President William Ruto has in his circle a number of successful businesses involved in various ventures, including billionaires. Ruto has on multiple occasions vowed to rope in the private sector in his plans to steer economic growth.
In this article, Business Today looks at four billionaires in the President’s circle.
Rostam Aziz is one of the richest men in neighbouring Tanzania, with interests spread across gas, manufacturing, telecommunications and real estate. He was present at Ruto’s inauguration in September last year, and in February 2023, was back in Kenya for the commissioning of his new LPG plant in Mombasa, Kenya with Ruto present.
Ruto spoke highly of Taifa Gas, one of Rostam’s many companies, stating that its investment in Kenya would help drive down the cost of LPG for Kenyan households. Taifa Gas is the largest LPG supplier in Tanzania. It has 35 plants and storage facilities spread across mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar.
Humphrey Kariuki is one of the blue-eyed boys in the Ruto administration. The billionaire’s interests are spread across alcohol, hospitality, real estate, oil and energy. He was among 12 private sector figures appointed by Ruto to the National Investment Council.
On December 7, the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and Directorate of Crimínal Investigations (DCI) oversaw the reopening of Kariuki’s Africa Spirits Limited manufacturing plant in Thika, Kiambu county which had been shut down for years as Kariuki faced a Ksh41 billion tax evasion case. The High Court quashed the case in May 2022.
Africa Spirits Ltd manufactures popular brands including Blue Moon vodka, Legend Brandy and Furaha (whiskey). Kariuki also owns Dalbit Petroleum, an oil distributor with a presence in several East and Southern Africa countries, Great Lakes Africa Energy, a developer and operator of power projects in Southern Africa, The Hub, a shopping mall in Nairobi’s upmarket Karen neighborhood and the 5-star Fairmont Mt. Kenya Safari Club as well as real estate and other holdings.
Lang’at is a prominent Rift Valley billionaire who backed President Ruto’s State House bid in the 2022 polls. He was also appointed by Ruto to the National Investment Council. Lang’at made his fortune in the import and export business, before expanding into agribusiness, real estate, energy, hospitality, insurance and, more recently, special economic zones (SEZs).
Among his ventures are DL Teas, DL Farms, Selenkei Investments and Cedate (energy), Nyali Mall, Sunrise Resort and Spa, Niconat Insurance and Africa Economic Zones Ltd. DL Teas owns farms in Kericho and Nandi and according to DL Group has a production capacity of about 11,000 tonnes per year, DL Farms comprises 1,000 acres under crop and 500 acres for livestock, and Selenkei and Cedate are managing development of solar PV projects to be located on 600 acres of land near Eldoret town, with an ongoing 94 MW Project having an investment of $170 Million (Ksh20.8 billion).
In 2016, he was awarded a license to develop and operate a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Plateau area, 40km from Eldoret town, in partnership with a Chinese firm. The project will cost an estimated Ksh200 billion. It however faced challenges securing government commitments on improving road connectivity and other utilities, with analysts expecting his proximity to the new administration to spur the project forward.
Aliko Dangote, Africa’s wealthiest man, was among billionaires who were present at President Ruto’s inauguration in September last year. The founding Chairman and CEO of Dangote Group – West Africa’s largest industrial conglomerate, has a net worth of around $19.6 billion (Ksh2.3 Trillion).
The conglomerate has industrial operations spanning sugar, salt, flour, fertilizer, cement, oil and more. He has previously expressed interest in setting up a cement manufacturing plant in Kenya.