Mohammed Dewji, who at 43 is Africa's youngest billionaire, was snatched by gunmen as he entered a hotel gym in Tanzania's economic capital on Thursday morning.
Officials have implicated the involvement of foreigners, saying he was taken by "whites".
Dewji is chief executive of the MeTL Group which operates in some 10 countries and has interests in agriculture, insurance, transport, logistics and the food industry. According to Forbes, he is worth USD 1.5 billion (1.29 billion euros) and ranks 17th on the list of African billionaires.
Between 2005-2015, he served as a member of parliament and in 2013, he became the first Tanzanian to grace the cover of Forbes magazine. Two years later, he was named Forbes' Africa Person of the Year.
Dewji is also the main shareholder in Tanzania's Simba FC football club.
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