5 Kenyan Tycoons Who Give Away Billions in Donations

  • Left to right: Equity Bank's James Mwangi, Zarina Merali and Devki founder Narendra Raval
    Left to right: Equity Bank's James Mwangi, Zarina Merali and Devki founder Narendra Raval
    File
  • Philanthropist Mahatma Gandhi's saying, 'Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs, but not every man's greed,' seems to be a personal motto that some Kenyan billionaires abide by.

    From donating their entire salaries to giving away as much as Ksh300 million at a go, the tycoons have truly tapped into their tender philanthropic hearts and are hugely commended for it.

    Some have gone as far as to set up foundations primarily for charity work and have donated in excess of Ksh11 billion to accord other humans a dignified life.

    Here are the top five Kenyans who have left a mark in the hearts of many;

    1. James Mwangi

    Equity Group CEO James Mwangi with his Ernst and Young Award in 2012
    Equity Group CEO James Mwangi with his Ernst and Young Award in 2012
    File

    Dr. James Mwangi is a shrewd businessman who has spearheaded the growth of Equity Bank from a small entity into a regional financial giant but some Kenyans truly love him for his charitable side.

    In April 2020, just as the Covid-19 was hitting its first peak, the tycoon donated Ksh300 million personal fortune to help medical staff fight the pandemic which was at the time considered the largest gift made by a Kenyan publicly.

    Separately, Equity Bank also donated Ksh300 million.

    Prior to that, Dr Mwangi, through Equity Bank, has been running the Wings to Fly programme that offers scholarships to disadvantaged but bright children who excel in the national examinations.

    His wealth is valued at Ksh9 billion.

    2. Narendra Raval

    Devki Group Chairman, Narendra Raval, seated in his Ruiru Office.
    Devki Group Chairman, Narendra Raval, seated in his Ruiru Office.
    Twitter

    The Devki Group founder is easily the poster child of what a beloved philanthropist in Kenya should be owing to his vast donations in different sectors.

    After his appointment as the Chancellor for Egerton University in March 2019, the billionaire announced that he would not be taking his salary home and he would instead channel it towards helping needy students at the institution.

    He also directed his allowances towards the cause and vowed to ensure that his companies do not take any University tenders unless they were providing a free service.

    In 2020, he also made a donation of Ksh100 million to ensure that all government hospitals are well equipped with Oxygen at a time the country was facing a severe shortage of the commodity.

    "If the need arises, I am ready to pledge all my assets to save my country and the people of Kenya from the COVID-19-19 devil," he declared at the time.

    Raval has vast properties that span five sectors including Aviation and Steel processing. Some of his companies include Devki Steel Mills Limited, National Cement Company Limited ( Simba Cement) and Maisha Mabati Mills Ltd.

    3. Zarina Merali

    President Uhuru Kenyatta accompanied by Zarina Merali during the KNH tour on Wednesday May 11, 2022
    President Uhuru Kenyatta accompanied by Zarina Merali during the KNH tour on Wednesday, May 11, 2022.
    PSCU

    As recent as May 11, 2022, Zarina Merali, the widow of the late billionaire Naushad Merali, gave Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) Ksh100 million for the construction of the state-of-the-art surgical center.

    The facility was named in honour of the billionaire's widow, Zarina Merali Surgical Daycare Centre after the official opening by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday, May 11.

    The centre, which became a reality through Zarina's efforts, will act as a preparation and recovery space for patients requiring outpatient procedures.

    Zarina has been part of a number of many life-changing foundations in the country including hospitals, health centers, old-age homes, and educational funds for the needy.

    In 2013, she made a donation worth Ksh10 million towards supporting the First Lady Margaret Kenyatta's Beyond Zero Campaign.

    Magura Secondary School in Kipkebe, Nyamira County was also funded by the foundation which she is overseeing and was officially opened by the First Lady.

    4. Manu Chandaria

    Billionaire Manu Chandaria
    Billionaire Manu Chandaria
    File

    In his 93-year lifetime, billionaire Manu Chandaria has continuously espoused the 'man next door' demeanor and has constantly endeavored to give back to the community.

    In 2012, he donated Ksh100 million to Gertrude's Children's Hospital with the aim of improving its intensive care and diagnostic services.

    He has also donated to several other causes across the country through his foundation which has spent in excess of Ksh11 billion since its inception.

    “The wealth that you have is not yours. You are only the trustee of the wealth you have," he disclosed in an interview with African Philanthropy Forum.

    Queen Elizabeth II awarded him an Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2003 for his efforts. He also received the Elder of the Burning Spear from President Mwai Kibaki.

    5. Hasu Patel

    Mombasa Cement Limited owner and director Hasu Patel supplies water to Mombasa Residents.
    Mombasa Cement Limited owner and director Hasu Patel supplies water to Mombasa Residents.
    File

    Mombasa billionaire Hasu Patel has received praises from Coast leaders including governor Ali Hassan Joho for his endless philanthropy uplifting the face of the town.

    In 2008, the reclusive tycoon, known as a shy philanthropist, started the feeding programme, Sahajanad Feeding Centre, which provides meals to over 40,000 poor individuals according to KTN News.

    The tycoon also created a school, Sahajanand Special School, that provides basic needs besides education for over 5,000 pupils.

    He has also built concrete fences around schools and police stations for free in what he termed as giving back to the community for what he has been able to achieve.

    His biggest project yet, however, was the conversion of the ugly site of the Kibarani Dumpsite into a tourist attraction as well as a recreation park. The project cost him Ksh700 million in 2020.

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