Mohammed Dewji

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Mohammed Dewji
Dewji in 2017
Member of Parliament
for Singida Urban
In office
December 2005 – October 2015
Preceded by Jumanne Nguli
Succeeded by Mussa Ramadhani Sima
Personal details
Born (1975-05-08) 8 May 1975 (age 43)
Ipembe, Singida, Tanzania
Nationality Tanzanian
Political party CCM
Saira Dewji (m. 2001)
Children 3
Parents Gulamabbas Dewji
Residence Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Alma mater Georgetown University
Occupation Businessman and philanthropist
Net worth $1.5 billion (February 2018) [1]
Website [2]

Mohammed "Mo" Gulamabbas Dewji (born 8 May 1975) is a Tanzanian businessman and former politician. He is owner of MeTL Group, a Tanzanian conglomerate founded by his father in the 1970s. Dewji served as Member of the Tanzanian Parliament for Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) from 2005 to 2015 for his home town of Singida. As of October 2018, Dewji has an estimated net worth of US $1.5 billion,[3] therefore positioning him as the 17th richest person in Africa and the continent's youngest billionaire. Dewji is also the first Tanzanian to cover Forbes Magazine in 2013.[4][5]

Early life and education[edit]

Dewji was born on 8 May 1975 in Ipembe, Singida.[6] He is the second of six children of Gulamabbas Dewji and Zubeda Dewji.[7] They are part of the group of people with Indian origins in Tanzania who left Gujarat, India, in the late 1800s to become traders in East Africa.[8] When Dewji was born, the family was still of modest means; Dewji was born with the help of a neighbouring midwife in a house built from sand and mud. Dewji attested that he almost died at birth due to having the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck, a condition known as nuchal cord.[9] By the time Dewji started school, his father had built a family shop into a thriving import-export company.[9][8]

Dewji received his primary education in Arusha at the Arusha Primary School and continued his secondary education at the International School of Tanganyika (IST) in Dar es Salam, Tanzania.[10]

In 1992 his father enrolled him at the Arnold Palmer Golf Academy in Orlando, Florida, where Dewji also attended Trinity Preparatory School for 11th Grade. Dewji then moved for his last and final year of high school to the Saddle Brook High School in New Jersey.[11]

Dewji attended Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., graduating in 1998 with a bachelor's degree in international business and finance and a minor in theology.[12]


Upon graduation from university, Dewji returned home and assumed the management of Mohammed Enterprises Tanzania Limited (MeTL), a commodities trading business founded by his father.[9] After two years of working with the company, he became Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at MeTL. In the early 2000s, when the Tanzanian government privatized loss-making companies, he acquired them inexpensively and turned them into profit centers by trimming personnel expenses. MeTL Group of Companies is the largest privately owned conglomerate in Tanzania.[13][14]

Dewji is responsible for increasing MeTL's revenues from $30 million[15] to over $1.5 billion[16] between 1999 and 2018. MeTL Group has investments in manufacturing, agriculture, trading, finance, mobile telephony, insurance, real estate, transport and logistics, and food and beverages. The group conducts business in 11 countries and employs over 28,000 people with the aim to target over 100,000 people by 2021. MeTL's operations contribute ~3.5% of Tanzania’s GDP.[17]

According to Forbes, Dewji has an estimated net worth of US$1.54 billion (2018), and is the 17th richest person in Africa[18] and Africa's youngest billionaire (2018). He was the first Tanzanian on the cover of Forbes Magazine, in 2013[19] and has been featured on three separate occasions. November 2015, Dewji was recognized as the Forbes Africa person of the year[20] In his acceptance speech, he dedicated the award to the youth of Tanzania.[21]


Former President of Tanzania, H.E. Jakaya Kikwete and Mohammed Dewji during a political rally in 2010.

In 2000, Tanzania hosted its second multiparty elections where Dewji, at the age of 25 competed to become the Member of Parliament (MP) for Singida Urban. Despite winning the preliminary votes for the ruling party, Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) with an overwhelming majority, Dewji was deemed too young to hold the parliamentary seat.[by whom?]

