As published on businessdailyafrica.com, Thursday 3 March, 2022.
Nearly a third of wealthy Kenyans are seeking a second passport or new nationality to access better investment opportunities, healthcare, and quality education overseas.
The Knight Frank Wealth Report 2022 put their proportion at 28 percent of Kenyan dollar millionaires, who numbered 3,362 at the end of 2021.
This is higher than the global average of 15 percent, but lower than those seeking a way out of Nigeria (44 percent) and South Africa (31 percent).
“Amongst Kenyans seeking new passports, the proportion interested in reducing their tax bills, enhancing their safety, or getting a better quality of life is much the same as for the wealthy globally,” said Andrew Shirley, editor of the wealth report.
“The big difference for Kenya’s dollar millionaires is the proportion of new nationality applications for investment purposes, and in pursuit of better education and better healthcare for themselves and for their families.”
Kenya has in recent years become a rich hunting ground for foreign firms marketing investment visas, targeting high net worth individuals seeking better opportunities for their families or a hedge against any unforeseen problems back home.
According to Knight Frank, around 59 percent of Kenyans seeking second passports are chasing investment opportunities, against a global average of 17 percent, while 38 percent cite better education for their children and 34 percent better healthcare.
Elsewhere in Africa, 63 percent of those seeking second passports cited safety and better quality of life as the main reason for seeking an exit from their countries.
Kenyans have since 2010 been allowed to hold dual citizenship after the promulgation of the new Constitution. The relatively high number of wealthy individuals seeking an exit is however an indicator of the low confidence the rich have in local institutions, and the performance of the economy.
In 2019, more than 20 high-net-worth Kenyans signed up for a US investor visa programme that was marketed by private equity firm Atlantic American Partners.
Interested locals were required to fork out $500,000 (Sh57 million) to qualify for the visa, commonly known as EB-5 (employment based-fifth preference visa).