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Kenya leads EAC in wealth numbers

BUSINESS
By Moses Omusolo | November 8th 2019
By Moses Omusolo | November 8th 2019
BUSINESS

Kenya leads the region in the number of adults falling under the middle-class.

According to the latest findings by Credit Suisse Research Institute, the country has the largest number of individuals who possess financial or non-financial assets worth at least $3,553 (Sh300,000 ) in East Africa. The study attributes the trend to the vibrancy of the Kenyan economy compared to its peers.  

“The factor that accounts most for the different trends in household wealth among countries is the general level of economic activity as represented by aggregate income, aggregate consumption or GDP,” says the firm in the Global Wealth Databook 2019.

“Economic expansion increases savings and investment by households and businesses, and raises the value of household-owned assets, both financial and non-financial.”

The study found that global wealth is still concentrated in the hands of a few individuals.

“The global wealth distribution in the form of a wealth pyramid… places adults in one of four wealth bands: under $10,000 (Sh1 million); between $10,000 and $100,000 (Sh10 million); between $100,000 and $1 million (Sh100 million); and over $1 million,” said the Swiss think tank in the report.

“The base level of the pyramid contains 2.9 billion adults, or 57 per cent of the global population, but accounts for only 1.8 per cent of global wealth. In contrast, dollar millionaires comprise 0.9 per cent of all adults, but collectively own 44 per cent of all assets.” 

The study also found that while the income equality across Africa has increased, it is only a few who manage to secure “the good life”.

Credit Suisse further found that the whole of Africa has only 153,779 individuals who are worth between $1 million (Sh100 million) and $5 million (Sh500 million) while only 11,234 are worth between $5 million and $10 million (Sh1 billion). On the other hand, only 5,589 are worth between $10 million and $50 million (Sh5 billion). 

A mere 461 individuals are worth between $50 million and $100 million (Sh10 billion), with another 289 worth between $100 million and $500 million (Sh50 billion), while as few as 54 individuals are worth more than $500 million. The data further shows Kenya’s peers have not been able to catch up for nearly 20 years, with only Eritrea presenting a formidable challenge.

The Global Wealth Databook provides estimates for the level and distribution of wealth for over 200 countries from 2000 to mid-2019.

Despite Kenya’s impressive standing in the region, it fares badly in comparison with Seychelles and Mauritius whose citizens are currently worth at least Sh2 million each.

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