Kenya’s wealth is becoming increasingly concentrated in the hands of Asians, although some industrialists are breaking into the ranks of the super-rich.
According to a report by Oxfam International, a global charity organisation that fights inequality, the top two most affluent Kenyans had a net worth higher than the combined wealth of 16.5 million citizens—highlighting the massive gap in fortunes between the country’s haves and the have-nots.
The report showed that Sameer Naushad Merali held onto his title of Kenya’s richest man with a net worth of $790 million (Sh89.6 billion). Bhimji Depar Shah rose one spot to take second place with a net worth of $790 million (Sh89.6 billion).
Among the biggest movers for 2019 were Jaswinder Singh Bedi 680 million (Sh77.1 billion) and Mahendra Rambhai Patel ($430 million/Sh48.7 billion), whose family owns Ramco Group, a conglomerate with interests in print, hardware, manufacturing, office supply and property sectors.
“Between 2016 and 2021, the number of individuals with wealth over $50 million increased from 80 to 120. Their combined wealth increased from $12.73 billion to $17.4 billion, an increase of 36.8 per cent, adjusted for inflation,” the wealth study report noted.
Here are the top five richest people in Kenya in 2022.
1. Sameer Naushad Merali
Merali is Kenya’s wealthiest individual, with a net worth of $790 million (Sh89.6 billion). According to Oxfam International, Merali became the wealthiest Kenyan after inheriting the wealth left behind by the late Naushad Merali. Merali built his wealth from diverse investments, including telecommunications, manufacturing, agriculture, banking and real estate.
2. Bhimji Depar Shah
Shah follows Merali closely in second place with a net worth of $790 million (Sh89.6 billion). The Bidco Group founder built his wealth from businesses in manufacturing consumer goods, including famous brands such as Noodies Instant Noodles, Planet Soda, Kimbo cooking fat, and Gentle Care.
3. Jaswinder Singh Bedi
Oxfam ranked textile manufacturer Bedi as the third wealthiest person in Kenya for his work in running one of the largest textile factories in the country. His net worth is estimated at $680 million (Sh77.1 billion).
4. Uhuru Kenyatta
The report ranks President Uhuru Kenyatta as Kenya’s fourth wealthiest person with a net worth of $530 million (Sh60 billion). The report added that the wealth is likely associated with the wider Kenyatta family, who retains interests in various sectors, including banking, milk processing, transport, media, hospitality and land.
5. Mahendra Rambgai Patel
The report ranks Patel as the fifth richest Kenyan, with a net worth of ($430 million/Sh48.7 billion) whose family owns Ramco Group, a conglomerate with interests in print, hardware, manufacturing, office supply and property sectors.