100 smartest people in the UAE
Tue 26 Sep 2017 12:04 AM
Ashish J. Thakkar

Company: Mara Group

Designation: Founder

Country: UK

Country of residence: United Kingdom

Ashish J. Thakkar was only 15 years old when he figured out the value of trade. Living in Uganda with his family, which had recently returned after being forced out during the Asian expulsion of the 1970s, he sold a computer motherboard for a $100 profit, and thus began his entrepreneurial journey that saw him quit school and move to Dubai, where he had been sourcing the goods to sell in Africa.

Today, Thakkar’s conglomerate Mara Group has investments and operations in logistics, real estate, technology and infrastructure across 25 African countries, as well as Mara Foundation. He also co-founded Atlas Mara, a financial services firm operating in Africa and listed on the London Stock Exchange. Thakkar advises several heads of state in Sub-Saharan Africa and is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Africa. He is chair of the United Nations Foundation’s Global Entrepreneurs Council.