“After all, however fat your bank account, you cannot eat more than three meals a day, put on two suits or drive in two cars at the same time”. And so Merali has decided to give back to the community through charity and creating employment. Though he owns several banks, Merali says one may not believe that his personal bank account balance sometimes reads zero.
He discloses: “I have made a decision to give 50% of my annual earnings to charity. However, sometimes I exceed the limit and find I have given 100 per cent”, he says with a shy smile. Creating employment is the next passion for the 62- year old Kenyan-born entrepreneur. Through his listed companies, he employs over 50 000 people in Kenya, Uganda and South Africa. “My vision is to create direct jobs for at least a 100 000 people.”
He says his biggest joy is when he sees people making the best out of themselves by giving them the opportunity. “Don’t just give people fish, give them the opportunity to fish for themselves.” While many a successful business person would work to cripple the competition, Merali works to promote even rivals in his game. “If I see a worthy challenger, I even help them to do even better because it can only be good if as many of us are doing well”.
He reasons: “If Merali creates 100 000 jobs, Njoroge creates 200 000 and Onyango creates 300 000 jobs, do you think the rate of crime, school drop-out and disease would be as high? The Kenyan version of America’s Bill Gates hesitates to drop names on where has put the billions in charity through a family organization, Zarnash Foundation. Zarnash is the short for