds can make, boost or bust private fortunes,” said Forbes.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino, CAF president Patrice Motsepe and Africa's youngest dollar billionaire and main shareholder for Simba Sports Club, Mohammed Dewji. Picture: Supplied

These African businessmen and their businesses have overcome the obstacles to build empires that feed multitudes of families and lead many social responsibility projects in the continent.

In 2016, Dewji, who is the majority shareholder at Tanzanian football club, Simba Sports Club, joined peers that include CAF president Motsepe, on Forbes’ African Billionaires ranking, to sign the Giving Pledge, an initiative led by the Bill and Melinda Gates through which the global benefactors donate at least half of their wealth to charity.

Dewji and Mostepe align not only in matters of business and philanthropy, but also in the world of uplifting African football.

In October last year, the duo of Dewji and Motsepe partnered with FIFA President Gianni Infantino to launch the inaugural African Football League, a momentous sport development project aimed at fostering and raising the standard of football on the continent.

Mamelodi Sundowns won the inaugural edition last year, clinching a whopping R75 million.

“Football goes beyond sport. It drives social change and youth empowerment. It brings people together. I am proud to participate in the growth and development of football in Africa,” Dewji said on his Linkedin as he celebrated the success of the AFL.

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