Editor's Review

Although he was the son of Kenya's former Vice President the late Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Raila did not have it all easy.

Former Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga is one of the richest persons in the country, thanks to his long political career and investment in oil and gas, real estate, manufacturing, and agriculture among other ventures. 

Although he was the son of Kenya's former Vice President the late Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Raila did not have it all easy, as he had to make some tough decisions to create and build his business empire. 

In a video shared on his Facebook page in June 2021, Odinga narrated his journey to being a business owner, noting that like most other entrepreneurs, he too did not have capital.

The ODM Party leader divulged that when he wanted to start his first business, he was teaching at the University of Nairobi where he earned a Sh2,000 salary, which he says was not enough to purchase the equipment needed for his business.

According to Odinga, an Indian entrepreneur exiled from Ugandan was keen on disposing of  his machinery, but needed Sh12,000 which he did not have.

However, he was interested in the equipment, therefore he was forced to sell his Opel left-hand drive car to finance the acquisition of the assets.

Following the sale, he was able to acquire machines that he used to set up his manufacturing company which is at the core of his multi-billion business empire.

“I was teaching at the University of Nairobi when an Indian friend who was a technician told me that one of his friends had just been sent away from Uganda and had uprooted all his machines from Jinja to a yard at Parklands and was selling quickly to go to Great Britain.

“The entire machinery was being sold at Sh12,000 which I didn’t have, my salary was only Sh2000, so I sold my car to raise the cash and that is how I started East Africa Spectre Company,” Odinga divulged.

File image of Raila Odinga. [Photo: Courtesy]

In its initial stages, the company focused on manufacturing steel-related products and selling them in the Kenyan market.

“I rented a go-down in Industrial Area on Kingston Road now called Kampala Road and started manufacturing casements, windows, steel doors, and other items and we were up and running,” he divulged.

As the business progressed, it caught the attention of a businessman from Agip Oil Company who requested Odinga to venture into the production of gas cylinders, citing a deficiency in the market.

Being an engineer and having gained experience on the manufacturing of gas cylinders in Germany, Odinga took up the challenge.

Later on, his company benefitted from a loan issued by a foreign company which propelled it to greater heights.

Currently, East Africa Spectre Company is one of the top manufacturers of gas cylinders in East and Central Africa.

The company is one of the many investments under Odinga's business portfolio.