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Kantaria Family: The Wealthy Billionaire Dynasty That Acquired Yaya Centre From Biwott Family And Their Multimillion Properties

For over a century, the Kantaria family has been at the forefront of Kenya’s entrepreneurial landscape, leaving an indelible mark on the nation’s business history.

From humble beginnings in 1896, when their grandfather embarked on a courageous journey from India to Kenya, they have grown into a prominent dynasty, making significant contributions to various sectors of the economy.

This article looks into their inspiring journey, their diverse business ventures, and their remarkable impact on Kenya’s society.

Roots of Success

The Kantaria family’s entrepreneurial journey began with Rasik Kantaria’s grandfather, who ventured to Kenya at the tender age of 16.

Braving an unwelcoming sea, he arrived in the coastal town of Mombasa and, together with his brother, toiled in a duka in Limuru.

Their hard work led them to establish a sawmill and charcoal business, eventually moving to Nairobi to start a spare parts business called Empire Auto Spares.


The Kantaria family’s inherent entrepreneurial spirit fueled their journey towards diversification and growth.

As the spare parts business flourished, they began exploring new opportunities, venturing into manufacturing, real estate, and finance.

In 1958, they founded the East African Building Society, further cementing their position in the financial sector.

Their interests extended to the industrial sector, where they established an aluminum factory in Mombasa.

Additionally, they ventured into the chemical and fertilizer industry, milling, tea, transport, plastic, and horticulture sectors, becoming a formidable force across diverse industries.

The Banking Empire

A pivotal moment in the family’s legacy came in 1988 when Rasik Kantaria established Prime Capital and Credit Finance Company, which later evolved into Prime Bank.

Expanding Regional Influence

The Kantaria family’s pursuit of business opportunities extended beyond Kenya’s borders.

They co-founded the First Capital Bank in Malawi, the first private bank in the country.

Their reach further expanded to Botswana, Zambia, and Mozambique, where they established successful banks, contributing to these countries’ economic growth and development.

Other Multi-Million properties

The Kantaria family owns the Capital Centre Mall along Mombasa Road, housing over 60 stores and restaurants, including Absa Bank, Artcaffe, Bata, Java, and Urban, catering to the middle class.

They also have investments in the upscale West End in Nairobi.

In addition, they own the Leisure Lodge Beach and Golf resort in Diani, outside the capital city.

Employment and Economic Impact

Through their numerous multimillion-dollar companies, the Kantaria family has made significant contributions to Kenya’s economic prosperity.

Providing direct employment opportunities to approximately 3,000 Kenyans, their enterprises have not only created livelihoods but also fostered a culture of innovation and ambition in the local workforce.

Acquiring the Iconic Yaya Centre

As reported by the Daily Nation, the Kantaria family has recently acquired ownership of the renowned Yaya Centre Shopping Complex from the late cabinet minister Nicholas Biwott’s family.

Situated in Milimani, Yaya Centre holds the distinction of being one of Kenya’s oldest and most prestigious shopping malls and has long been linked with the late billionaire and politician, Mr. Biwott.

Insiders familiar with the matter revealed to the local daily that Yaya Centre holds an estimated value amounting to billions of Kenyan Shillings.