“The Lion Awakes” Gives the Inside Story from Africa’s Top Entrepreneur


“The Lion Awakes” will enthrall you, motivate you, and educate as to the economic potential of Africa. It explains the transformation that has taken place in recent years, and why the word Africa should no longer be synonymous with starvation and aid. 21st century Africa is ripe for the entrepreneur and the investor, and is the new place to do business as you will discover when reading this inspiring work by Africa’s top entrepreneur.

The Lion Awakes

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The Lion Awakes: Adventures in Africa’s Economic Miracle” will change your perception of the African continent. It aims to dispel the myth that Africa is still a backwards continent ravaged by disease, war, poverty and starvation.

Recounting his own life story, and other success stories he has witnessed along the way, the author underlines his belief that Africa will become a leading economic powerhouse over the coming decade. Africa no longer needs aid, rather it is the new place to trade and do business — full of opportunities for the entrepreneur or investor.

“The Lion Awakes” is a heartwarming account of the author’s life, and the transformation that is taking place on the African continent. The book details how at the age of 15 the author left school after seeing an opportunity to create a business selling computers and IT related equipment in Kampala. Armed only with a $5,000 loan, he opened a small shop where he sold computers and other IT related equipment which he personally obtained by travelling to Dubai on a weekly basis.

Today the author is just 34. The business he started when aged just 15 is now known as the Mara Group. It employs 11,000 people and operates and invests in 22 countries across Africa.

Throughout “The Lion Awakes” you will hear of how the author was able to spot and grasp numerous and diverse entrepreneurial opportunities in a variety of countries throughout Africa. Not only does he tell of his own successes, but also those of other like-minded entrepreneurs and overseas investors that he met during his travels throughout Africa.

The author is keen to correct the misconceptions there are about Africa, and how people often look on Africa as a single country.

“Ignorance about the size and diversity of Africa has serious consequences. It means that trouble in one part of Africa – war, drought, disease, terrorism – is applied an extrapolated to an entire continent.”

It is indeed a great point that he makes. So many people are totally unaware of the size and diversity of Africa. If you view the Kai Krause map to which he refers, I am sure that you will be surprised as to how much of the rest of the world could fit into the continent of Africa.

However, the overriding point being made in “The Lion Awakes” is that Africa is ready to do business with the rest of the world. Its size and diversity makes the opportunities both abundant and varied.

Ashish Thakkar (@AshishJThakkar) may have left school at the age of 15, but at the age of just 34 his company is reportedly worth in the region of $1 billion. His phenomenal success has enabled him to create the Mara Foundation, which supports and mentors young African entrepreneurs. He is set to become the first East African into space, having secured a place in the Virgin Galactic program.

This is a fascinating and inspiring book full of incident and interesting stories. It is apparent throughout that Mr. Thakkar has Africa in his blood, and a true passion for seeing further transformation within the continent. Africa is very much misunderstood by the Western world, due mainly to the media’s penchant for only reporting on sensational stories.

As well as recounting his own experiences as a young and successful entrepreneur, the author also set about putting the record straight for those in the dark about Africa, and what it has to offer for the investor or entrepreneur.

At the end of “The Lion Awakes” the author gives a list of his tips and lessons for those interested in investing or doing business in Africa. These are quite generalized, and many are applicable when doing business in any foreign country. While this is not particularly surprising due to the diversity that there is on the continent, I would have rather he had expanded on the pertinent ones and left the others out.

If you like to read business books then “The Lion Awakes” is one that should certainly not disappoint you. You may think that I am being biased because I live in Africa, but I can assure you that I am not. Had “The Lion Awakes” contained similar content, but been set in India or China for instance, I would have been equally enthralled.

Whatever your walk of life and irrespective of whether you want to trade or invest in Africa, you too, should be entertained and motivated through reading “The Lion Awakes.”

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John Blunden John Blunden is a Book Reviewer for Small Business Trends. He is a British writer now living in South Africa where he successfully owned and ran a variety of businesses for several years before deciding to take up his passion for writing.