Muranga Billionaires: Most of the central Kenya billionaires come from the same Rwathia village of Kangema, in Murang’a, succeeding in taking their businesses beyond Nairobi, into other capitals of African countries.
John Kibunga Kimani
John Kibunga Kimani is one of the most elusive billionaires. Putting a face to one of the fastest growing stock market investors is a challenge as his photo cannot be found in any of the libraries of the mainstream media houses in Kenya despite his one on one interviews with the reporters and of course his contributions at the annual general meetings where his photos would probably be taken.
Kimani currently owns 30 per cent of Kakuzi Limited. His stake means that the monetary worth in the company Sh. 1.7 billion. His other declared stake is in Nation Media Group estimated to be worth Sh. 400 million. He has more investments in the stock exchange.
Chris Kirubi is a household name in Kenya. At one point, his stake in Centum Investments was worth close to Sh. 6 billion. This is, however, one of the many of Kirubi’s investments, with the latest addition being the Two Rivers Mall. His business interests extend to banking, farming, manufacturing among others.
James Mwangi, the CEO of Equity Group can rightly be termed as the Grand Master of banking in East Africa. His declared stake in Equity Bank is worth Sh. 5 billion and another Sh. 650 million in Britam. Mwangi has many more shares in the stock market. Combined with other business interests, his worth runs in tens of billions of shillings. He is among the Rwathia village generation that took over from their fathers. He has taken Equity Bank beyond Kangema, and Nairobi, to across Africa.With more than 10 million customers in the six African countries, Equity Bank is the largest commercial bank in Africa by customer numbers. Last week, it announced planned entry into Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia.
Jimnah Mbaru, another son of Rwathia village is one of the most respected business people in Kenya. His stakes in firms listed on the NSE are worth billions. Mbaru is a veteran of the stock market and therefore owns many more stakes in different companies.
The investment banker is a resource in Kenya’s corporate world through his Dyer & Blair Investment Bank.
Benson Wairegi is the Managing Director of Britam also from Rwathia Rwathia. With his stake in Britam worth about Sh. 900 million, he has other interests at the stock market in companies like Equity Bank and Housing Finance among others.
Peter Munga, the former Chairman of the Equity Group, has made his own mark in the history of Kenya’s entrepreneurship. He is the found of the Equity Bank and his stake in the bank and other NSE firms is estimated to be worth billions shillings.
This feature was first published by The Standard.