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Equity Bank founder’s long journey to billionaires club

By Winsley Masese
Updated Mon, December 9th 2013 at 00:00 GMT +3
Equity Bank board chairman Peter Munga. (Photo:File/Standard)

By Winsley Masese

Kenya: Equity Bank board chairman Peter Munga, is arguably one of the richest Kenyans. His vast business empire and interests span across finance, insurance, education, and agriculture.

His share holding at Equity Bank and Britam are valued at over Sh1 billion, in the current market price. He has 58 million shares at Britam.

Besides, he is the chairman to the board at the National Oil Corporation and director at Housing Finance and Britam, both quoted companies.

“I am also a director and chairman in my home,” he says heartily.  This directorship cannot afford free money to his son who wants to buy say top-of-the range Mercedes Benz.

“I will tell my son to go to hell. He has to make his own money and buy one. Besides, he must work for it,” he says.

Nevertheless, Munga would only give his child precious thing — hard work and economic independence. “I would also love to see them become innovative by leveraging on technology.”

Education philanthropy

He holds education so dear to his heart. This has been manifested in the Wings to Fly Program launched by Equity Bank to assist bright but needy students continue with their education.

“I started this idea when I used to pay school fees for children from my area as part of my dedication to empower the community,” he avers.

“Education is the key to breaking the vicious circle of poverty,” he says. He also runs Pioneer Group of Schools, whose returns are promising.

“I cannot invest in it if there are no returns. However, my greatest gift is to see them achieve exemplary performance,” he says. But no matter how much you acquire the wings, he believes that “knowledge without application is useless.”

Changing lives

Asked to state his wealth, he becomes philosophical: “Just this cup of tea.”

Even success to him is relative. “A photographer can be successful by taking a great photo that can change lives in society,” so he believes.

However, he owes his success to the passion he has in whatever he sets his sight on and to pursue it with faith. “This is the master key to my endeavour, coupled with hard work and persistence.”

Along that entrepreneurial pathway are people who he says are key to a sector like banking. “I am successful because people have had confidence in me, especially when I embarked on my entrepreneurial journey,” he notes.

As part of that society, they understood his background and principally, he was part of them.

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