Politics and policy

Nairobi ranked among top havens for the super-rich

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An aerial view of a section of Nairobi. FILE

An aerial view of a section of Nairobi. The city's population of high-net-worth individuals is growing at the fastest rate according to a newly released ranking by New World Wealth. FILE 

By Victor Juma

Posted  Monday, August 19  2013 at  20:50

In Summary

  • Nairobi’s population of high-net-worth individuals also growing at the fastest rate — only second to Ghana’s Accra — according to a newly released ranking by New World Wealth.
  • The survey of the wealthy found that the Kenyan capital was home to 5,000 dollar millionaires last year, placing it fifth in Africa.
  • South Africa’s Johannesburg has the highest concentration of HNWIs at 23,400, according to the survey done early this year.
  • New World Wealth expects the population of Nairobi’s rich to grow by 6.3 per cent annually to 8,100 by 2020.
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Kenyan capital Nairobi has been ranked among African cities with the highest population of dollar millionaires.

Nairobi’s population of high-net-worth (HNWI) individuals is also growing at the fastest rate — only second to Ghana’s Accra — according to a newly released ranking by New World Wealth.

The survey of the wealthy found that the Kenyan capital was home to 5,000 dollar millionaires last year, placing it fifth in Africa after Cairo, Lagos, and Cape Town whose wealthy residents stood at 12,300, 9,800, and 9,000 respectively.

South Africa’s Johannesburg has the highest concentration of HNWIs at 23,400, according to the survey done early this year.

The presence of a larger group of super-rich individuals in a city is seen to be a key growth driver arising from robust demand for luxury goods, prime properties, art and services like wealth management and private banking.

Each city’s population of wealthy individuals is understood to reflect its relative economic strength.

New World Wealth — which tracks 120,000 HNWIs worldwide — expects the population of Nairobi’s rich to grow by 6.3 per cent annually to 8,100 by 2020.

The research firm draws its data from private bankers, stockbrokers, deal announcements and interviews with the rich individuals themselves. An individual’s primary residence is excluded in calculating their net worth.

Consumer market watchers said the finding explains the rapid growth in the number of luxury goods merchants in Nairobi looking to cash in on the huge discretionary spending by the growing list of wealthy consumers.

Nairobi residents, who meet the set wealth criteria, said recent economic advancement under President Kibaki had enabled more Kenyans to join the ranks of the super-rich.

“Nairobi has a large concentration of big investors attracted by high returns and relatively better infrastructure compared to other cities in the region,” Chris Kirubi, a shilling billionaire, told Business Daily in a telephone interview from China.

Mr Kirubi said investors have been making a lot of money in real estate, manufacturing, construction, and communication sectors.

Nairobi’s status as a regional communications, infrastructure, and financial hub has also helped swell its ranks of dollar millionaires in the form of foreign investors and expatriates attached to multinationals setting up regional headquarters in the capital.

Kenya is placed fourth in the ranking of African countries according to the population of dollar millionaires. East Africa’s largest economy is listed as having 8,400 dollar millionaires behind South Africa, Egypt, and Nigeria which have 48,800, 23,000, and 15,900 HNWIs respectively.

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