Manu Chandaria Biography

Manu Chandaria (Manilal Premchand Chandaria) was born on 1st March 1929. He is a kenyan businessman of Indian descent . He is the chairman and CEO of the comcraft group of companies that is in more than 40 countries.

Manu Chandaria Early Life

His father, an Indian merchant, from Saurashtra, Gujarat, moved to Kenya in 1915 to start a provisions shop along Biashara street in Nairobi. Chandaria was born in Nairobi an grew up in the Ngara area of Nairobi in a house that was home to three other families, where he assisted his father in the shop.

Manu Chandaria Education Background

1951: Graduated from the University of Oklahoma in the US, Masters in Engineering.

1950: Graduated from the University of Oklahoma in the US, Bachelor in Engineering

1949: Graduated from Jamnagar India University, Bombay, Bachelor of Science

Manu Chandaria Career in Business

Shortly before Chandaria and his brother’s return to Kenya, their family had amassed substantial holdings that made it possible for their entry into the lucrative steel and aluminium industry. Chandaria’s future father-in-law had organised a group of ten individuals to acquire saucepan manufacturer Kenya Aluminium, an enterprise that had folded during the depression, from an Indian merchant in 1929, although this group eventually broke up to pursue different ventures some twenty years later.

With the onset of the 1950s and 1960s came the expansion of Comcraft to other countries such as Ethiopia, Nigeria, Congo, India, Zambia and elsewhere with Chandaria being charged with business affairs in Uganda, and Congo.

He is today the chairman of Comcraft Group, Bank of India Advisory Committee in Nairobi among others. His personal business interests are extensive and span the vast of the Kenyan economy and as well as 50 other countries. In a recent interview for the Creating Emerging Markets project at the Harvard Business School, he defends the notion that businesses should look at profit as the means, and not the end

Manu Chandaria Board Membership

  • Member of Mabati Rolling Mills Ltd Board.
  • Member of  Kaluworks Ltd Board.
  • Member of Aluminium Africa Ltd (Dar es Salaam)
  • Member of Uganda Baati Ltd (Kampala)
  • Vice Chairman of Kenindia Assurance Co Ltd
  • Vice Chairman of East Africa Reinsurance Co Ltd
  • Chairman of Bank of India Advisory Committee in Nairobi
  • Member of University of Nairobi Enterprises & Services Ltd Board.
  • Founding Chairman of East African Business Council – To support and be a part of the East African Community
  • Founding Chairman of Kenya Private Sector Alliance
  • Director of Umbrella body for 200 private sector Associations
  • Past Chairman of Kenya Association of Manufacturers
  • Past Director of Standard Chartered  Bank Kenya Ltd

Manu Chandaria Government of Kenya Appointments


  • Appointed to serve as a Trustee and Chairman of the Street Families Rehabilitation Trust Fund
  • Appointed a member of the Police Reforms Task Force
  • Appointed by His Excellency the President
    – To serve on the National Economics & Social Council
    – Chaired by His Excellency the President
  • Appointed a member of the National Consultative Committee on Fast Tracking
    – The East African Political Federation
  • Appointed a member of the Environment Policy National Steering Committee 1/7/2007 – 1/7/ 2008


  • On the Board set up to rehabilitate businesses destroyed or damaged – In disturbances in 1982
  • On the Joint Industrial & Commercial Consultative Committee
  • Member of the Capital Markets Committee
    – Thereafter for 2 terms of 3 years each
  • Member of the Capital Markets Authority Board
  • On the Board of the Investment Promotion Centre
    – Two terms of three years each
  • Member of the Insurance Advisory Board
  • Appointed by His Excellency the President to sit on the
    – National Disaster Emergency Fund Committee (Bomb Disaster 1998 Fund)
  • Appointed by the Attorney-General to the Task Force set up – To review laws relating to companies, partnerships, insolvency and investments
  • Invited by the Ministry of Finance & Planning to join the
    – National Consultative Forum to discuss the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper
  • Appointed to serve on the Board of Management of the
    – National Council for Science and Technology
  • Reappointed by the Minister of Finance to the reactivated
    – Joint Industrial & Commercial Consultative Committee
  • Appointed to be a member of the National Council for Children Services
  • Appointed by His Excellency the President
    – To be a member of the Steering Committee
    – Of The New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD)
  • Appointed to represent Special Interests Groups
    – At the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission

