Nairobi: Kenya’s wealthy are planning new nationalities as part of their investment activities, with just over a quarter of Kenya’s 3,362 dollar millionaires now planning to apply for a second passport or new nationality to provide greater investment, education and healthcare access, according to the 2022 attitudes survey issued today with Knight Frank’s annual Wealth Report.

This level of second-nationality investment amounts to almost twice the global average for wealthy individuals, with an average of 15 per cent of dollar millionaires seeking additional or changed nationalities worldwide, compared to 28 percent in Kenya. However, the proportion of Kenyans seeking foreign passports is not the highest for Africa, with 31 percent of HNWIs in South Africa seeking a second passport, and 44 per cent of HNWIs in Nigeria.

Andrew Shirley, editor of The Wealth Report at Knight Frank said: “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. 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.”

Of Kenyans seeking new passports, around 59 per cent are doing so as an investment, against a global average of 17 per cent, while 38 percent cite education as a driver, compared with 18 percent worldwide. Meanwhile, 34 percent are seeking better healthcare, compared with 13 percent worldwide.

This balance of motivations contrasts with the rest of Africa, where 63 percent of the HNWIs applying for second nationalities are seeking increased safety and a better life.

The drivers for HNWI’s second nationality applications:

 AfricaGlobal averageKenya
Safety and better quality of living63%36%31%
Ease of travel/mobility21%27%22%
Quality of healthcare22%13%34%

Ben Woodhams, Knight Frank Kenya MD said: “This rising trend of ‘nationality planning’ from our own wealthy is highly focussed as a route to best-in-class investments, education and healthcare, with property investments making up a significant component of that investment.”

Kenyan HNWIs are far more likely to be residential and commercial landlords than average. This difference is most notable in commercial property investments, accounting for around 49 per cent of the wealth held by Kenya’s most wealthy individuals, but only around 27 per cent of the assets of the wealthy worldwide.

However, Kenyan millionaires are unusual in holding such a high proportion of their assets in their own country, owning an average of just 19 percent of their property portfolio overseas, compared with an average across all HNWIs of 32 percent.

“Overall, the shift to nationality applications driven by the principle aim of investment and from an established platform of preference for property ties with the interest by Kenya’s wealthy in owning properties overseas. Their long-standing preference for investing in property at home is now extending to real estate investments in the US, UK, Australia and UAE,” said Andrew.

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