The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya's Luxury Spending Potential Is Growing Fast

Kenya is among 10 countries worldwide with the fastest growing luxury spending potential, according to the 'Luxury Opportunity Index' published in The Wealth Report 2014.

Qatar tops the list followed by the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Ghana is fourth followed by USA, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mexico.

The index ranks the countries based on relative growth in luxury footprint, wealth creation, premium air travel and economic growth.

Kenya is 14th globally in terms of projected increase in population of ultra-high net worth individuals over the next 10 years, and is 64th as of last year.

It had 31 'centa-millionaires' - individuals with $100 million (Sh8.65 billion) in net assets each - in 2013, two more than the previous year's 29. The number has nearly doubled from 16 in 2003 and is forecast to hit 54 over the next 10 years. The report does not name the individuals.

However, breaking into the dollar-billionaire club proves a tall order for wealthy Kenyans, with The Wealth Report showing that there are only two such individuals in the country. Kenya had just one dollar-billionaire as of 2003, and is forecast to add another by 2023.

The Wealth Report places Nairobi among top five cities in Africa that are "wealth hubs", following Johannesburg, Cape Town, Cairo and Lagos in concentration of UHNWIs.

"This is the most important African business centre between the Mediterranean and Johannesburg," states Anthony Havelock, Knight Frank Kenya's head of agency.

"International companies recognise that there's too much going on in Africa to run their entire operations out of South Africa. Google, JPMorgan Chase, Colgate-Palmolive: they're all here."

Knight Frank says almost half or respondents in its survey expect higher levels of luxury purchasing activity in Africa.

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