Rostam Aziz is the Tanzanian billionaire expanding his LPG business to the Kenyan market. President William Ruto is on Friday, February 24, slated to commission a new LPG plant in Mombasa owned by Taifa Gas, one of several companies owned by Aziz.
The entry of Taifa Gas is set to disrupt the LPG space, with consumers and analysts hoping the increased competition drives down cooking gas prices which have been on the rise in recent months. Millions of Kenyans use LPG for cooking and commercial purposes, but prices are not regulated by the Energy and Petroleum Authority (EPRA), leaving consumers at the mercy of market forces.
Taifa Gas is the largest LPG supplier in Tanzania. It has 35 plants and storage facilities spread across mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar.
58-year old Aziz is one of Tanzania’s most respected entrepreneurs and has interests spread across sectors including energy, mining, telecommunications and real estate. He is also a former politician, having represented Igunga constituency as an MP between 1994 and 2011.
In 2013, Forbes estimated his net worth to be over $1 billion. Born in Igunga, Aziz undertook his early schooling in Tanzania’s Tabora region before proceeding to the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, where he secured an Economics degree.
He started out in the family trading business before venturing out on his own and cutting a niche as a sharp investor. In 2019, he sold the last of his shares in Vodacom Tanzania to Vodacom South Africa. The shares were valued at approximately $220 million at the time of the sale.
It was Aziz who facilitated Vodacom’s entry into Tanzania and previously held a 35% stake in the telco, which is the country’s largest by subscriber base. Aziz first sold a 17.2% stake in the company in 2014, before offloading the remainder of his stake five years later.
Aziz also owns Caspian Mining, a contract mining firm which describes itself as the largest locally owned mining contracting business in Tanzania. The company has over 400 employees and has secured several major mining contracts over the years.
Aziz is also associated with TiGo, a telco. A consortium led by Aziz and AXIAN Telecom and Rostam acquired Millicom’s merged entity MIC Tanzania Public Limited Company (TiGo and Zantel), giving the tycoon a new foothold in the telecommunications space.
Rostam also owns leather goods processor Ace Leather. In February 2021, Ace Leather unveiled a new leather processing plant in Morogoro, Tanzania. Aziz also has real estate holdings in Tanzania, Dubai and Oman.