His father exposed him to business at age 11, now he is Africa’s youngest billionaire

Stephen Nartey May 31, 2023
Last Edited by:Editor Updated: June 11, 2023
Over the years, Mo Dewji has been instrumental in driving METL's growth, transforming it into a prominent conglomerate. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

CEO of Mohammed Enterprises Tanzania Limited (METL), Mohammed ‘Mo’ Dewji, is regarded as one of Africa’s youngest billionaires, presiding over a business with 150 product lines with an estimated revenue of $2.5B. The secret to his success began with his father giving him business lessons at the age of 11, as well as his exposure to the commerce industry at a very young age.

The result is the expansive network of stores and distribution outlets for essentials like rice, wheat, and maize that Dewji currently runs. In recent times, his company has diversified its investments into the construction of real estate, hotels, and leisure facilities. The current standing of METL is largely the outcome of visionary and forward-looking strategies the young billionaire put in when he joined the family business.

Born in the town of Singida in central Tanzania, Dewji inherited his family’s entrepreneurial spirit from an early age. His grandmother operated a small shop, offering various daily necessities such as soap, matches, and paraffin in retail quantities that were affordable for the local community.

After completing his education at Georgetown University and gaining experience working on Wall Street in the United States during the 1970s, Dewji returned to Tanzania to join his father’s business and began acquiring government-owned textile and soap manufacturing entities that were being privatized. This strategic move enabled him to tap into the growing market for consumer goods in Tanzania.

Under his leadership, METL experienced significant growth, expanding its operations and diversifying its product portfolio. The company’s turnover today exceeds $1 billion, a testament to Dewji’s vision and business acumen. METL is now one of the largest trading houses in Tanzania, with a strong presence in various sectors such as manufacturing, agriculture, and distribution, according to New Africa Magazine.

Mo Dewji’s father, Gulamabbas Dewji, played a crucial role in laying the foundation for METL’s success. He established the company in the 1970s and with time, expanded its reach and influence. He began importing and exporting a wide range of commodities, including sugar, wheat, soap, and toothpaste, as well as cashew nuts, maize, and other agricultural products. He also established a robust distribution network that helped METL reach customers across Tanzania.

Over the years, Mo Dewji has been instrumental in driving METL’s growth, transforming it into a prominent conglomerate. His business strategies and ability to identify profitable opportunities have propelled the company’s success. With a keen focus on innovation, quality, and customer satisfaction, METL has become a trusted brand in Tanzania.

Apart from his business endeavors, Dewji is also actively involved in philanthropy. He established the Mo Dewji Foundation, which aims to improve the quality of education and healthcare in Tanzania. Through his foundation, he has initiated various projects and initiatives that have had a positive impact on the lives of many Tanzanians.

Overall, Mohammed ‘Mo’ Dewji’s journey from working on Wall Street to leading one of Tanzania’s largest trading houses is a testament to his entrepreneurial spirit and determination. His ability to seize opportunities, diversify business interests, and contribute to the development of his country has earned him recognition as one of Tanzania’s most influential business leaders.

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