Manu Chandaria Charitable Work and Social Work

Chairman – Chandaria Foundation
Founding Chairman and member of the Management Committee – Asian Foundation
Chairman – Limuru Girls Centre
Chairman – Starehe Girls Centre
Chairman – Kenya Ear Foundation
Chairman – The Sir Ernest Vasey Memorial Foundation
Trustee – The Heart Foundation
Trustee – Undugu Society of Kenya
Founding Chairman and Trustee – Watoto Kwanza Trust
Member – University of Nairobi Council
Director – United States International University – Kenya (USIU)
Trustee – International University of Kenya (IUK)
Trustee – Centre for Corporate Governance
Member – Governing Council (African Centre for Technology Studies)
Director & Trustee – International Board, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)
Goodwill Ambassador – World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF),  Eastern Africa Corporate Club
Trustee – Hansaben Chandulal Malde Charitable Trust
Past Chairman and Member – Desai Memorial Foundation
Chairman and Trustee – Gandhi Smarak Nidhi Fund
Past Chairman and Member – Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Academy Society
Trustee – World Jain Confederation
Past Chairman and Member – Rotary Club of Nairobi
Past Trustee – Nairobi Gymkhana
Past Chairman – Kenya Rural Blindness Eradication, Project of the Rotary Club of Nairobi
Trustee – Pan African Parliament – May, 2006
Director – Management Education Research Consortium (MERC), 20 November, 2006
Advisor – Global School Business Network (GSBN)

Manu Chandaria

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Manu Chandaria Honours and Awards

  1. 2003: He was made an OBE of the Order of the British Empire in Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s New Year Honours List 2003 in recognition of his work for the community in Kenya and for his promotion of Kenyan economic and British interests in Kenya
  2. August 2006:Was created a Fellow of the Cambridge Association of Managers
  3. 1 December 1997:  he was awarded the degree of doctor of science by the University of Nairobi in
    recognition of outstanding achievements in the industrial, manufacturing and business sector and his contribution to the economy of Kenya.
  4. December 2000 – December 2002: He was named as he most respected Chief Executive Officer in East Africa through the Price Water house Coopers and the Nation Media Group survey( Each subsequent year)
  5. December 2003: He received the honour of Elder of the Order of the Burning Spear (EBS) conferred by His Excellency President Mwai Kibaki
  6. 2006: Award of Service as Trustee of the Nairobi Gymkhana in  recognition of outstanding and distinguished service rendered to the nation
  7. 1982 was presented with the Vishwa Gurjari Award in Gujarat, India for outstanding service to business in the international sector
  8. 1989 was presented with the Jawaharlal Nehru Excellence Award
  9. 1990 was presented with the Vijay Rattna Award for enriching human life and outstanding achievements
  10. 2001 was presented with the Bharat Gaurav Award by the Indian Merchants Chamber, Bombay India for his continued and sustained services as a distinguished non-resident Indian who has enhanced the image of India abroad by his achievements, excellence and success
  11. November 2001 was awarded ‘Hindu Vibhushan’ by the Hindu Leaders Forum
  12. January9, 2003: the Government of India conferred the honour of Pravasi  Bhartiya Sanmam during the first ceremony of the awards event Pravasi Bharatiya Sanmam Puraskar in recognition of exceptional services rendered as a person of Indian origin to the country of his domicile, thus promoting the honour and prestige of India
  13. January 8, 2008: was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award in Delhi India
  14. December 2001: Korea Trade Day Award by Korea’s Minister for Commerce, Industry & Energy in recognition of his business support as a best trading partner with Korea during the year


1988 was appointed a member of the NRI (Non-Resident Indians) Consultative Committee of the Ministry of Finance, Government of India

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