Struggling retail sector making investors richer: Wealth Report

March 8, 2018
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Editor of the report Andrew Shirley (L) says the number of Kenya’s dollar millionaires worth at least Sh500 million is expected to grow by 60.5 percent over the next five years

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 8 – Despite its woes, Kenya’s retail sector is turning out to be a lucrative field, growing investor’s wealth only comparable to the finance and banking sector.  

Knight Frank’s 2018 Wealth Report reveals 18 percent of Kenya’s high net worth individuals put their money in the retail business.

Finance, banking & investment sector is also a preferred option for Kenya’s elite investors tying with retail at 18 percent. Industrial businesses came in third at 8 percent while manufacturing closed the top four at 6 percent.

The report highlights that Kenya’s high net worth investors with Sh500 million in assets increased by 16 percent in 2017 to hit to hit 1, 290 compared to 1, 110 in 2016. Out of the 1,290 individuals, 90 are worth Sh5 billion or more.

However, Kenya has less than 10 individuals worth Sh50 billion or more.

Editor of the report Andrew Shirley says the number of Kenya’s dollar millionaires worth at least Sh500 million is expected to grow by 60.5 percent over the next five years to 2,070 in 2022, which will be the second fastest growth in Africa behind Nigeria’s 74 percent to 6,500 individuals.

The retail sector employs nearly 8 million people directly and indirectly through the supply chain, contributing over Sh500 billion to Kenya’s economy.

The sector is, however, facing challenges with two of Kenya’s major retailers closing dozens of branches and struggling to secure investors to pump in money, allowing foreign-owned outlets to open branches in a hitherto hostile market.

The majority of Kenya’s affluent are self-made at 56 percent with only 5 percent inherited, while 39 percent have made wealth both from inheritance and their own enterprises.

Africa had a total of 22,970 individuals in the Sh500 million plus wealth band in 2017, which was a 7 percent increase over 2016.

The continent had a total of 1,190 individuals worth at least Sh5 billion, holding total wealth estimated at US$245 billion.

In Africa, South Africa has the highest number of individuals with assets valued at Sh500 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.

Property market makes up 43 percent of Kenyan high-net-worth-individuals’ (HNWIs) investment portfolios, excluding primary residences and second homes.

This averages higher than their African counterparts’ 39%. The majority of Kenya’s super-rich (59%) have invested in real estate in the country, while 27% hold property interests outside the country.

According to the Attitudes Survey insights, respondents said 46 percent of their Kenyan high net-worth investors’ clients are considering investing in property locally in 2018.

The wealthy are more interested in investing in offices at 39 percent; residential (i.e. hotels, retail, private rented sector/multifamily) and agricultural property at 28 percent; student accommodation and logistics/warehouses at 22 percent; infrastructure at 17 percent; industrial at 11 percent; and healthcare and retirement housing at 6 percent.

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