One of Africa’s fastest-growing economies, Kenya has a GDP of $99 billion and is home to more than 53.7 million people, of whom 330 are multimillionaires. Meanwhile, a total of 8,300 people hold the high-net-worth-individual status, according to a recent
report by AfrAsia Bank.
The seventh-largest economy in Africa, Kenya ranks among the top 30 countries on the continent for living standards and economic wealth of individuals, with a GDP per capita of $1,838, based on data from the World Bank. This is a step below Angola’s $1,895 and Nigeria’s $2,097.
Kenya is also part of an elite group of five African countries that account for more than 50 percent of the continent’s total private wealth held by individuals. Private wealth in Kenya was estimated at $90 billion in 2020, making it the fifth-largest country on the continent in this regard.
Here are 10 of Kenya’s wealthiest businessmen, according to research by Billionaires.Africa.
#1 Manu Chandaria Source: Manufacturing and Real Estate Manu Chandaria is a member of Comcraft Group, a billion-dollar enterprise that manufactures steel, plastic and aluminium products. The company has a presence in more than 40 countries. His business interests are extensive and span the Kenyan economy. Besides the wealth he derives from his ownership stake in Comcraft, Chandria holds a significant fraction of his wealth in real estate investments.
#2 Bhimji Depar Shah Source: Manufacturing Bhimji Depar Shah is a Kenyan businessman, industrialist and entrepreneur. He founded Bidco Industries Limited in 1970 as a garments manufacturing business. Since that time, the Kenyan enterprise has grown into a manufacturing conglomerate with operations in 13 African countries. Recently, it has evolved into a leading soap, detergent and baking powder manufacturer, with an annual gross revenue in excess of $300 million and a portfolio of more than 40 brands. Owing to his success as a businessman, Shah was named the wealthiest person in Kenya and the 31st wealthiest person in Africa, with a net worth of $700 million in 2015. He replaced his son, Vimal Shah, in the position after Forbes Magazine reevaluated Bidco’s ownership structure.
#3 Samuel Kamau Macharia Source: Media Samuel Kamau Macharia is the founder of Royal Media Services (RMS), the largest private radio and TV network in East Africa and Kenya’s most successful broadcasting house, valued at $500 million. His media company runs the Citizen TV channel and 14 FM radio stations, with a presence in six countries in East Africa — Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and Zambia — where it broadcasts by transmitter and over the Internet. RMS is one of the few media houses in Sub-Saharan Africa to acquire a Ksh300-million ($3.5 million) helicopter for news coverage.
#4 Atul Shah Source: Retail Atul Shah is the managing director and CEO of Nakumatt Holdings Limited, the parent company of Nakumatt Supermarkets, the largest privately owned supermarket chain in the African Great Lakes Region. With more than 50 stores and annual sales of $450 million, the company operates through its subsidiaries in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda. In 2013, Shah valued shareholder equity in the retail chain at $400 million. It plans to expand its operations to Burundi and South Sudan in the next two to three years.
#5 Peter Munga Source: Financial Services Peter Munga is a Kenyan multimillionaire businessman and the immediate past group chair of Equity Bank Group, a company that he founded in 1984 as Equity Building Society. Equity Bank Group has grown into one of the largest bank holdings on the African continent by numbers of customers, with more than 15 million. The multimillionaire derives a substantial percentage of his wealth from his ownership stake in Britam Holdings and Equity Bank Group. He is also a non-executive director in Britam Holdings Plc, a leading diversified financial services group with a presence in seven African countries, and HF Group Plc, a Kenyan mortgage finance provider.
#6 James Mwangi Source: Financial Services James Mwangi is a Kenyan accountant, banker, businessman and entrepreneur. He is the group managing director and CEO of Equity Group Holdings Plc. He is the executive chairman of Equity Group Foundation, a Kenya-based entity formed to bolster corporate social responsibility and enhance socio-economic prosperity in the region. Together with his wife, Mwangi holds stakes in Britam Holdings and Equity Bank Group worth more than $65 million.
#7 Kimani Rugendo Source: Consumer Goods Kimani Rugendo, a Kenyan multimillionaire who turned his water business into a multi-billion-shilling empire, is one of the country’s richest businessmen. Thanks to his flagship company Kevian Kenya, he has built a fortune leveraging opportunities in the consumer goods industry through the sale of packaged water and juice products. Since the company’s founding, it has transformed itself into a whole fruit juice company, with two plants launching powerful brands like Pick ‘N’ Peel and Afia, which have gone on to dominate not only the Kenyan market, but the greater East and Central African regions.
#8 Adil Popat Source: Conglomerate Adil Popat is one of the most successful car dealers in Kenya through his Simba Corporation, an empire that includes auto dealerships, luxury hotels and engineering and financial services. The multimillionaire also owns the popular Villa Rosa Kempinski hotel in Nairobi. He is the group executive chairman of Simba Corporation.
#9 Suleiman Said Shahbal Source: Investment Banking, Financial Services and Energy Suleiman Said Shahbal is an investment banker, who has concluded deals across the globe in excess of $1 billion. The leading investor, who has more than 25 years of experience in the banking sector, recently concluded a deal that will set him on course to earn millions of dollars after the French multinational Rubis Energie receives approval to buy out shares in Gulf Energy Holdings. Shahbal was responsible for setting up Gulf Energy, Kenya’s fourth-largest energy company, with branches in Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Zambia and South Africa. His stake in Gulf Energy is held indirectly through Monte Carlo Investments Limited, which he wholly owns. Shahbal is also the mastermind of Kenya’s first Islamic bank, Gulf African Bank, which set the trend for a new industry in the country. It is currently the 14th largest bank in Kenya.
#10 Francis Koome Njogu Source: Energy Francis Koome Njogu is the CEO of Gulf Energy, a Nairobi-based special purpose vehicle owning part of the oil marketing assets and businesses of Gulf Energy Holdings. Just like Shahbal, Njogu is on course to pocket millions from the sale of shares in Gulf Energy Holdings to Rubis Energie.