President Uhuru Kenyatta has appointed Billionaire Narendra Raval as Egerton’s University Chancellor.
Raval replaces the University’s outgoing Chancellor Prof Shem Oyoo Wandiga.
Also known as the Guru, Raval is a Kenyan of Indian decent who is an industrialist and philanthropist. He is the founder of the Devki Group of Companies, which manufactures steel products, roofing sheets and cement.
He was born in 1962 in a small village in Gujarat, India, but migrated to Kenya in 1978 when he was 16 years old to work as a temple teacher.
Raval built his business empire from a humble background with the support of his wife Neeta Naval. They started a small steel processing store in Nairobi’s Gikomba market that grew to become Devki Group of Companies.
Devki Group, East Africa’s largest construction material company, manufactures steel, roofing sheets, and cement.
Companies under the conglomerate include Devki Steel Mills Limited, National Cement Companies Limited, Maisha Mabati Mills Limited and Northwood Agencies Limited, which offers helicopter services.
According to Forbes, Devki Group, which employs more than 4,500 employees, has an annual revenue of more than Sh65 billion.
The down to earth billionaire is one of the wealthiest people in Kenya and Africa with an estimated net value of Sh40 billion. He was featured among the top 50 richest men in Forbes Africa 2015 list.
Raval is a devoted philanthropist who funds a string of children homes in the country. The father of three told a Forbes reporter in 2017 that he would donate half of his wealth to charity. The other half goes to his family as inheritance.
Raval who wakes up at 5.30 every day, starts with prayer before proceeding with other activities did not make it college or university.
“I did not get the chance to study in the university…but that doesn’t matter. I would like other people to study.” He said in an interview with a local station.
“He couldn’t even afford shoes for school,” a tweet by Devki Group reads.
In his autobiography, Guru: A Long Walk to Success, he reveals that his “guidelines for succeeding as an industrialist are based on his experiences as a businessman and not drawn from any management textbook.
The tycoon joins the growing number of business people previously appointed by President Uhuru to head universities. They include Manu Chandaria (Chancellor of Technical University of Kenya), Equity Bank Chief Executive Officer Dr James Mwangi (Chancellor Meru University), and Businessman Peter Wanyaga Muthoka (Chancellor Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology).