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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

When business trumps politics...

India has 4 of the top 10 billionaires according to Forbes 2008 list. Forbes does not count despots & kings in its list... though inherited wealth is included e.g. the Hariri kids of Lebanon.

Here is the link to the Forbes List for 2008.

The list is an - somewhat skewed - indictation of what economic reforms can do for a country. Africa has a few billionaires - Dangote of Nigeria & some S.Africans - but the combined wealth of the top 4 Indian billionaires is far greater than most African countries' GDP.

Lakshmi Mittal - 57 - $45bn
Mukesh Ambani - 50 - $43bn
Anil Ambani - 48 - $42bn
KP Singh - 76 - $30bn

Combined wealth = $160bn

Unlike many Kenyans - and Africans - who continue harping about 'colonialism'... India has moved on... look at the list below and you will notice that many of them were born post-1947 (51 years or younger)... I would say the cut-off age should be 56 years since kids start nursery at around 5 years thus anyone born after 1942 in India was a post-independence child.

Using the same metric as above, Kenya is far behind the curve. Well, at least officially. There may be one or two. Any suggestions on who? Can the wealth be verified?

With the weakening US$ & 8% economic growth in India, I would not be surprised to see the Indian fortunes in US$ rise even higher by end of 2008.

I have said that Kenya (and Africa) needs to look at India for development ideas. It remains a model for African countries.

It has:
  • Democracy - albeit often flawed
  • Diverse population, cultures & languages
  • Wide economic base that was very low 20 years ago
  • Agragian based economy until 5 years ago. Agriculture still remains the core mainstay for most Indians
  • A former British colony - I don't think this is a handicap. I am just saying that Africans should quit moaning
  • Huge educated diasporan in the Western world
  • Huge entrepreneurial diasporan in the Western world
  • Navigated tough shoals regarding sectarian violence e.g. Khalistan ('seccession' war), Hindu-Muslim riots, Wars with Pakistan, War with China, Caste (Tribal-style divisions) discriminations, etc
I was amazed at the size of the billionaires list in India... BTW, the Indians in the diaspora who are NOT Indian citizens have been excluded e.g Vinod Khosla of Kleiner Perkins at #785 with $1.5bn.

I had some problems with including the table here but please check this link out for the Forbes list.

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