25th of June 2015 is a date to remember for the United Nations Foundation, and the whole of Africa. The foundation announced that for the first time an African entrepreneur, Ashish J. Thakkar – founder of Mara Group and Mara Foundation, has been appointed as chair of the UN Foundation’s Global Entrepreneurs Council. As the first African Entrepreneur to lead the GEC he will bring the African perspective to the organization and further African perspectives.
The GEC is a strategic advisory board of high-profile entrepreneurs under the age of 45 who have committed to help in find innovative solutions to global challenges. The announcement was made on Sunday by Sectary General Ban Ki-Moon during the 70th commemoration of the United Nations charter in San Francisco. Thakkar brings to the Council 10 years of experience; his company is currently worth $1 billion, with footprints in technology, industry among other operations in 22 Africans employing 11,000 staff members. Additionally he has experience working with governments as he recently signed a deal with the Rwandan National Bank, as well as getting recognition from the World Economic Forum.
So what does this mean for budding entrepreneurs in Africa? Firstly Thakkar has the Mara Mentor program, where alongside other established professionals he mentors the youth all over Africa. The mentees will in turn benefit from the experiences that Thakkar is exposed to, making them even better entrepreneurs. Furthermore as mentioned earlier he will be able to implement projects that will further the ambitions of African entrepreneurs. Fundamentally the new economic order has been established and as Africa finds its place in this world, we need people like Thakkar to ensure that place is at the top.