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The Kenyan Village That Has Produced 7 Billionaires Who Control Kenya's Economy

Equity Group Chairman Peter Munga and the group's CEO James Mwangi/Photo Courtesy

Kenya's Rift Valley province is regarded as the Mecca of the athletics world. The region continually churns out the greatest middle and long distance runners so fast that most of them have to seek countries to represent.

A certain village in Murang'a County also boasts of producing talents at such a high level. However, for Rwathia village, the production line keeps churning out billionaires.

In 2014, Professor Bitange Ndemo would pen an article The Mystery of Success where he stated that the village arguably controlled 20% of Kenya's GDP and 40% of the Nairobi Stock Exchange.

Gerald Gikonyo and one of his 4 wives/Photo Courtesy

The Rwathia success story starts with the now 106 year Gerald Gikonyo and his agemates who have since passed on. They would arrive in Nairobi in the 1930s and started by hawking vegetables.

The culture of saving was already ingrained in them and they would invest profits saved over time in buildings and shops in the outskirts of the City Centre. Together with the late Gerishon Kirima, they would co-found Rwathia Distributors and make billions.

Other Rwathia billionaires are Equity Group founder and Chairman Peter Munga who at one point worked as a casual labourer in a hotel owned by Gerald Gikonyo.

Equity Group CEO James Mwangi is also from the village as is BRITAM Board Chairman Benson Wairegi. Munga, Mwangi and Wairegi sit on the Boards of Equity Group, BRITAM and Housing Finance. Chris Kirubi, popularly known as DJ CK also hails from Rwathia.

The last man on the list is investment banker Jimnah Mbaru who at one point tried his hand at politics but failed.

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Bitange Ndemo Gerishon Kirima Kenya Peter Munga Rift Valley

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