40 under 40

Our 2013 edition of the list features young hotshots who are rocking businesses as diverse as air travel, natural gas, and genetic coding, as well as—if you can believe it— government.

19. Ashish Thakkar

40u40 ashish thakkar mara group
  • Age: 32
  • Title: Founder
  • Company: Mara Group

He survived the Rwandan genocide, dropped out of school, and lived out of a suitcase selling computers in Uganda at age 15. Since then, Thakkar has built the continent's largest pan-African conglomerate— operations span from manufacturing to agriculture to real estate, including Africa's biggest IT firm—with a portfolio of some $1 billion and 7,500 people across 21 countries. He also serves on the advisory panels to the Presidents of Uganda and Tanzania and runs a foundation that mentors young African entrepreneurs. Next up: Mara Messenger, Africa's first instant-messaging platform.

  @FortuneMagazine - Last updated September 30 2013 03:41 PM ET
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