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Super rich: The enviable lives of Kenya’s 340 multi-millionaires

 The country has about 340 multi-millionaires

The country has about 340 multi-millionaires — those with a net worth of at least $10 million (Sh1 billion). This number is likely to more than double to 810 by 2025.

Those with at least $30 million (Sh3 billion) are 105, while those with $100 million (Sh10.1 billion) and more are 16. Kenya’s dollar billionaires will rise to two in 10 years’ time.

Residential real estate accounts for a quarter of the average super-rich person’s investable wealth, according to the report, while commercial property investments make up 11 per cent.

More than half (55 per cent) of these millionaires say they buy residential property to sell it at a profit in the future.

The rest say they invest in residential homes to diversify their portfolio, or because they consider real estate is a safe haven.

Private jets are also becoming a critical investment because of the long distances between African business hubs. Even for those with businesses across the country, the road network does not permit them to move with ease, so they fly.

The super rich also engage in luxury spending, but it is a lot more nuanced than that of the newly wealthy.

Wealth creation

Luxury Network of Kenya CEO Michael Mwai attributes this to experience.

“The older you are, the more have seen, the more you appreciate and you become very choosy,” he said, adding that the super rich will not buy a watch, for instance, but shop for a timepiece they can hand over to the next generation.

Such luxurious products are not easily available in Kenya, so the super rich fly out once in a while to the world’s luxury capitals, such as Milan or Paris. This means they can hold on to one quality item for years.

Interestingly, the super rich are keen not flaunt their wealth, so while they may make some extravagant purchases, such a posh car, it will likely be driven by their children.

According to Knight Frank, the increased scrutiny super rich individuals face from the public and regulatory authorities has made a majority of them — almost 70 per cent of respondents — more conscious about displaying their wealth in public.

Most HNWIs are also showing concern for the poor and increasingly getting into philanthropy and setting up charities.

The super rich in Kenya are building schools, hospitals and providing clean drinking water in areas where there was none.

The motivation for this in many cases is more likely fear than guilt. The wealth report notes that one of the biggest threats to wealth creation today is the ever-expanding gap between the rich and the poor.

And, as they say, the rich also cry. They may not brood over how to afford school fees or feed their families, but over how their estates will be managed when they die, and if their wealth will withstand the forces of time. Often, they do not trust their children, who tend to burn money on flashy purchases, not smart ones.



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