Africa’s youngest billionaire wants to take on Coke with ‘Mo Cola’ – CNNMoney

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Meet Africa's youngest billionaire

Mohammed Dewji has ambitious plans to take on big brands in Africa.

Top of his list of targets: Coca-Cola(KO), Red Bull and Fanta.

“We’re taking on Coca Cola with our own brand called Mo Cola. We’re fighting Red Bull with Mo Energy Drink, and like they have Fanta – we have our own brands,” the CEO of MeTL Group told CNNMoney.

Coca-Cola has been in Africa for 88 years and is everywhere. But the 40-year old is undaunted.

Dewji’s brand of the fizzy drink has taken 3.5% of his home market in Tanzania since launching two years ago.

“If I take it to 15% I will be in the money big time,” he says.

Dewji isn’t new to big challenges. He took his father’s $30 million business and grew it to a pan-African conglomerate with revenues of $1.5 billion in 10 years.

The company group now spans 31 industries in 11 countries, including businesses in agriculture, manufacturing, consumer goods, finance, mobile telephony, real estate, oil and logistics.

Related: The African nations to watch in 2016

Competing with big players like Coca-Cola and Pepsi(PEP) means that he has to manufacture and distribute on a mass scale. But that’s not his biggest challenge. Persuading people to dump the big brands is much more of an uphill battle, partly because — as he freely admits — “they have this amazing formula.”

“But [Mo-Cola] is a little different. I think it’s more sugary. In Africa, I think people prefer drinks that are more sugary.”

He can offer another sweetener for consumers – his drinks are 25% cheaper than the major competitors.

And he’s not just taking on Coca-Cola. He is going up against big multinationals like Nestle(NSRGF), Unileve(UL)r and Procter and Gamble(PG) in Tanzania.

“We’ve got almost 60% market share in oil, 60% in soap,” he said in an interview. ” If you look at Unilever and Proctor and Gamble in terms of their detergents and edible oils, they are merely at 5% or lower.”

Dewji is the 31st richest man in Africa and has no plans of slowing down. His business contributes 3% to Tanzania’s GDP and employs 28 000 people. That’s nearly 5% of the country’s workforce.

If he gets his formula right, he’s hoping to grow revenues to $5 billion and employ 100 000 people across Africa by 2018.

Africa’s youngest billionaire wants to take on Coke with ‘Mo Cola’ – CNNMoney