- In the London court case with his wife Meera Manek, Mr Thakkar claims he has only about Ksh54 million to his name, way below the billionaire tag that has made him a star attraction and inspirational figure across Africa.
Nairobi. Uganda’s businessman Mr Ashish Thakkar, 35, has often been described as Africa’s youngest billionaire but an ongoing divorce case has exposed details that have left questions over his wealth.
In the London court case with his wife Meera Manek, Mr Thakkar claims he has only about Ksh54 million to his name, way below the billionaire tag that has made him a star attraction and inspirational figure across Africa.
When United States President Barack Obama led some of the world’s most influential individuals to Kenya for the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES), Mr Thakkar was among them.
His wife disputes the figure: “Mr Thakkar is of no mean achiever. He is, for example, chairman of the United Nations Foundation Global Entrepreneurs Council. Three years ago he was appointed to the advisory board of technology company Dell and became the first African to be named in Fortune magazine’s annual 40 under 40 list, with total assets said to be in excess of $1bn (Ksh100 billion) and employees across 21 African countries”.
His Mara Group’s growth has seen the youthful entrepreneur selectively partner with multinationals and individuals including former chief executive of UK’s Barclays Bank Bob Diamond together with whom they set up Atlas Mara, which is listed on London Stock Exchange.
Atlas Mara has bought BancABC, a medium-sized lender with operations in five African countries, and a second institution in Rwanda.
But the puzzle created by the divorce case has now left friend and foe scratching their heads. Is he hiding his wealth or is he less wealthy than he has claimed in the past?
Mr Thakkar himself told the court that he doesn’t own a stake in Mara Group, bringing the proceedings to a halt until his total wealth, including his offshore assets, can be assessed. (NMG)