• More and more Kenyans are actively looking for an additional home away from home.
  • Japan has the best passport globally with Japanese citizens allowed free access to 189 countries.
  • Rich Kenyans latest craze is, however, nothing new and other affluent Africans are also in the game.

Having dual citizenship is fast becoming the latest must-have luxury item in Kenya rich boys club.

Buying residence rights or citizenship in another country, where they can easily travel with their private jet is proving to be a hot cake.

More and more Kenyans are actively looking for an additional country they can call home, just as they would buy exclusive second and third holiday houses out of the country.

“More Kenyans are seeking EU or Caribbean passports,” said Armand Arton, the founder and CEO of Arton Capital, a company that specialises in investor programmes for residence and citizenship, The East African reported.

Nairobi City skyline.
Nairobi City skyline.

One such Kenyan billionaire is Humphrey Kariuki, the owner of Africa Spirits and Wines of the World, who holds dual citizenship from Cyprus. Mr. Kariuki is currently facing charges of tax evasion amounting to Sh41 billion ($410 million) and is set to lose his Cypriot passport.

Rich Kenyans latest craze is, however, nothing new and other affluent Africans are also in the game.

According to Mr. Arton,South Africans prefer Portugal, the US and Malta. Nigerians prefer Cyprus, which is the most expensive, and has the best investment programme.

Lisbon, Portugal.
Lisbon, Portugal.

Malta, an island in South Europe has the leading citizenship programme.

Cyprus is attractive to rich Africans since a Cypriot passport does enables one to do business throughout the European Union, since Cyrus is a member.

In 2013, Cyprus introduced a policy that granted a passport to anybody who invested at least $2.2 million in the local economy.

Cyprus. (The Crazy Tourist)
Cyprus. (The Crazy Tourist)

The golden passports attracted all and sundry with deep pockets raising concern it could easily be abused to launder money.

Antigua and Barbuda also features high on Nigerians list of home away from home while people from Ivory Coast prefer Canada and Montenegro.

Mr. Arton, says the citizenship by investment business is growing due to the increase in political instability, especially in the Middle East and other developing countries.

Malta Island
Malta Island

Africa accounts for almost 10% of their services with the largest demand coming from China with 60% of the company’s clients.

The Middle East follows, with 20% of the clientele. Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) brings 10% of the clientele.

“There an increase of ultra-high net worth individuals and the high net worth individuals in developing countries who lack wide mobility. Interestingly, many private jet owners lack the passports with visa free access and they have to do the normal lengthy visa application process,” he said.

Marios Rafail, the head of Henley & Partners Geneva office adds that investment migration has grown and has become a $26 billion (Ksh2.6 trillion) industry.

“Governments are competing with each other to attract foreign direct investment through the citizenship and residence by investment programmes as they generate wider levels of both foreign investments and incremental income,” explained Marios.

A Henley Passport Index Report identified Japan as having the best passport globally with visa free access to 189 countries.

A Henley Passport Index Report identified Japan as having the best passport globally with visa free access to 189 countries.

The best African passport is from Seychelles with access to 150 countries, visa free.