James Mwangi is CEO and managing director of Equity Bank, one of the top five banks in Kenya and the largest microfinance provider in East and Central Africa. Under his leadership, Equity Bank has become the biggest bank in East and Central Africa, with over eight million bank accounts and growing accounting for over 50% of all bank accounts in Kenya. Mwangi is also chairman of Equity Group Foundation, which serves as a focal point for partnerships with Equity Bank on programs aimed at low-income populations. Its goal is to transform the socioeconomic status of people in Africa.
Mwangi received the 2012 Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the Year, becoming the first business leader from sub-Saharan Africa to receive this prestigious award. He is a Certified Public Accountant and holds four honorary doctorate degrees in recognition of his contributions to the Kenyan society, as well as a bachelor’s of commerce degree. For outstanding contribution in economic development, he was named one of Kenya’s National Heroes and Legends in 2011 and was given the First Class Chief of the Order of the Burning Spear (CBS), the highest presidential award granted to a civilian.