Manu Chandaria is an award winning businessman and noted philanthropist. He is the CEO and chairman of the Comcraft Group of companies and also chairperson of several prominent companies throughout East Africa. Comcraft is present in more than 40 countries and is known as a billion dollar enterprise. In 2003 Queen Elizabeth II awarded Chandaria with the Order of the British Empire, and also as the Elder of the Burning Spear by Mwai Kibaki, the former president of Kenya. Chandaria is widely known as one of the leading industrialists of Kenya.
Philanthropy and Sponsorship
As one of the most respected business leaders in East Africa, Manu Chandaria oversees the family business in 45 countries around the world. The Chandaria family arrived in Kenya as merchants and started a provisions shop on the main road in Nairobi. Manu Chandaria joined the family business after completing his education and achieving degrees in India and in the United States. By the time he returned the family had amassed enough holdings to enter into the financially lucrative steel and aluminium industry. The company was called Comcraft and soon expanded across several countries including India, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Congo and Zambia and eventually became a US$ 2.5 billion concern spanning across many more countries.
Profit as a means, not an end
Despite his incredible success Chandaria does not take credit for his vast philanthropic endeavours. Instead, he claims that his giving spirit comes from a long family tradition of social responsibility based on religious practice. As practicing Jains the Chandarias are devoted to all life forms and therefore consider it a moral obligation to do good deeds. Through the family and its many business interests, Manu Chandaria established trusts in all 11 African countries the main business operations are carried out in to help sustain its charitable work. Through Comcraft the entrepreneur quietly supports educational initiatives, hospitals, medical centres, environmental initiatives, children’s homes and other philanthropic ventures.
Advocating human rights and charity
Chandaria’s interest in social reform and philanthropy extends to his public presence where he is a firm and public advocate of corporate social responsibility and human rights. His efforts have been recognised over the years with several appointments as chairperson of committees and organisations that affect positive change. He is chairman of the Street Families Rehabilitation Trust Fund and a member of the Police Reforms Task Force. Chandaria is known for his views on communities making a commitment to do something for others and sticking to the commitment, and he believes that some of the best work in Kenya is being done by small organisations outside of the government. According to Chandaria there is always some room for social good in every human being.
A family man
Manu Chandaria is as devoted to his family as he is to his philanthropic endeavours. He is married to his wife Aruna and the couple have two children, a son Neal and a daughter Priti – both also involved in the family business.