Nairobi is East Africa’s wealthiest city and the sixth in Africa after Durban, Cape Town, Cairo, Lagos and Johannesburg, a new report says.
The study by New World Wealth and AfrAsia Bank from Mauritius estimated Nairobi’s privately held wealth at Sh5.4 trillion with its growth driven by financial services, retail, tourism, fast moving consumer goods, telecoms, real estate and construction.
Nairobi attracts high Net Worth Individual (HNWIs) for business and investments while Mombasa is mentioned as home to hospitality and luxury investments along its expansive beaches as well as highly preserved buildings recognised globally as World Heritage Sites.
Wealthy billionaires’ injection of funds into local investments has propelled demand for lettable space making Nairobi the most expensive city in East Africa where space goes for an average of Sh190,000 per metre square. Mombasa’s lettable space is charged at Sh170,000.
Tanzania’s Dar es Salaam is home to Sh2.5 trillion privately held wealth followed by Kampala with Sh1.6 trillion while Mombasa has Sh800 billion worth of investments, notably in hospitality chains and affluent luxury beach houses.
Kenya’s open-ended policy allowing capital inflows and property ownership for African billionaires with easy visa regulations appear to have endeared it to HNWI individuals, but its politics adversely affected its growth in the past year recording the lowest growth in the region at two per cent.
Wealth accumulated by private individuals in Uganda and Rwanda’s grew at six per cent respectively while Tanzania settled for five per cent.
The report notes that wealthy individuals across East Africa adore shopping for designer clothes, rare vehicles especially Porsche for Kenyans and there is also an emerging trend where individuals own helicopters and private jets. Politicians have lately developed taste for choppers.