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Kenya's population of super-rich declines

By Fredrick Obura | February 24th 2021

Kenya’s population of High-Net-Worth Individuals slipped by 22 per cent last year, a new survey reveals.
According to Knight Frank survey, High-Net-Worth Individuals (HNWIs) are those worth over Sh108 million (one million US dollars)

The survey shows that the population of High-Net-Worth Individuals (HNWIs) slipped by 22 per cent last year, compared with a global decline of just 8 per cent.

Over the next five years, the wealth sizing model predicts the population of the rich in Kenya will bounce back by 46 per cent.

Last year was challenging to many due to the effects of Covid-19 which affected nearly all sectors of the economy.
Respondents in the Attitudes Survey also revealed that Covid-19 is by far the biggest current worry for the Kenyan wealthy when it comes to creating and preserving their wealth.

“Many may ask why are we interested in the wealthy in the middle of a pandemic? The objective of The Wealth Report is to assess how and where the ‘one – per cent” are investing and what they are likely to do next. This gives policymakers and investors, insight into behaviour and attitudes to understand market and asset performance,” says Andrew Shirley, editor of The Wealth Report at Knight Frank.

Wealth advisers who participated in the Knight Frank Attitudes Survey in 2020 stated that their Kenyan clients allocated their property investment portfolio in the following property types: Residential private rented sector (PRS) (22 per cent), Retail (17 per cent), Offices (14 per cent) and Retirement (13 per cent).  

The top five popular sectors that the rich are becoming more interested in and directing investments towards are Retirement and Development land (38 per cent), Residential private rented sector (PRS) (33 per cent), Agricultural (29 per cent), Healthcare & Retail (25 per cent) and Offices (21 per cent).

“Even though 2020 caused upheaval for most businesses and investors, there is renewed optimism in 2021 that as travel restrictions reduce and the rollout plans of the vaccination programs reach an advanced stage, private capital will look to increase exposure back to the market and focus on sectors with a strong long-term outlook,” noted Ben Woodhams, Knight Frank Managing Director.

According to the survey, almost 20 per cent of the rich in Kenya are planning to buy a new home in 2021 with Kenya as their most popular destination, followed by the UK, US, South Africa and Canada.

“The Wealth Report confirms a clear rise in demand for residential property as wealthy Kenyans look to buy a new home this year. The pandemic is super-charging demand for locations that offer green spaces as more people are increasingly focused on wellness as they spent a great deal of 2020 at home, working remotely.”

Only 19 per cent of Kenyan high-net-worth-individuals (HNWIs) are considering applying for a second passport or new citizenship, indicating that they see many of the opportunities to create wealth lie at home. This compares with 39 per cent of wealthy Chinese and a whopping 62 per cent of HNWIs in Nigeria.

L-R- Maina Mwangi, Executive Director Knight Frank Kenya,Tilda Mwai Knight Frank Researcher Africa and Ben Woodhams MD Knight Frank Kenya: (PHOTO: WILBERFORCE OKWIRI)


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