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The Lion Awakes

The Lion Awakes

Adventures in Africa's Economic Miracle

Ashish J. Thakkar

St. Martin's Press

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Three little known facts: Africa is now the world's fastest growing continent, with average GDP growth of 5.5% the past 10 years. Malaria deaths have declined by 30% and HIV infections by 74%. Nigeria produces more movies than America does.

The Lion Awakes is the true story of today's Africa, one often overshadowed by the dire headlines. Traveling from his ancestral home in Uganda, East Africa, to the booming economy and (if chaotic) new democracies of West Africa, and down to the "Silicon Savannahs" of Kenya and Rwanda, Ashish J. Thakkar shows us an Africa that few Westerners are aware exists. Far from being a place in need of our pity and aid, we see a continent undergoing a remarkable transformation and economic development. We meet a new generation of ambitious, tech savvy young Africans who are developing everything from bamboo bicycles to iPhone Apps; we meet artists, film makers and architects thriving with newfound freedom and opportunity, and we are introduced to hyper-educated members of the Diaspora who have returned to Africa after years abroad to open companies and take up positions in government. They all tell the same story: 21st Century Africa offers them more opportunity than the First World. Drawing from his business experience, and his own family's history in Africa, which include his parents' expulsion from Uganda by Idi Amin in the 70s and his own survival of the Rwandan genocide in 1994, Ashish shows us how much difference a decade can make.

Praise for The Lion Awakes

“Ashish's story is full of insights into doing business in Africa, recipes for success, as well as inspirational testimonies of turning personal adversity into positive action. This is a book for people who not only dream but dream with a purpose.” —Ajay Banga, President and CEO, MasterCard

“This book shares a successful entrepreneur's love of Africa, where business can be a powerful force for good. It will also change your perceptions of Africa - for good!” —Sir Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin Group

“Ashish Thakkar is an amazing entrepreneur, leader, and now, author. In The Lion Awakes, Ashish brings Africa - with its energy, dynamism and incredible potential - to life. Through his own remarkable story founding Mara Group and his profiles of other young African leaders, he helps readers understand what is driving Africa's transformation and how to take part. Ashish tells these stories in a casual yet captivating style that will hold your attention from the first page. On all dimensions, The Lion Awakes is a must-read!” —Dominic Barton, Global Managing Director, McKinsey

“Ashish's story is fascinating and unique. It reveals, though, the emergence of an innovative, vibrant and ambitious generation of African entrepreneurs who are geared to reshape the continent in the 21st century and its positioning within the global landscape.” —Graça Machel, widow of former South African president Nelson Mandela

“Ashish's passion for Africa is unrivalled, and w… More…

“Ashish's story is full of insights into doing business in Africa, recipes for success, as well as inspirational testimonies of turning personal adversity into positive action. This is a book for people who not only dream but dream with a purpose.” —Ajay Banga, President and CEO, MasterCard

“This book shares a successful entrepreneur's love of Africa, where business can be a powerful force for good. It will also change your perceptions of Africa - for good!” —Sir Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin Group

“Ashish Thakkar is an amazing entrepreneur, leader, and now, author. In The Lion Awakes, Ashish brings Africa - with its energy, dynamism and incredible potential - to life. Through his own remarkable story founding Mara Group and his profiles of other young African leaders, he helps readers understand what is driving Africa's transformation and how to take part. Ashish tells these stories in a casual yet captivating style that will hold your attention from the first page. On all dimensions, The Lion Awakes is a must-read!” —Dominic Barton, Global Managing Director, McKinsey

“Ashish's story is fascinating and unique. It reveals, though, the emergence of an innovative, vibrant and ambitious generation of African entrepreneurs who are geared to reshape the continent in the 21st century and its positioning within the global landscape.” —Graça Machel, widow of former South African president Nelson Mandela

“Ashish's passion for Africa is unrivalled, and what he and his family have achieved with Mara is remarkable. What I love about the book is that he's been able to bring it all to life on the page. If you're an investor or an entrepreneur, whether working in Africa or not, you should treat The Lion Awakes as a text book. You're not going to get a better teacher than my friend Ashish J Thakkar.” —Bob Diamond, former CEO, Barclays

The Lion Awakes reveals Africa's next generation of leaders coming into their own. Their creativity, dynamism, and versatility is on full display in Ashish J. Thakkar's engaging and inspiring story.” —Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations

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Ashish J. Thakkar

ASHISH J. THAKKAR is CEO and Founder of Mara Group, a pan-African business conglomerate that operates in 21 countries worldwide. In 2009 Ashish launched Mara Foundation, focusing on supporting emerging young African entrepreneurs. Ashish was appointed as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, and today he sits on the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on Africa. In 2014 Forbes named him one of the ten most powerful men in Africa. He lives between Uganda and Dubai.

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