May 3, 2012


Who is the richest person in Africa? Who are the richest Kenyans? What is the minimum wage and how much are senators paid?

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Wages & Wealth Africa: Who are the richest around?

Wages & Wealth Africa: Who are the richest around?

Africa’s richest man is reputed to be a Mr Aliko Dangote from Nigeria. The continent’s richest clergyman (religion pays you know) is likewise a Nigerian, Bishop David Oyedepo. Kenya doesn’t fare too badly when it comes to the super rich with two sons of our nation quoted in the top 40 of the Forbes ‘rich list’. Kenya’s Members of Parliament are also managing to scrape a living. Meanwhile, this week the new minimum wage for Kenya was announced.


It was back in November 2011 that the Kenya Forum drew attention to Aliko Dangote (‘Forbes Magazine: The Richest Africans’, 19 November, 2011). Then Forbes estimated his wealth at some $10.1 billion – that’s $10,100,000,000.

A recent article in the UK’s Guardian newspaper (‘Cementing a place in history’, April 13) said that Mr Dangote was worth $11.2 billion, was ranked 76th among the world’s billionaires and that he was one of only 16 Africans on Forbes magazine’s 1,226-strong list.

The Dangote Group, apparently, is a market leader in Nigeria for ‘consumer products ranging from fruit juice and instant noodles to salt, sugar and flour’ and is about to float on the London stock exchange.

No wonder then that Aliko Dangote can afford to buy a Bombardier Global Express XRS aircraft at a mere $45 million (a present he bought himself for his 53rd birthday!).


As the Kenya Forum noted, the Forbes magazine ‘rich list’ now includes two Kenyans in the Top 40. At Number 31 is the real estate, manufacturing and investments’ tycoon Chris Kirubi (down to his last $300 million) and at Number 26 none other than Uhuru Kenyatta, worth an estimated $500 million (although that may have been reduced by lawyers’ fees during the ICC hearings).


Nigeria’s obviously the place to be though, because not only is it the home of Africa’s richest man, it is also the home country of the continent’s richest clergyman.

Bishop David Oyedepo is the founder of the ‘Living Faith World Outreach Ministry’ in Nigeria. His ‘Faith Tabernacle’ worship centre can accommodate 50,000 believers where he hosts three services every Sunday.

Bishop Oyedepo is not just a man of God. He has business interests in manufacturing, oil, gas, bakeries, table water, factories, construction, universities, secondary schools, hotels, shopping centres, bookshops, internet cafes and aviation.

No wonder then that the devout Bishop Oyedepo is estimated to have a net worth of $150 million (that’s Sh12.4 billion) and that he was able to afford a Gulfstream V jet at a cost of $35 million to add to the other three private jets that he owns (so “Yah boo sucks to you” Aliko Dangote! Only one private plane!).


Rich as he obviously is, Bishop Oyedepo has a reputation for not paying his staff as well as he might. Press reports suggest that he only pays his junior pastors $300 per month, that is Sh25,000 per month, an income described as ‘slave wages’ by a former church member.

Sh25,000 a month slave wages? Kenyans at the low end of the income scale will be laughing into their glass of Tusker at the thought, assuming that they can on occasions afford up to 150 Bob for such a luxury.

The reason for their ironic humour would be that the minimum wage in Kenya has just been increased to Sh8,295 per month (about $99) up from Sh7,334 . In reality the minimum wage regulations are ignored and a more likely ‘minimum wage’ is nearer Sh3,500 per month for the lowest paid workers.


On the day that the new minimum wage levels were announced The Standard ran a front page story headlined ‘MP’s fat perks spark outrage’. In the piece The Standard noted that Kenya’s MPs receive a salary or Sh200,000 per month but also ‘allowances’ of Sh651,000 per month. On top of this they stand to receive a Sh3.7 million ‘Severance Allowance’ payment when they cease to be an elected representative.

So that’s Sh851,000 per moth plus a very hefty pay off when they retire, or are retired by the voters. Of that, only 33 per cent of a Kenyan MPs total income is liable for taxation. Not that our MPs pay their taxes as they should. Last year Parliament set aside Sh2 billion to pay MPs tax arrears.

The Kenya Forum does not know what profession to recommend to its younger readers. Becoming an entrepreneur could be good for them (and it would be good for the country). Religion can be lucrative, of course. Entering Parliament will cost you in more ways than one but will be financially worth it in the end. Whatever you do, however, do try to avoid being an ordinary tax payer.


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