Kenyan steel tycoon Narendra Raval, also known as ‘guru’, has decided to work for free at Egerton University where he was recently appointed as the vice-chancellor.
His appointment to one of the country’s oldest and most reputable institutions was made by Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta.
“Its the first time that a Gujarati has been appointed to such a prestigiuos position in a goverment university in Africa. I have decided that my entire salary including any allowances or finacial benefits received from this position will go to support needy students at the University.” Raval said.
The college has over 24,000 students and Raval said that he will use his good offices as a business leader to collaborate with industries in Africa and create job opportunities for students of Egerton University.
A native of Maathak in Surendranagar district, Raval has joined the list of prominent Kenyan business leaders who have been appointed by President Kenyatta to head government-owned universities in the recent past.
The founder and chairman of Devki Group of Companies has a business empire with a turnover of around USD 650 million, spread across six sectors including steel, cement, infrastructure and aviation.
Raval made it to the Forbes ranking of Africa’s 50 richest people in 2015. Two years later, he pledged to donate half of his net worth to humanitarian causes.
Beginning as a small trader of steel in the Gikomba area of Nairobi, Kenya, the Devki Group has diversified into manufacturing of steel, roofing sheets, cement and other businesses over a span of three decades.
He earned the sobriquet ‘guru’, thanks to his initial days as a cleric in the Swaminarayan Temple in Bhuj. A well-known palmist and crystal gazer for Kenyan presidents and other high-ranking Africans, Raval released his autobiography in 2018 titled ‘Guru: A Long Walk To Success’.
He has also counselled presidents of countries like Tanzania and Congo as well as heads of some European nations.
Guru bhai today runs his business empire with more than 4,500 employees spread across East Africa.