Why Wealthy Kenyans Are Running Away From the Country - Report

A photo of a charter plane at an airport in the US.
Bayron Aviation

Wealthy Kenyans are leaving the country in search of a good and secure life, better education for their children, to reduce the amount of tax they are subjected to. 

Other reasons include chasing better markets and investment venues and enjoying quality healthcare outside the country. 

A report unveiled by real estate firm Knight Frank noted that over a third of the super-rich are seeking new nationalities in developed countries. 

The Knight Frank Wealth Report 2022 noted that over 3,000 tycoons applied for second passports in the nations they believed can be their safe-havens. 

Planes landing at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA)
Planes landing at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA)

“A huge proportion of Kenya’s dollar millionaires applied for new nationalities for investment purposes, and in pursuit of better education and better healthcare for themselves and for their families,” the report’s editor, Andrew Shirley, noted. 

He added that in their pursuit, the super-rich Kenyans are motivated by the status accorded to other wealthy individuals globally. 

Out of the 3,000 Kenyans, the majority at 59 per cent cited seeking new investment ventures, 17 per cent better education for their children and 34 per cent are seeking to relocate in pursuit of better healthcare. 

Most of them cited safety concerns and poor quality of life as the reasons for their relocation. Kenya ranked higher than Nigeria and South Africa in tycoons moving away from the country.

In 2020, Henley & Partners, a global residence and citizenship advisory firm, reported the same, noting that rich Kenyans spend millions on purchasing citizenship in the Caribbean Islands.

It added that these Kenyans feared that the 2022 elections may affect their investment plans. They also feared for their lives. 

“They are taking advantage of a program dubbed Citizenship by Investment (CBI) to secure passports of countries such as Dominica and St Kitts and Nevis. 

"Kenya has seen tremendous growth in enquiries of 116 per cent between mid-November 2019 and the same period in 2020, ranking higher than India at 61 per cent and Nigeria at 30 per cent," Henley CEO Juerg Steffen stated. 

The entrance of the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in August 2017.
The entrance of the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in August 2019.

The 2010 Constitution allows Kenyans to hold dual citizenship. This is one of the key factors pushing the wealthy to move out of the country, coupled with better offers from first-world nations.

In the recent past, Kenya has witnessed an influx of foreign firms marketing their opportunities that target the super-rich.