In the process of carrying out the research, we discovered that whereas some tycoons have a grass-to-grace story, some, mostly those from wealthy backgrounds, attended top tier institutions but kept the fire burning all the way to decision-making table.
From presidential aspirant, Jimmy Wanjigi to little-known billionaire Joseph Wanjui, the tycoons on this list attended national schools ranging from Alliance High School to Mang’u.
Here are 5 billionaires who had a steady start in life.
1. Jimi Wanjigi
Born in 1962, Kenyan businessman and politician Jimi Wanjigi is currently making a stab at the presidency but he can attribute his success to his time at St Mary’s School.
During his time at the school, Wanjigi schooled alongside Uhuru and Baringo Senator, Gideon Moi, before transitioning to York University to study business.
Upon his return, he took over Kwacha Group, a family business, which is a holding firm for several other businesses owned by the family. The company has shares in various corporations including Barclays Bank (now Absa PLC).
He also runs Caramel Restaurant and Lounge located at ABC Place along Waiyaki Way.
2. Bundotich Buzeki
In recent years, billionaire and politician Zedekiah Kiprop Bundotich, popularly known as Buzeki, has found himself brushing shoulders with top government official, which only affirms how much power he wields.
From a humble beginning of hawking milk using a cart in the Coast region, Buzeki rose to become a business mogul who is among the richest CEOs in Kenya.
Part of his turning point, however, occurred after he got accepted to Mang’u High School after excelling in his Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) at Molo Academy.
After his stint in the milk distribution sector, he bought the company he worked for from his employer and rebranded it to Kilifi Gold. His shopping spree extended to Molo Milk and Limuru Dairy Farmers Cooperative Society.
In 2013, Brookside made him an offer he couldn’t refuse, propelling him into billionaire status after buying two of his dairy companies for approximately Ksh1.1 billion. Today, he runs one of the country’s largest logistics firms, Buzeki Enterprises Limited.
3. Duncan Ndegwa
The late Central Bank of Kenya Governor has a storied career filled with a number of firsts including being the first post-independence head of civil service.
Born in 1925, Ndegwa had his head-start at Alliance High School before he proceeded to Makerere University in Uganda and Scotland’s University of St Andrews.
Upon return, the billionaire had a stint in public service where he worked as Permanent Secretary, Secretary to the Cabinet and Head of the Public Service.
He was also among the 10 biggest shareholders of NIC Bank and chairman of the Mombasa Continental Resort. He passed away in January 1996.
4. Joseph Wanjui
Billionaire Joseph Wanjui will go down as one of Kenya’s richest individuals as well one of the country’s most influential persons.
The tycoon, at his peak, crisscrossed industry ranging from corporates to serving as a Presidential adviser and had investments in real estate, hospitality and insurance among others.
According to his resume, Wanjui schooled at Manq’u High School in the mid 50’s before joining the Ohio Wesleyan University where he studied Physics and Mathematics graduating in 1961.
He has stakes in Hill Park Hotels, UAP-Old Mutual as well as Bawan Rose and was at some point the landlord of World Bank headquarters in Kenya.
5. Muhoho Kenyatta
President Uhuru Kenyatta attended the prestigious St Mary’s School in Nairobi alongside his brother Muhoho Kenyatta. The institution’s teachers revealed that they were under instructions from the founding President, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, not to accord the two any special treatment.
After leaving the institution, Muhoho moved to Williams College in Massachusetts, US, where he pursued a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science.
In his career, Muhoho was made the executive Chairman of Brookside Dairy Milk and is also the chaperon of the Kenyatta family businesses.