High-Net-Worth Kenyans rate climate change as a risk to their wealth, report

Kenya’s dollar millionaires have identified climate change as a great threat to their wealth, with 84 percent citing the global environmental change as a financial risk, compared to 54 percent worldwide, and 64 percent across the rest of Africa. This is according to the 2022 Wealth Report released on Wednesday by Knight Frank.

“Last year’s attitude’s survey did not identify climate change as a wealth risk, making for a rapid shift in risk perception from Kenya’s High-Net-Worth Individuals, because Kenyans are living on the frontline of these environmental changes, making them far more conscious of the environmental impact than many western investors”. Andrew Shirley, editor of The Wealth Report at Knight Frank said.

In addition to concerns about climate change, Kenya’s wealthy remain more worried about new variants of Covid-19 than HNWIs in other regions.

Ben Woodhams, Knight Frank Kenya MD said: “These attitudes from our most wealthy bring home the reality and importance of ensuring that our entire population is protected from future variants, as any future peak in infections, lockdowns or lock-outs will inevitably take a heavy toll financially and socially. We see from this survey the awareness by Kenya’s HNWIs that any infection that afflicts the broad population will also be a direct threat to their own wealth as a result of the economic effects of the pandemic.

The greater threats to Kenyan wealth, according to HNWIs

  Global average Kenya
Climate change 53% 84%
New Covid-19 variants 66% 81%
Equity markets 10% 69%
Supply chains 55% 63%
Deglobalisation 40% 56%
Wealth transfer to the next generation 20% 31%

Kenyan millionaires also perceive greater threats from the country’s challenges with global trade after the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic to supply chains and globalised flows and relationships. Some 63 percent of Kenyan HNWIs now view supply chain disruption as a potential threat to their wealth, compared with 55 percent worldwide – with businesses, everywhere, acutely aware of the high impact that any supply disruption can cause to economic outcomes.

More exceptionally, Kenyan millionaires report greater concerns about succession than the norm. 

“The transfer of wealth to the next generation is a key moment of vulnerability for HNWIs worldwide, as poorly managed successions can lead to rapid wealth depletion. In Kenya, however, with frequent evidence of succession disputes and even protracted court cases, the threat is made greater through the degree of challenge in simplifying or accelerating the outcome of such disputes,” said Andrew.

This has seen 31 percent of Kenya’s millionaires cite succession as a threat to their wealth, compared with a global average of 20 per cent.

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