Meet Tycoon Who Escaped Russia to Build a Ksh22.5 Trillion Empire Based in Kenya

  • A collage image of Stephen Jennings (Left) and Crawford International that is based in Tatu City (Right).
    A collage image of Stephen Jennings (Left) and Crawford International that is based in Tatu City (Right).
    File
  • Kenya has continued to attract a large number of foreign investors and tycoons spending billions on various projects.

    New Zealander, Stephen Jennings, is among the richest individuals who are running firms worth trillions in Kenya.

    But before Jennings came to Kenya, his early life was marred by a lot of controversies, with reports indicating that he escaped from Russia.

    The tycoon made headlines in 2012 with new sources in Russia alleging that he forged a heart attack then escaped while being transported to the hospital in an ambulance. The reports, however, do not clarify the reasons why Jennings fled from Europe. 

    New Zealander Stephen Jennings and founder of Rendeavour undertaking various development projects in Africa
    New Zealander Stephen Jennings and founder of Rendeavour undertaking various development projects in Africa
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    The tycoon who founded Renaissance Capital in 1995, was ousted from the company in November 2012 after his billionaire partner Mikhail Prokhorov, reportedly rebuffed his requests for more cash. Reports alleged that Jennings wanted to channel the money to the firm's investment projects,but faced stiff opposition. 

    Financial downfalls and troubles with his business partners forced him to find a new home in Kenya. 

    Moving to Africa and settling in Kenya, Jennings focused on founding Rendeavour, where he is the largest shareholder.

    Details from his company website indicate that the tycoon is a pioneer of capital markets in Africa and Central and Eastern Europe, responsible for over Ksh22.5 trillion ($200 billion) of investment flows to these regions.

    "Prior to Rendeavour, Stephen founded Renaissance Group, in 1995, building investment banking, securities sales, and trading, asset management and consumer finance businesses across Central & Eastern Europe, Asia, and Africa," the company describes the tycoon.

    Before channelling all his attention and focus to running business empires in different parts of the world, Jennings worked at Credit Suisse First Boston in New Zealand and in the New Zealand Treasury between 1983 and 1992.

    He further left a mark in his home country where he consulted on issues majorly focusing on privatisation.

    In Kenya, Jennings through his Rendeavour is in charge of developing the Tatu City project, a 5,000-acre Special Economic Zone (SEZ). 

    Jennings picked Chris Barron, a former employee at the United Nations World Food Programme to deliver theTatu City project in the country.

    The Tatu City project comprises development of homes, schools, offices, a shopping district, medical clinics, nature areas, a sport & entertainment complex, and a manufacturing area.

    At the moment, over 60 businesses are fully operational, 5000 homes are under development, and two schools namely Crawford International and Nova Pioneer, able to educate more than 3,000 students were unveiled. 

    Jennings is also undertaking other projects in the other parts of the world including Appolonia City in Ghana, Alaro City in Nigeria, Roma Park in Zambia, The Kiswishi development in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) among others. 

    New Zealander Stephen Jennings and founder of Rendeavour undertaking various development projects in Africa
    New Zealander Stephen Jennings and founder of Rendeavour undertaking various development projects in Africa
    file