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    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.