Number of Kenyan billionaires shrinks due to COVID-19

Kenyan 1000 shillings notes. [Photo: CitizenTV]

The number of wealthy Kenyans has dropped drastically, many being edged out of the dollar millionaires’ club, Knight Frank Wealth Report shows.

This is due to the COVID-19 pandemic which struck in 2020 grounding almost everything to a halt.

Most of the pandemic’s impact hit liquid assets value.

The Knight Frank Wealth Report cites that wealthy Kenyans whose net-worth is more than Ksh109 million ($1 million) dipped by 22 percent.

High net-worth individuals (HNWIs) with more than Ksh3.3 billion in liquid assets also dropped by 15 percent in 2020.

HNWIs dropped by 912 to hit 3,321 while the number of Kenyan billionaires dropped to 90 from 106 in 2020.

A shift of the Kenyan shilling against the dollar during the pandemic lead to depreciation of property prices.

“Covid-19 remains the biggest worry for Kenya’s wealthy,” Knight Frank Managing Director Ben Woodhams said according to Nation.

The report was released on Wednesday.

This was the second year that the value of property in Kenya went down due to economic hardships, 2020 taking the biggest blow due to COVID-19.

However, there is a projection that dollar millionaires could increase in the next five years while the “ultra rich” will also rise to 110 percent within the same time frame.

Woodhams noted that the super wealthy have a tendency to diversify their investments through global stocks, equities, real estate and venture capital.

Their investment portfolios have been seen to survive financial storms.

“In any time of disruption there’s huge amount of opportunity and people who are wealthy are used to finding those opportunities. With risk comes reward.”

On the note of the wealthy seeking a second citizenship, the Knight Frank report stated that only 19 percent of this group considered this option.

A majority of them saw more opportunities for investment in Kenya.