Mara Group’s Ashish Thakkar On What Investors Get Wrong About Africa
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Ashish Thakkar started his first business at age 15, when he sold computer parts to friends in Kampala, Uganda. He borrowed just $5,000 for the project, and was at the beginning of a career as an entrepreneur. Now 32, he spends 20 days a month traveling around Africa and will soon become an astronaut when he steps aboard the inaugural flight of Virgin Galactic, of which he is a board member.
Thakkar’s business has grown into Mara Group, an multi-sector investment group that operates in 19 countries around the continent. Last Friday, the Mara case was formally read at Harvard Business School, joining the likes of Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:APPL). One of his many current projects is Atlas Mara Co-Nvest Ltd.(ATMA:LN), which he founded with former Barclays executive Bob Diamond. Their goal is to work together to pursue prospects in the banking industry around the continent.
Thakkar spoke to IBTimes about what’s ahead for this new venture, his business style, and what’s ahead for Africa — a region set to grow at record rates in the next few years.