Of the hallmarks of civilization which include metrics like stable food supply, adoption of up to date technologies, efficient governance structure, number of prisoners and how a society treats her imprisoned, highly sophisticated, well organized and properly planned cities is the most noticeable. By today’s standards, when a society has chaotic, crime infested and generally dirty cities, that society might not be considered a civilized one.
To feature in the list of of highly civilized societies, Kenya has put in place plans to create two of the Africa’s most developed, thoroughly organized and well positioned cities – the Konza City and Tatu City. We have talked a lot about Konza City in a number of posts on this site and starting today we want to highlight the hitherto neglected Tatu City, and to start us of, we want to share with you a little bit about one of the men behind Tatu City, Mr. Stephen Jennings.
Tatu City is the proposed large-scale urban development consisting of residential, commercial, industrial, tourism, social and recreation amenities. Once finalized, Tatu City is geared to lessen the burden of Nairobi by relocating up to 70,000 families (up to 350,000 human beings) from the busy metropolitan to the shabbab city of Tatu.
A major contributor to the development of Tatu City is Rendeavour, an urban development Firm created and headed by Stephen Jennings. Rendeavour has already poured a great sum of money to the development of Tatu City and according to their website, the first major residential phase, the Kijani Bridge, has already been launched.
Stephen Jennings who in 2008 was listed by Forbes as the #1014 dollar billionaires is of New Zealand Origin aged 54 years and has invested in several industries and countries. According to the Forbes’ list, Stephen Jennings “began building his fortune initially through investments in newly private companies during the chaos of post-Soviet Moscow. Was buying up vouchers in these firms and reselling them when he met Boris Jordan, a young Russian-American. With three others they founded Renaissance Capital, a brokerage and investment bank, in 1995. RenCap, as it came to be known, nearly collapsed during Russia’s financial crisis in 1998, and Jordan left (Jennings is the only remaining of the original founding partners). The company recovered, expanded and, now known as Renaissance Group, is one of the largest independent investment banks in Russia. In 2007 Jennings stepped down as chief executive and formed a Renaissance-sponsored private equity fund focused on Africa.”
Jennings interest in Africa has seen his Rendeavour firm invest in projects such as Appolonia – a City in Ghana, King City also in Ghana, Lekki City in Nigeria, Jigna City also in Nigeria, Roma Park in Zambia and Kishwishi in DRC. The interest Jennings has in Africa has been inspired by the fact that by 2050, a quarter of the world’s population will be living in Africa, 48 per cent of the world’s 25 most growing economies will be African nations, and with an equal number of cities with over one million inhabitants as Europe. So the question one would want to ask Jennings is, “Why Africa?” and he would answer,
An economic transformation is taking place that is global in scale and scope. Nowhere will this be more evident than in Africa, where the opportunity is greater than anywhere else. This is not because Africa is different, but because the potential for catch-up and convergence is greater, and is likely to be fulfilled more rapidly.
As the Founder and CEO of Rendeavour, Stephen Jennings is said to have been living and working in emerging markets for more than 20 years. He is a pioneer of capital markets in Central & Eastern Europe and Africa, responsible for over $200 billion of investment into these regions. He founded the Renaissance Group in 1995 that focused on building investment banking, securities sales and trading, asset management, and consumer finance businesses across Central & Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa.
With a reputation to invest in the Russian Stock market when nobody was willing to take the risk, it is widely believed that Jennings involvment in the development of African cities such as Tatu City will not only play part in modernizing cities across Africa but will also play a major part in lifting the livelihood and economic status of the African people.