When the term “billionaire” is mentioned, wealth and success immediately come to mind. Many believe that to reach such a status, one must have a solid educational background, attending prestigious schools and earning high grades. However, this notion does not hold true for all.
In this article, we will highlight four Kenyan billionaires who did not have a formal education beyond primary school.
The Late Mzee Jackson Kibor
Mzee Jackson Kibor, also known as the Men’s Conference Chairman, was a successful farmer and real estate investor in Uasin Gishu and its surrounding counties. Despite dropping out of primary school due to financial difficulties, he was able to make a name for himself. Kibor joined the police force and quickly rose in rank due to his exceptional talent in playing darts. He represented Kenya at an East African darts competition, where he emerged victorious and received a cash prize and a new car. With these winnings, along with a loan of Sh55,000, he purchased his first parcel of land (840 acres) in Kipkabus and began farming maize and dairy cattle.
As his initial investments yielded returns, he continued to acquire more land, cows, and real estate. In 1974, Kibor entered politics and served as Councilor for Kipkabus for one term and later Soy ward for three terms. By the time of his death in March 2022, Mzee Kibor had accumulated billions of shillings, making him one of the wealthiest people in Rift Valley and the country.
Andrew Ngirici, the husband of Kirinyaga County Woman Representative Purity Wangui Ngirici, dropped out of Kirigo Primary School at Standard Four. Despite his mother’s efforts to keep him in school, he opted to start working and making a living. He started by washing cars and pushing donkey carts, and eventually acquired his own cart to supply beer crates. It was when he met former government spy James Kanyotu that his fortunes began to change. He sold a parcel of land inherited from his father to Kanyotu for Ksh780,000, which he used to buy two second-hand matatus.
As his matatu business grew, he diversified his investment portfolio and ventured into other sectors including real estate, media, large-scale farming, and mining. Today, Ngirici is a billionaire businessman who owns a luxurious home in Runda, Kirinyaga and a fleet of high-end vehicles.
Narendra Raval, also known as Guru, is the Chairman of the Devki Group of Companies and one of the wealthiest individuals in the country. In a Business Daily interview, Raval shared that he never received formal education beyond his studies in Hindu religious beliefs, where he became a priest at the age of 10. After moving to Kenya from India, he worked as an assistant priest before starting his own business. The Devki Group, which started as a single hardware company in Gikomba, has now grown to employ over 6,000 individuals. Raval is also a successful author and philanthropist, supporting schools, children’s homes, and vulnerable communities.
Gerald Gikonyo is a prominent real estate mogul, owning several buildings in the Nairobi CBD, including Sabina Joy, New Kinangop, Timboroa, and Alfa hotels. Despite never receiving a formal education, Gikonyo made a name for himself in the business world. He started working at a coffee plantation in Rwathia Village, Murang’a County at a young age, later moving to the city to sell