Personal Finance

7 lessons from the Kidnapping of billionaire Mo Dewji!

Mo Dewji on forbes and residence

We thank God our Mo Dewji; the Tanzanian billionaire is back from the cruel hands of abductors safe and sound. It is still unclear who abducted, where he was taken and whether ransom was paid.

Just to bring you up to date, Mohammed Dewji, aka Mo, a Tanzanian billionaire was abducted in the wee morning hours on Thursday 11th October 2018 by unidentified people at the luxurious Colosseum Hotel and Fitness Club as he walked into a gym for his normal workout. Eyewitnesses blamed two white men and a group of other unidentified people for this kidnapping.

Mo heads the MeTL Group which is Tanzania’s largest homegrown company with Revenues of more than $1.5 billion. Forbes recently put Mr. Mo’s wealth at $2 billion and named him the youngest Billionaire in East Africa.

MeTL employs more than 24,000 people in 12 countries in Africa, including Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi, Dubai, DR Congo and of course Tanzania.

Mr. Mo and his MeTL group is a big asset to the Tanzanian nation because his company’s revenue of $1.5 billion constitutes a little over 3.5% of the GDP of Tanzania and employs 5% of the formal employment sector. This can be compared to what Amazon and Jeff Bozos are to the American economy, contributing 4.5% of the GDP.

This unfortunate event that shocked East Africa and the world prompting the family of the Billionaire to promise a reward of TZS1Billion to anyone who provided information leading to the return of the billionaire has got everyone thinking, what happened, who did it, and why did they do.

With the safe return of the billionaire, it is good to reflect back and look at some of the lessons that we can learn from such a significant figure in our midst. Below are some important lessons we can learn from this billionaire’s story.

Lesson 1

Who deserves security?

The Tanzanian police threw a security cordon around the country to search for the missing billionaire which begs the question, why would MP’s who contribute only noise in parliament have security details while billionaires of Mo’s stature go roaming around unsecured?

The truth is; it is difficult to find and or replace business brains of Mo’s caliber. He is the first Tanzanian to grace the front cover of Forbes and his company supports several causes through the Mo Dewji foundation. He is said to be the largest shareholder in Simba football club.

It is not only incumbent on the government to protect civilians and their property, but civilians too have a responsibility to take care of their security and save a nation from all the agony associated with acts of insecurity like kidnappings.

Lesson 2

Rugs to riches, it does not matter your background.

Mr. Mo is a rug to riches story. He is said to have been born in a mud house. He took his father’s small trading company and turned it into one of the largest industrial conglomerates in East Africa. He did this through taking measured risk and diversifying interests from trading, agriculture, manufacturing, energy & petroleum, financial services, mobile telephony infrastructure and real estate, transport, logistics & distribution.

Lesson 3

Are you securing the best education for your children?

His father, Gulamabbas Dewji ensured that his son got the best education although he was just a small trader. Mo was send to school abroad at Georgetown University after which he came back and joined his father’s business in 1999, and literally turned the company around with the knowledge he had gained and the connections he had acquired.

Lesson 4.

How are you passing on your skills and wealth?

It is important to note that the father was not ashamed or insecure to let his son join him in his business. Most African parents are insecure and don’t pass their skills to their children leading to a break in family wealth and skills when the parent passes on. It also forces the children to acquire and develop totally new skills which require time and resources instead of just building on what the parents already have developed.

Lesson 5.


Mr. Mo was kidnapped very early before the birds in the morning. What are you still doing in your house at that time, just sleeping or morning glory? If a billionaire is up at that time, then all paupers should be up at that time too!

Lesson 6.

Be flexible.

Mo identified a love for golf early in life. He joined golf training while at school and tried to be the best at it. When it became clear that he could not play at the PGA (highest level of Golf played by the likes of Tiger Woods) he moved to a business school.

This is versatility. Be willing to change and be changed for you to move your financial fortunes.

Lesson 7.

Keep it simple

According to The MeTL group website,  Mo is involved or planning to get into the following businesses; edible oil processing plants, wheat grain processing plants, maize grain processing plants, a ginnery in Zambia, textiles including spinning, weaving and processing, detergents, carton boxes manufacturing, warehouse facilities, commodities trading and finally wholesaling of petroleum products in Zambia, Malawi, DRC, Rwanda and Burundi.

What amazes me here is the simplicity of the business concepts. If you critically analyze these businesses, Mo is no different from that posho mill owner in Kakamega grinding floor to feed the Luhya’s, the only difference is that he has the vision and foresight to expand and serve 12 countries.  Mo is not looking around to start some business that has never been heard of, but he is leveraging on already existing business concepts and expanding into the normal things that we take for granted.

As you contemplate this, we wish to urge the authorities to work around the clock and uncover the mystery and motive around this kidnapping and also ensuring to arrange for the safety of all civilians, especially people with proven wealth.


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