Tanzania held its third multi-party elections in October 2005 and Dewji stood for the parliamentary seat again and was chosen by CCM to stand as a candidate for Singida Urban. In the general election he won with 90% of the votes and was sworn in as an MP for Singida Urban constituency on 29 December 2005.[11] Dewji served for ten years before resigning from politics in October 2015.[22]


Mohammed Dewji is known for his commitment to the advancement of Tanzania most notably in Singida where he improved the number of people with access to clean water from 23% to 75% during his tenure as MP.

Dewji established the Mo Dewji Foundation in 2014, with the goal of alleviating Tanzanian citizens from poverty and hardship. The focus of his charitable activities covers education, health and community development projects across Tanzania. Dewji has spent more than US$3 million on projects that have directly improved the lives of Tanzanians.[23]

Dewji joined the Giving Pledge, an effort to help address society's most pressing problems by inviting the world's wealthiest individuals and families to commit to giving more than half of their wealth to philanthropy either during their lifetime or in their will.[24] Dewji is the first Tanzanian and one of the three Africans that have made the pledge in this group of 150+ billionaires, including Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Mark Zuckerberg, Strive Masiyiwa and Patrice Motsepe.[25]

Honours and awards[edit]

Personal life[edit]

In 2001, Dewji married Saira, his high school sweetheart with whom he has three children.[34] The couple resides in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Dewji is a Shia Muslim from the Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri Jamat as known as the 'Twelvers' sect.[35]


In the early hours of 11 October 2018, at approximately 5:35 am, Dewji was kidnapped and abducted by armed gunmen, allegedly white foreigners, outside the Colosseum Hotel in Dar es Salaam, where he was arriving for a morning workout.[36][37][38] The kidnappers allegedly fired shots into the air before snatching Dewji and driving off with the billionaire.[39] Despite Dewji's wealth, he did not commonly travel with a security detail, and had driven to the Colosseum gym on his own the morning of the attack.[39]

By Saturday 13 October, at least 20 people had been arrested in the inquiry over Dewji's disappearance.[40] On October 15 the family held a press conference, where they offered 1 billion TZS (440 000 USD) as a reward for information that leads to his rescue.[41]

