Finding what makes your soul sing, honing your skills in it, and applying it to an industry with a very high economic value is key to grand success or mass failure.
People who find what adds meaning and value to their lives and turn it into a business generally have more successful lives. when you can apply what you’re really passionate about and have a chance to be the best at in a place that has a lot of revenue to go around, you can build a successful business.
This is the success story of Mohammed Dewji, a Tanzanian billionaire who was passionate about and studied International Trade & finance in the university, came back to his home country, and took his father’s million-dollar international trade business to billions of dollars in revenue, in the process, making it the largest conglomerate in Tanzania.
Here’s how he did it:
Mohammed Dewji was born on the 8th of May 1975 in Tanzania. He received his primary Education in Arusha at the Arusha Primary School, and upon completion, proceeded to the International School of Tanganyika (IST) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where he continued his secondary education.
In the year 1992, his father relocated him to the United States of America and enrolled him at the Arnold Palmer Golf Academy in Orlando, Florida, after which he later joined the Trinity Preparatory school for his 11th grade.
After a few years there, Mohammed Dewji proceeded to the Saddle Brook High School In New Jersey where he concluded his high school education and then proceeded to Washington DC where he studied and obtained a bachelor’s degree in International Business & Finance at Georgetown University with a minor in theology.
Journey Into Entrepreneurship
Shortly after leaving the University Mohammed Dewji returned to Tanzania and joined his father’s company, Mohammed Enterprises Tanzania Limited (MeTL), a commodity trading business.
As the head of the Management team, he went on to become the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of MeTL in 2 years and later went on to take advantage of the privatization of certain distressed companies by the Tanzanian Government, acquiring them cheaply and later transforming them into profitable ventures.
Shortly after joining METL, Dweji introduced some efficient economic models that transformed the financial state of the business and grew the company’s revenues from $30 million to $1.5 billion within 19 years.
While a part of the family business, Mohammed Dweji gained political recognition. in the year 2000, at the age of 25, Dweji contested in Tanzania’s second multi-party elections as a member of parliament and emerged victoriously, but would eventually step down due to his young age. He contested again in 2005 and won by a staggering 90% margin and was sworn in as a member of the parliament representing Singida Urban Constituency; a position which he held until the year 2015
METL today is the largest conglomerate in Tanzania, responsible for contributing about 3.5% of the Nation’s GDP. The company is actively involved in textile manufacturing, Agriculture, Petroleum, finance, telephony, energy, manufacturing, transportation, logistics, flour milling, beverages and edible oil, and much more.
With operations in 11 countries across Eastern, Southern and Central Africa, the company has over 28,000 employees with a net worth of over $1.5 billion, projected to grow to $5 billion by 2025.
Awards & Recognitions
Voted the business leader of the year at the African Business Awards in 2015, Mohammed Dewji is also a former politician who served 2 terms as a member of the Tanzanian Parliament Representing Singida Urban Constituency from 2005 to 2015 but has since retired from active politics to focus more on business and philanthropy.
Known for his commitment to the growth of Tanzania, Dewji is a committed & passionate philanthropist, his achievements and business mastery hasn’t gone unnoticed as he is recipient of several awards both on the local and international fronts, including The young global leader award by the World Economic Forum in 2012.
In 2014 Mohammed Dewji was recognised by Forbes Magazine as part of the 10 most powerful men in Africa. Also in the same year, he was honoured by the African Leadership Magazine as the philanthropist of the year and was also added to the list of top 100 economic leaders.
Mohammed Dewji is currently Tanzania’s only Billionaire according to Forbes.
Impact On Society
In 2014 Mohammed Dewji established the Mo Dewji foundation with the aim of providing poor Tanzanian children with scholarships, the NGO is also aimed at providing improved access to water, healthcare and agribusiness.
Mohammed Dewji has spent over $3 million on projects that have directly impacted the lives of Tanzanians. And in addition to his numerous philanthropic works, has also joined the likes of Warren Buffet, Strive Masiyiwa, Patrice Motsepe, Bill Gates and many others in committing more than half of his wealth to charity; being only the 3rd African to make such a financial commitment
To Sum It Up
When you’re passionate about what you do, it is no longer work, and you gain a higher advantage than the average competitor. Mohammed Dewji was passionate about international trade, studied it in the university, and eventually went on to build a billion-dollar business.
You too can.