Churches and religious institutions are some of the biggest receivers of money and are increasingly redirecting huge sums into real estate developments and other forms of property, with the aim of remaining financially afloat.
The religious institutions are redefining their objectives from just winning souls to investing in projects that are in turn making them more self reliant.
The churches are staking big with the hope of getting a slice of the booming economy and especially the property sector that has registered a huge growth over the years.
In Kenya, one of the biggest land and property owners is the Catholic Church. The Church owns a number of properties in various parts of the country.File photo of Cardinal Otunga Plaza located in Nairobi CBDFile
In Nairobi, the Catholic Church owns the prestigious Cardinal Otunga Plaza. This is a 10 storey building at the heart of Nairobi's Central Business District that was constructed at an estimated cost of Ksh500 million. The plaza houses different institutions including officers and banking institutions.
The Church also owns Pacis Centre, a modern Ksh400 million office block located along the busy Waiyaki Way. The building was constructed with proceeds from Pacis Insurance which is still owned by the Catholic Church.
Cardinal John Njue, while opening the Pacis office block, noted that the move to invest in real estate was aimed at diversify the Church revenue streams.
Waumini House which is located in Westlands is associated with bishops attached to the Catholic Church with its value being over Ksh100 million.
The Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) is also among the biggest property owners in the country. PCEA owns the Presbyterian University. In Ngong, the Church owns and operates Milele Mall, which sits on an area covering 100,000 square feet.
Other than promoting the University, the denomination acquired Milele Beach Hotel in Mombasa in 2007. The hotel is famous for hosting lavish weddings among other posh events.
Reverend Timothy Njoya, who was the head of PCEA at the time of acquiring the property, defended the multimillion investment stating that the Church needed to be self reliant.Milele Beach Hotel located in in the Coastal Town of MombasaFile
The African Inland Church (AIC) is also a major investor in the country. It was established by the missionaries before Kenya gained independence.
Other than investing in real estate, AIC has a number of assets registered under it including Biblia Husema Broadcasting (BHB), Kesho Publications, Kijabe Conference Center and Kijabe High School.
Other properties owned by AIC include Kijabe Medical Center, Kijabe Printing Press, Life Recordings, Moffat Bible College and Rift Valley Academy.
Bishop Abraham Mulwa took over the mantle of AIC Church leadership in January 2020 after Reverend Silas Yego retired. The investments have enabled the church to stay away from issues that may lower its sanity in society.
Christ is the Answer Ministries (CITAM), which is headed by Reverend Calisto Odede, has also invested in a number of properties and assets. The church is associated with Hope TV and Hope FM. The two help the church broadcasts its content and also offer employment to Christians.
The Methodist Church of Kenya, which is among the oldest churches in the country, is also among the religious institutions with huge investments. It owns one the country's largest hospitals, the Maua Methodist Hospital - which is located in Igembe South. Other than the hospital, it also owns the luxurious Methodist Guest House, located along Oloitoktok Road in Nairobi's upmarket Lavington estate.
Most church leaders have defended these investments, noting that they give the churches a solid base to finance their growth.
However, some have cautioned against capitalism in church, arguing that it makes most preachers focus on gospel of prosperity while neglecting other aspects of spirituality.
"There should be some checks because capitalism in churches can be worse than the capitalism out there," a believer told Kenyans.co.ke.File photo of Milele Mall in located in Ngong in Kajiado CountyFile
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