On Saturday 20 October in the early hours at around 2:30 AM, Mo called his family that he was released at the Gymkhana grounds. [42] At 3:15 AM, a tweet was sent out on the METL Twitter account by Dewji, acknowledging his return and appreciation for the Tanzanian people's support,[43] In a video released, Lazaro Mambosasa, Police Commissioner, was seen talking to Dewji who acknowledged the efforts of the police, although Mambosasa clarified that they met Dewji at his house and was not rescued by the police. He also reported that Dewji informed them that his kidnappers were speaking in a South African language [44] January Makamba, tweeted he had met Dewji and noticed rope marks on his hands and legs.[45]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Forbes Africa's Millionare List 2018". Forbes. Forbes. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  2. ^ "Mohammed Dewji Official Website". Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  3. ^ "Africa's Billionaires". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-02-22.
  4. ^ Nsehe, Mfonobong (2 March 2015). "The African Billionaires 2015". Forbes. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  5. ^ The Citizen Reporter, . (29 June 2013). "Dewji First Tanzanian On Forbes Magazine". The Citizen. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  6. ^ "MeTL Group: Inspirational African entrepreneurialism at its best". 2014-08-19. Retrieved 2018-03-20.
  7. ^ "Mohammed Dewji Bio, Net Worth, Wife, Personal Life, Businesses, Family". Kenya News | Breaking News on 2017-03-22. Retrieved 2018-03-20.
  8. ^ a b "Mo Magic: A Week With Mohammed Dewji, Tanzania's Wealthiest Man - Ventures Africa". Ventures Africa. 2015-02-07. Retrieved 2018-10-11.
  9. ^ a b c "The $1.3 billion TSAR of Dar - Forbes Africa". Retrieved 2018-10-15.
  10. ^ Kidanka, Christopher (2016-08-22). "Tanzania: Richest Man Matches His Specs With Ties". The East African (Nairobi). Retrieved 2018-03-20.
  11. ^ a b Laylin, Tafline. "Meet Africa's Youngest Billionaire". OZY. Retrieved 2018-03-20.
  12. ^ Msasanuri, Simbarashe (13 July 2013). "Tanzania: Mohamed Dewji - Weathering The Storm To Grab Global Focus". Daily News via Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  13. ^ Iweala, Uzodinma (13 November 2014). "Mo Magic: A Week With deep, Tanzania's Wealthiest Man". Jamii Forums. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  14. ^ Hooker, Lucy (25 March 2014). "Tanzania's Business Mogul Mohammed Dewji On Investing Locally". BBC News. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  15. ^ Nsehe, Mfonobong. "The $500 Million Baby: Meet 'Mo' Dewji, Who Vows To Be Africa's Richest Man". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-02-22.
  16. ^ "Mohammed Dewji". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-02-22.
  17. ^ "RMB arranges loan for Tanzania's MeTL Group_N". TXF - Trade & Export Finance. Retrieved 25 November 2016.
  18. ^ "Forbes Africa Rich List".
  19. ^ "Dewji first Tanzanian on Forbes magazine". Retrieved 2018-02-22.
  20. ^ Nsehe, Mfonobong. "Tanzania's Richest Man Mohammed Dewji Is Forbes Africa's Man Of The Year".
  21. ^ Nsehe, Mfonobong. "Tanzania's Richest Man Mohammed Dewji Is Forbes Africa's Man Of The Year". Forbes. Retrieved 25 November 2016.
  22. ^ "Africa is ready. Are we ready for Africa?" (PDF). Telos Primo Piano Scala C. May 2016. Retrieved 12 March 2018.
  23. ^ "MO Dewji Foundation – About Us". Retrieved 25 November 2016.
  24. ^ Carrig, David (1 June 2017). "14 billionaires join Bill Gates, Warren Buffett in giving away more than half their money". USA Today. Retrieved 13 June 2017.
  25. ^ Dolan, Kerry A. "Tanzanian Billionaire Mohammed Dewji Joins Gates-Buffett Giving Pledge". Forbes. Retrieved 25 November 2016.
  26. ^ "List of 2012 Young Global Leaders Honourees" (PDF). World Economic Forum. 20 July 2012. Retrieved 25 December 2014.
  27. ^ Gundan, Farai (31 January 2014). "The 10 Most Powerful Men In Africa 2014". Forbes. Retrieved 25 December 2014.
  28. ^ "Dewji wins Africa's annual philanthropist award". Daily News. 25 December 2014. Retrieved 25 December 2014.
  29. ^ "Institut Choiseul".
  30. ^ "Dewji wins regional Philanthropist award". Daily News. 20 September 2015. Retrieved 24 September 2015.
  31. ^ "Mo Dewji wins top business accolade". The Citizen. 25 September 2015. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  32. ^ Dewji wins Forbes` year man award, The Guardian, 29 November 2015
  33. ^ "Tanzania: Mo Dewji Scoops Yet Another African Award On Leadership". 10 October 2016 – via AllAfrica.
  34. ^ "BIOGRAPHY – Mohammed Dewji". Retrieved 2018-02-22.
  35. ^ "Mohammed Dewji – TSAR OF DAR – KHOJA SHIA ITHNA-ASHERI JAMAAT". Retrieved 25 November 2016.
  36. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  37. ^ "Abduction of Africa's Youngest Billionaire Prompts $437,000 Reward". Retrieved 2018-10-15.
  38. ^ "Africa's youngest billionaire Mohammed Dewji abducted in Tanzania". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 2018-10-15.
  39. ^ a b "Africa's 'youngest billionaire' abducted". BBC News. 2018-10-11. Retrieved 2018-10-15.
  40. ^ AFP. "20 arrested in hunt for kidnapped Africa's youngest billionaire". Retrieved 2018-10-15.
  41. ^ "Abducted billionaire's family offers reward". BBC News. 2018-10-15. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  42. ^ "millardayo on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2018-10-20.
  43. ^ "MeTL Group on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2018-10-20.
  44. ^ Millard Ayo (2018-10-19), BREAKING NEWS: MO DEWJI APATIKANA, HUYU HAPA AKIONGEA, retrieved 2018-10-20
  45. ^ "January Makamba on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2018-10-20.

External links[edit]