Kenya boasts a population of billionaires who have attained their success through various business ventures spanning across sectors like banking, manufacturing, and telecommunications.
However, it may come as a surprise to some that a number of these successful billionaires actually attended lesser-known high schools, challenging the belief that one’s educational background is the determining factor for achieving success in life.
Here are some of the little-known schools Kenya Billionaires attended.
Philip Ndegwa was a prominent figure in Kenya’s financial sector, serving as the country’s third Central Bank governor from 1982 to 1988.
He was well-educated, having attended Alliance High School, Makerere University, and Harvard University.
Ndegwa was known for his immense wealth, having reportedly been the first Kenyan to accumulate a billion shillings, which caught the attention of Forbes magazine.
He passed away on January 7, 1996, leaving behind his vast wealth, which his children have since inherited.
James Mwangi is a well-known individual in the banking industry of Kenya, holding the positions of Group Managing Director and Group Chief Executive Officer at Equity Group Holdings Plc.
In December 2019, Equity Group Holdings boasted one of the largest customer bases in Africa, serving over 14 million customers. Mwangi was born around 1962 in Kangema, a region in Central Province, where he witnessed the challenges his family and community faced in making ends meet.
Despite the difficulties, his mother instilled in him the values of discipline, hard work, social responsibility, and humility from a young age, motivating him to strive for a better future.
He received a government scholarship to attend Nyagatugu Primary School and Ichagaki Secondary School before studying economics, English literature, and geography at Kagumo High School.
He attained Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Nairobi .
He was awarded five honorary doctorate degrees from various universities for his contributions to Kenya’s business and banking sectors.
Peter Kahara Munga is known for his contributions to the banking sector. Having a customer base of more than 9.2 million as of June 2014, the Equity Bank Group is the largest bank holding company in Africa.
Years back, Peter Kahara Munga resigned from his position as the group chair of Equity Bank Group.
He is known for being one of the wealthiest individuals in Kenya, with a net worth exceeding US$100 million as of February 2014.
He was born in 1943 and founded the Equity Building Society (EBS) in Kangema in 1984.
The EBS later transformed into Equity Group Holdings Limited on December 31, 2014.
Munga’s business journey started at Gaichanjiru High School in Kangema Constituency before he joined the University of Nairobi.
After completing his studies, he worked as an assistant secretary at the Ministry of Water before resigning in 1993.
Simon Gicharu is a highly regarded educationalist and the founder of Mount Kenya University, the largest private university in East and Central Africa.
The firstborn of a family of seven siblings, he was born in Gathiruini village in Kiambu County, Kenya, in 1964.
In addition to his role as the Chairman of the Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Corporation and the National Private Universities Owners Association of Kenya, Gicharu is also the founder of Equip Africa Institute and the patron of the Mount Kenya University Graduate Enterprise Academy.
He is a board member at Thika Water and Sewerage Company and the patron of Inter Universities Rover Moot under the Kenya Scouts Association.
Before his success, Gicharu attended Kiawairia Primary School and Gathiruini Secondary School before moving on to Murang’a High School for his O-levels.
Growing up, Gicharu and his siblings helped their peasant farmer parents make ends meet by picking coffee at large commercial farms.
Tabitha Karanja is the CEO and Founder of Keroche Breweries. The brewery accounts for over 20% of the country’s beer consumption.
Karanja was born in Kijabe and attended Bahati Girls Secondary School in Nakuru County, an extra-county school.
After completing her education, she worked as an Accounting Clerk at the Ministry of Tourism before venturing into business with her husband to establish Keroche Breweries in 1997.
Peter Muthoka is a well-known and accomplished entrepreneur who founded Acceler Global Logistics, a prominent freight and logistics firm in Kenya.
The company’s primary focus is on designing, executing, and managing intricate supply chain solutions for numerous major international corporations within Kenya on a local, regional, and global basis.
In 2016, the World Customs Organization acknowledged Muthoka’s entrepreneurial endeavors as his company, Acceler Global Logistics, received an award for its role in enhancing trade.
The logistics company has been at the forefront of operations at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, which is one of the busiest airports in Africa.
In addition to his success in the cargo business, Muthoka has also held shares in some of Kenya’s biggest companies.
Despite his current wealth and status, Muthoka had humble beginnings attending Nyeri High School in Nyeri County.
SK Macharia is a prominent media mogul and billionaire in Kenya. He has shared that he was forced to live as a homeless scavenger during the colonial days.
Despite these challenges, he worked hard and attended Ndakaini Primary School, followed by Gituru Intermediate School and Kahuhia Teachers Training College.
Today, he founded Citizen TV and Royal Media Services (RMS), the leading TV station in Kenya.
Billionaire Jimnah Mbaru is considered one of the wealthiest people in business in Kenya, but his journey to the top has been challenging.
Born in Kangema, a little-known village in Murang’a County, Mbaru has been involved in several landmark transactions in the Capital Markets, including Safaricom IPO, Kenya Power (KPLC) Capital Base Restructuring, and the private equity investment by Helios into Equity Bank.
He attended Kirogo Secondary School in Murang’a County before pursuing his studies at Strathmore College and the University of Nairobi.
In 2018, Mbaru announced his exit from Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE), and he also unsuccessfully vied for the Nairobi governorship in 2013.