Instead, the chief executive of Equity Bank has realised that the interests of the wealthy must be better aligned with the less well-off to avoid global calamity – in essence, inclusivity is self-interest. It has been a punishing year for Kenya’s biggest bank. “Up to June we are down 24% after tax,” says Mwangi. Waiving the fees to use its mobile platform forfeits $2m per month in revenue.
‘The greed that sometimes drives capitalism must be tamed’ – James Mwangi
If any banker was going to have an epiphany about capitalism during the pandemic, it was James Mwangi. “The bottom line [...] is no longer a central focus,” he said, during a long video call in late August, in his capacious but empty office in central Nairobi.