In Kenya, the Somali and Hindu communities are considered the SI unit for business success, as evidenced by the successful business empires run by some of their tribesmen in the country.
A majority of Kenyans from the Somali community are known for their interests in retail, manufacturing, transport & logistics, among other businesses.
WoK in this article profiles some of the wealthiest Somali Kenyans and their businesses.
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Grand Mullah as he is often referred to as, is among the wealthiest Kenyans. The Senior Counsel boasts a vast career in Kenya’s legal scene spanning about three decades.
The lawyer boasts high-end clients and has litigated some of the most high profile cases in the country.
The Mandera born and raised lawyer served as the president of the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) between 2003 and 2005. He also served in the Judicial Service Commission before he was dismissed along with five others by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
In 2003, he was also appointed as the Chair of the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission Advisory Board through a selection supervised by the former Attorney-General, Hon Amos Wako.
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Ahmednasir is the Chairman of Al-Nur Media Africa. He is also the owner and publisher of the Nairobi Law Monthly Magazine.
The lawyer also runs the lawfirm, Ahmednasir Abdullahi Advocates LLP.
The lawyer’s most outstanding achievement is the Kenya Presidential Election Petition of 2013. The petition was forged to invalidate the presidential election of 2013 on grounds it was not free and fair. Supreme Court of Kenya was to hear and determine the petition. Ahmednasir Abdullahi represented the respondent, Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). After weeks of hearing the six bench judges led by Justice Willy Mutunga ruled unanimously in favour of the respondent and legitimized the election of Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto as the president and deputy president respectively.
Following success in the case, the lawyer was reportedly paid Ksh40 million.
Mohamed Abdi and Issack Somow
The two own Skyward Express, a premier charter company in the East African aviation industry.
The company began operations with a Fokker 50 (which accommodates 110 passengers) and had destinations in neighbouring countries such as Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan and Somalia.
According to the airline’s website, it aspires to connect East Africa to the rest of the world.
Skyward Express was founded two pilots; Captain Mohamed Abdi, who is the company chairman and Issack Somow, who is its former Managing Director.
Yusuf Abdi Adan, Hussein Farah, Mohammed Abdikadir
Yusuf Abdi Adan entered the miraa transport business in the 1960s and by the 1980s he was commanding the Meru-Chuka trade routes.
Adan decided to start lifting miraa from Nairobi’s Wilson Airport where he leased aircraft from various companies. He became the first person in the miraa business to have transformed from camel transport to vehicles to aircraft.
In 1992, Adan invited two former officers from Kenya Air Force, Col Hussein Farah and Major Hussein Mohammed to form the Blue Bird Aviation Company.
A third party, Mohammed Abdikadir, also joined them as a pilot, bringing the ownership to 25 per cent each.
Bluebird Aviation Kenya opened its doors in 1992 and set out to become the most reliable provider of customized aviation solutions.
Today, Bluebird Aviation has grown into one of the leading air charter companies in the region, catering for not only the humanitarian sector but private and government institutions as well.
“One of our major strengths is the hands-on experience of each senior executive at Bluebird Aviation, from maintenance to airline management, from engineering to aircraft financing. As such, we are able to offer a vast array of solutions to the often complex and challenging aviation industry,” the company states on its website.
From an airline that started with a Cessna 402, registration 5Y-LAM, Bluebird is now the second biggest airline after Kenya Airways, with a fleet of 19 aircraft and a valuation of Ksh12 billion.
The Garissa Township Member of Parliament is among the wealthiest individuals from the Somali community.
The MP owns a camel farm in Balambala Constituency in Garissa county. As a member of the pastoralist community, he is proud of his camels. In his Somali community, camels are a symbol of wealth and status.
“A man without a camel is not praised in the afterlife and the death of a man without camels is not news,” he once tweeted.
Duale also farms other animals including cows, goats and sheep on his expansive farm in Garissa. The animals are reared until they are ready to be sold for meat.
The lawmaker has also been associated with two sister hotels, that is, the Nomad hotel in Garissa and another branch in Nairobi.
The Garissa hotel is situated on an acre of land in Kismayu road, Garissa. The hotel is close to government buildings and the shopping centre. It is also located in a secure fast-growing town. The hotel has 67 rooms and also offers storage for belongings and a safety deposit box.
The Nomad Palace Hotel in Nairobi is conveniently located a few kilometres from the CBD along General Waruinge street. It is a modern hotel with about 95 well-furnished rooms. The rooms are divided into Standard, Superior and Deluxe with each going for a different price.
Duale is associated with the Hagar Construction company. The company has in the past been given such projects as the fencing of the Garissa Provincial Hospital at a cost of Sh40 million.
The businessman is the owner of 748 Air Services Company. It was founded in 1994 as part of an initiative to supply aid to Sudan when the country was affected by civil war.
The company was initially founded with the mission of delivering aid and supplies to Sudan but has since diversified to include passenger and other cargo services.
Jibril has remained active in the operation of the airline since 1994.
The businessman holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce from the University of Nairobi and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales.
The company has since devised strategies and developed a fleet of aircraft comprising Ksh214million Cessna Caravans and Ksh369 million Dash8-100.
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