His slim build, boyish looks, and young age contrast the confidence Clarence Muhoro exudes when speaking passionately about his pet subject – investing.
“I wish to be the Warren Buffet of Kenya,” he says in passing, not as a boast or an overreach, but in the calm manner of someone keenly aware of his capabilities.
From selling newspapers in primary school and pin pops in high school to buying his first shares – Safaricom – at 17, dabbling in cryptocurrency and getting burnt, starting an investment boot camp and running his own company that teaches young people about investing, Clarence, who is in his early 20s, has come a long way.
His achievements may belie his age but his potential has always been clear to those around him. His father told him that he would become a financial analyst while still in primary school. He joined university at the age of 17 years due to his high aptitude and showed a keen eye for math, eventually emerging as the top student in finance in his final year.
Studying for a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance with a focus on Investment Management at USIU-Africa aided him in his investing journey.
“I had very good professors whom one could consult about investment. They taught us investment strategies and how to be very proactive,” he says.
One of his lecturers once predicted that he would one day be the Cabinet Secretary for Finance as she asked him to make a presentation to the class.
“That affirmation was very important,” he says.
Before joining the university, he read popular personal finance book ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ by Robert T. Kiyosaki whose chapter ‘The rich invent money’ opened his mind in a very unique way.
He later learned about Warren Buffett, an American businessman and philanthropist, widely considered the most successful investor of the 20th century. From Buffet, he got the fire to invest and after saving with his brother, they convinced their Chama to buy Safaricom shares.
“Why Safaricom? You know number one inakuaanga tu (is usually) Safaricom. As a Kenyan, Safaricom first. They have shown us their might, and how organised, and structured they are. And when I was going through the annual reports, you’re seeing the profits are always going up. You are seeing they are in the new frontiers, fintech. MPESA is going Africa-wide, so the numbers make sense. The culture makes sense. Everything makes sense,” the investment guru says.
Apart from Safaricom shares, Clarence, who prides himself as a long-term investor, also has a stake in various companies in the Nairobi Securities Exchange among them Equity Bank, Sasini, Centum and Kengen.
While his peers may be excited by the edgy, futuristic investments such as cryptocurrencies, Clarence prefers the tried and tested, old-fashioned investment in shares. “I like shares because they are businesses. So when I’m buying Safaricom, I know I own a window of the Safaricom House. Or if you’re using M-PESA you are my customer. I see it working day-to-day and I understand the model,” he adds.
His zeal for investing and desire to impart financial knowledge led him to start an investment club at USIU. However, the Covid pandemic stopped him in his tracks. Not one to give up, he tailored his knowledge and experiences into a short course for a friend who was so impressed that they paid twice the amount asked.
This humble beginning birthed his company, Young Investment Africa. The company trains young people on how to make wealth through business and investments. Among the programmes are rigorous bootcamps where the basics of investing in shares are taught.
“The journey has been wonderful. We’ve grown. We’ve had wonderful partners and institutions. And we’ve taught 11,000 students and we’re grateful,” he says.
Looking forward, Clarence seeks to take his investment coaching across the borders Africa-wide, to reach his five-year- goal. He also plans to have an app that can aid financial literacy and diversify from shares to unique investment opportunities.
The avid Arsenal and Lewis Hamilton fan has also ventured into sports attire marketing specifically for Formula 1 “as a way to unwind from the intensity of research and analysis and also have fun while making money.”
The past five years have been a whirlwind for Clarence whereby he started a company, taught many about investing and collaborated with various organisations.
From the lessons he has picked in his investment journey so far, Clarence has a message to other young people.
“Invest in yourself and follow your dreams. Be bold, as much as possible. I think being bold is going for it even if you’re scared because fortune favors the bold. So, work very hard, but then also rest hard. Take care of your health. Be very purposeful,” he advises.
This story was first published by the Safaricom Newsroom.
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