Kenya’s Top 10 Richest Men

Everyone would like to be rich, because why not!  Knowing the movers and shakers therefore wouldn’t hurt. You can follow up with them to get their golden nuggets of wisdom about life and money and other things that have shaped them into who they are today.

The list of the richest men in Kenya is quite a bit like a revolving door in that the leader is often supplanted every year. But evidently, times change and so do fortunes. So in no particular order, let’s see who stands where in the list of Kenya’s obscenely wealthy as published by the Business Daily.

1. Vimal Shah

Where would you expect the son of a Coffee peasant in Thika to be? Probably still in Thika pruning coffee bushes right? Vimal Shah is the CEO of Bidco Oil Refineries Limited, the largest manufacturer of edible oils in East and Central Africa. He tops the list of the super-rich with KES 144 billion (USD 1.7 billion) to his name, according to the Business Daily. In November 2013, Forbes ranked him the richest man in East Africa, and Africa’s 18th richest.

He is the only dollar billionaire in Kenya.

2. Manu Chandaria

Last year, says the Daily Nation, Mr Chandaria was ranked as Kenya’s richest man by Nigerian publication Ventures Africa with a fortune of USD 1.65 billion (KES 142 billion). He is an industrialist who has recently become Kenya’s top most philanthropists. He chairs Comcraft Group, a company that produces steel and has a presence in more than 40 countries.

3. Prandeep Paunrhana

The Athi River Mining CEO holds an 18% stake in the company, which is worth KES 7.9 billion at the Nairobi Securities Exchange.

4. Bharat Thakrar

Bharat Thakkar is the founder and CEO of Scangroup, East Africa’s largest marketing services group. He is the company’s largest individual shareholder and owned 54,811,360 shares valued at KES 3.61 billion (USD 42.1 million) as at December 2012.

5. Neushad Merali

He is the founder of  Sameer Group Limited. He also owns Sasini Tea Limited and Eveready East Africa Limited which are all listed at the NSE.


Once upon a time, he made a USD 20 million within an hour. In 2000, along with French Media giant Vivendi, he launched Kencell, a Kenyan mobile phone service provider, write’s Forbes.. In one of Kenya’s most fabled boardroom coups, in 2004 he convinced Vivendi to sell him its 60% stake in the company for USD 230 million. An hour later, he flipped it to Celtel for USD 250 million- earning a quick USD 20 million profit. He now owns a 5% stake in Bharti Airtel.

6. James Mwangi

Equity Bank’s chief executive James Mwangi has a stake of 4.88 per cent in the bank, both directly and indirectly, according to the bank’s financial report for December 2012. This puts his stake in the bank at about Sh6 billion, making him one of the country’s wealthiest CEOs.

7. Peter Munga

According to Ventures Africa, Mr. Munga founded Equity Building Society Ltd, the precursor of Equity Bank, and now serves as its chairman. He is also the chairman of, amongst others, Pioneer International College, Kenya Genetic Resource Centre and Freshco International Ltd. He is also a Non-executive director at Britam.

8. Chris Kirubi

You can also call him DJ CK. 2012 figures indicate that his key holdings include 147,610,142 shares in Centum Limited, a Kenyan investment holding company. The shares are held through his name and through Kiruma International, his investment company and are worth KES 1.86 billion (USD 21.6 million). He also owns 15,601,954 shares in Kenya Power worth KES 266 million (2012).

9. Jimnah Mbaru

Mbaru is the founder and CEO of Dyer & Blair Investment bank, arguably Kenya’s most successful investment bank. He was too one of the original founders of Transcentury Group, an investment holding firm which owns stakes from power manufacturing plants and rail infrastructure to tea producing companies in East and Southern Africa.

In 2012, Mbaru owned 16,659,490 Transcentury shares which amounted to a 6.08 percent stake.

10. Nicholas Biwott

Call him the Total Man. Mr Biwott has vast investments abroad and, in Kenya, he is associated with Yaya Centre, an upmarket shopping centre, in Hurlingham, oil marketer KenolKobil as well as land and property valued at billions of shillings.



Written by PH

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