Kenya adds 180 individuals worth Sh0.5bn in net assets

08 March 2018

Nairobi, Kenya – Kenya’s population of individuals worth at least US$5 million (approx. Sh500 million) in net assets rose to 1,290 in 2017, a 16.2% increase from 1,110 in 2016, according to data provided by Wealth-X for the Knight Frank Wealth Report 2018.*

Out of the 1,290 individuals, 90 are worth US$50 million (Sh5 billion) or more. However, Kenya has less than 10 individuals worth US$500 million (Sh50 billion) or more.

The number of Kenya’s dollar millionaires worth at least US$5 million is expected to grow by 60.5% over the next five years to 2,070 in 2022, which will be the second fastest growth in Africa behind Nigeria’s 74% to 6,500 individuals. Africa had a total of 22,970 individuals in the US$5m+ wealth band in 2017, which was a 7% increase over 2016. The continent had a total of 1,190 individuals worth at least US$50 million, holding total wealth estimated at US$245 billion.

In Africa, South Africa has the highest number of individuals with assets valued at US$5 million or more, followed by Egypt with 4,180. Nigeria has 3,730 individuals in this wealth bracket, Tanzania 250, Zambia 140, while Uganda has less than 100.

According to The Wealth Report’s Attitudes Survey, 43% of respondents from Kenya said their clients’ wealth increased in the 12 months to December, with a similar percentage saying it decreased. 14% of the respondents said their clients’ wealth remained unchanged in 2017.

The majority of respondents (67%) attributed the impact on their clients’ wealth in the year to political conditions, while 56% said local economic conditions impacted on wealth; 44% said performance of their clients’ businesses impacted on their wealth, with a further 39% citing performance of non-property investments.

The majority of wealth advisors in Kenya (81%) expect their clients’ wealth to increase in 2018, with only 5% anticipating a decline. The increase in wealth is largely attributed to improved political and economic conditions in the country, as well as performance of property investments and high-net-worth-individuals’ (HNWIs) personal businesses.

Ben Woodhams, Managing Director at Knight Frank Kenya, said: “This expectation of increased wealth underlines the confidence that Kenyan HNWIs have in the future economic performance of the country.”

The top sectors generating wealth for Kenyans are retail businesses (18%); finance, banking and investment (18%); industrial businesses (8%); and manufacturing (6%). The majority of Kenya’s affluent are self-made (56%), 5% have inherited, while 39% have made wealth both from inheritance and their own enterprises.

The Attitudes Survey, which collated responses of 500 of the world’s leading private bankers and wealth advisors, consistently showed that passing wealth to the next generation remains a major concern for the wealthy globally.

Andrew Shirley, Editor of The Wealth Report, said: “Fear that their children will fritter their inheritance away, the worry that passing on too much too soon will dampen their offspring’s entrepreneurial spirit, or simply concerns about how to treat siblings fairly—all weigh on their minds.”

Indeed, most Kenyan HNWIs have yet to put robust succession plans in place, with only 40% of respondents to the Attitudes Survey in the affirmative. This is the lowest percentage of succession preparedness worldwide, against a high of 65% in the US, global average of 53% and Africa’s 47%.

“This highlights the scale of the issue (succession planning concerns) and helps to explain why private banks and wealth advisers are putting so much effort into helping their clients with succession planning,” the report states.

On education, 49% of the respondents from Kenya said their clients send their children overseas for education. The majority of wealth advisors (67%) expect the percentage to increase.

Wealth managers and advisors said 18% of Kenyan HNWIs already have a second passport or dual nationality, which is lower than the global (34%) and Africa (28%) scores. Only 16% are considering to acquire second passports or dual nationalities—but even this is still lower than the Africa average (27%) and global (29%).

The low percentage is explained by the insight that most Kenyan HNWIs do not intend to emigrate permanently to other countries, with only 6% of wealth advisors affirming this compared to 21% globally and 19% in Africa. This reflects well on their confidence of the country’s economic future.

Nonetheless, Kenyan HNWIs considering to emigrate prefer the US (42%), Canada (32%), UK (26%), Australia (21%), South Africa (11%), and 5% to France, Germany, India, Netherlands and Sweden. At least 3% of HNWIs in Africa would consider emigrating to Kenya.

On philanthropy, Kenyan HNWIs are most likely to support causes in education and environmental issues (50%), job creation/training (39%), disaster/relief emergencies (28%), social issues (equality/human rights) and healthcare/disease control (17%). Education is the top preference globally at 54% and 58% in Africa. Most wealth managers (83%) feel that their Kenyan clients’ philanthropic activities are increasing.


Wealth distribution data (Kenya)







































*Wealth distribution data was provided by Wealth-X for three tiers—US$5m+, US$50m+ and US$500m+—hence the absence of the total HNWI figures in The Wealth Report this year.


To download The Wealth Report 2018, please follow this link.

For additional information, please contact:

James Waithaka, PR & Communications Officer | Knight Frank Kenya, on

Notes to Editors

Knight Frank LLP is the leading independent global property consultancy. Headquartered in London, Knight Frank has more than 15,000 people operating from 418 offices across 60 markets. The Group advises clients ranging from individual owners and buyers to major developers, investors and corporate tenants. For further information about the Company, please visit or

The Wealth Report 2018 is the 12th edition of the report published by Knight Frank to provide a global perspective on prime property and wealth. This annual publication includes price performance data for 100 global luxury property markets as well as the results of The Wealth Report Attitudes Survey and Knight Frank’s Global Cities Index.