By: NELSON WESONGA and JACKIE TAHAKANIZIBWA
Kampala: The guest speaker at the Monitor Thought Leaders Forum has been listed as one of the 10 most powerful men in Africa, according to the latest issue of a respected American business magazine.
Forbes Magazine says Mr Ashish Thakkar and the nine others are entrepreneurs, corporate executives, social entrepreneurs, political and civil leaders who are “changing Africa and the world around them; often times without much fanfare…”
Thakkar welcomes ranking
Mr Thakkar said the ranking brings him honour. “It’s a real honour to be recognised by Forbes, particularly alongside a group of such innovative and game-changing individuals. These are the true revolutionaries on the continent whose courage and conviction will lead the way in making Africa the world’s next big superpower,” he said.
“As the only Ugandan on the list, I hope that my presence inspires other young entrepreneurs in Uganda to do what I did and follow their dreams. “My advice to the next generation of entrepreneurs is to think big, never accept ‘no’ as an answer and persevere until you achieve your goals,” said Mr Thakkar.
Among other things, Mr Thakkar is noted for having founded Mara Online, a group of online and mobile telephony platforms that allow users to interact with each other. “The serial entrepreneur [Thakkar] advises several heads of states in Sub-Saharan Africa and runs Mara Foundation, a social enterprise that mentors young African entrepreneurs,” the magazine says of Mr Thakkar.
ABOUT THAKKAR AND FORBES RANKING
Thakkar’s businesses. Mr Thakkar is the managing director of the Mara conglomerate, which has financial services, information and communications technology, renewable energy, real estate and tourism interests in 19 sub-Saharan African nations, in India and the United Arab Emirates.
Ugandan interests. The groups interests in Uganda include, among others, the Riley Packaging, which is said to be the largest in East Africa. Thakkar Group’s revenues are said to be about $100 million ( about Shs252 billion)
Forbes take. Forbes says the 10 Africans are innovative, courageous, daring and “often disruptive in their fields”.
The businessmen include Kola Karim, Chinedu Echeruo and Simdul Shagaya (Nigeria), Mamadou Toure (Cameroon), Amadou Mahtar Ba (Senegal), Ben Magara (Zimbabwe), Komla Dumor – who has since died – (Ghanian), Mohammed Dewji and January Makamba (Tanzania).