Mara Group Entrepreneur Seeks More International Investment Partners

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Written by Kevin Mwanza

Written by Elias Biryabarema | From Reuters

Ugandan-born entrepreneur Ashish Thakkar, whose Mara Group has teamed up with ex-Barclays boss Bob Diamond to buy banks in Africa, is also seeking international partners for mobile technology and financial services ventures.

Thakkar’s Mara Group, which he founded in 1996 aged 16, employs 8,000 people, operates in 19 African nations, and has businesses spanning technology, financial services, manufacturing, farming and real estate.

“Our strategy is to team up with international players who have industry expertise to complement our in-depth knowledge of conditions on the ground in Africa,” Thakkar said in Kampala as part of the Reuters Africa Investment Summit.

“We plan to take advantage of this growth with new offerings in financial services and mobile technology in particular,” he said in an emailed reply to questions. “It is an approach that has worked well for us in the past and one that we will use more.”

Atlas Mara, created by Diamond’s Atlas Merchant Capital and Thakkar’s Mara Group Holdings, said in March it would buy Botswana-based bank ABC Holdings (BancABC) and ADC African Development Corporation, in a deal valued at up to $265 million in cash and shares.

Atlas Mara is also finalizing a deal for a controlling stake in state-run Development Bank of Rwanda.

From Reuters