Kenya has no dollar billionaires, says report

A report shows Kenya has no dollar billionaires. (Photo: Courtesy)

Kenya’s mysterious dollar billionaire has disappeared from the list of the latest publication of the world’s wealthiest people by property consultants Knight Frank.

The firm’s 2016 Wealth Report indicated that one Kenyan had a net worth of $1 billion or more (Sh100 billion), but they have since struck the individual off the list.

This is the kind of money the Government could use to significantly improve the pay packages of all 600,000 public servants from July this year.

The unnamed multi-billionaire appeared on the 2014 and 2015 lists but the latest Knight Frank report now says there was no such person.

The new report points out that two more people joined the club of individuals with a net worth of between Sh10 billion and Sh100 billion, a rung lower.

The Knight Frank report had also anticipated that the country would have two dollar billionaires in 10 years, but have since reversed their projections, pointing out that the country will not have the “super-super” rich by 2026.

According to researchers for The Wealth Report, a revision of the high net worth individuals’ data, which only captures individuals’ wealth and not family wealth, established that Kenya hasn’t yet had a dollar billionaire (those worth $1 billion or more).

This is not the first time individuals have been ranked and then subsequently removed, in what appears to be a trend where most wealth is held by families rather than individuals.

In 2011, President Uhuru Kenyatta, then the Deputy Prime Minister, was ranked among Africa’s richest people on the Forbes list, with a net worth of $500 Million (Sh50 billion). However, he was later dropped from the ranking in a report that said the wealth was owned by the family.

It is also difficult to pinpoint a multi-billionaire, but a look at Forbes shows that individuals from three prominent families fell off the global riches list last year.

Bidco Group’s founder and chairman Bhimji Depar Shah, who according to Forbes had a net worth of $700 million (Sh70 billion) in November 2014, was dropped off Africa’s 50 richest individuals list last year. He was ranked 31st.

Bidco’s fortunes remained relatively positive, although the company faced a setback in its forays into Uganda after the United Nations Development Programme admitted due diligence flaws in the firm’s palm oil project.

Earlier, the Uganda High Court had cleared them of environmental breach charges.

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