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15 CEOs to watch in 2015: Gachao Kiuna

15 CEOs to watch in 2015: Gachao Kiuna

Gachao Kiuna, CEO, Transcentury, Kenya

If anyone knows Kenya’s long-term prospects, it is Gachao Kiuna, who was the principal consultant on the McKinsey team that developed the country’s 2030 strategy. Appointed the CEO of TransCentury while still in his mid-30s, Kiuna is in charge of taking one of the country’s biggest investment companies even further from its roots as a private investment club.

TransCentury plans to invest $2bn in East African infrastructure, including power plants, gas storage facilities and roads to meet the region’s enormous unmet demand for power and logistics. The company is building a 35MW geothermal power plant in Kenya, and is bidding with others to add more capacity in geothermal, gas and coal power. In November, it joined a consortium that is building a 50MW wind farm in Limuru.

The government has borrowed heavily, both internationally and domestically, to build generation and transmission infrastructure.

The company is looking regionally too. TransCentury is constructing a toll road, bridge and border crossing in the Democratic Republic of Congo, to connect Lubumbashi’s copper mines to move their goods more smoothly through the border and to the port in Dar Es Salaam.

Regional trade and integration and big infrastructure are always on the agenda for African governments, but if, as expected, 2015 sees another ratcheting up of attempts to build regional markets and jump-start project development, TransCentury could find itself at the centre of a transformational business.

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Written by Alexa Dalby

Alexa Dalby is a freelance arts and business journalist, with over 20 years varied experience of writing and broadcasting about Africa, and is currently assistant editor of African Business and African Banker magazines. She is a film critic and a specialist in African and Middle Eastern cinema.

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