Top 25 CEOs setting the business agenda in 2021

Not a stranger to being recognized, Carole Kariuki Karuga was voted ‘Extraordinary Personality to Inspire the Future’ by 80 per cent of the 20,000 students of the Entrepreneurship Clubs of Kenyan Universities in 2012.


Carole Kariuki Karuga


From Private Sector sensitization and complete engagement on the national budget process, to vigorous engagement with National Treasury to facilitate the complete implementation of the Credit Guarantee Scheme to support MSMEs especially in the co COVID-19 recovery. From the formation of a technical committees between KEPSA and KRA to continuously assisting in solving the tax administration issues as they arise. 

From deeper engagement with National Treasury and concerned agencies to facilitate better business environment towards foreign and local investments. From formation of various task forces to engage the government and the private sectors. 

From meeting important business delegations wanting to thumb their footprints and engage with Kenyan businesses. From co-hosting important local, regional and global conferences to advance business interests and create a conducive atmosphere for trade and industry, her name is imprinted in bold and referred to in whispers.

In Presidential Round Tables (PRTs) to Speakers and Chief Justice Round Tables, her soft demeanour and warmth radiates in the air of policy directions, implementations and legislative refinements. In all these, what comes from her large brain diminishes her diminutive figure.  Meet Carole Karuga.

Ranked Second for the second time in a row by The Business Monthly magazine as one of the Top 25 CEOs in Kenya who made an impact in 2020 and being watched to help shape and set the business agenda in 2021, Caroline Karuga is credited with transforming the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) from a little-known business lobby group to one of the most influential institutions in Kenya and globally. 

In Kenya, KEPSA is accorded audiences at the helm of the government, through Presidential Round Tables and at the industry and economic and social sector levels through Ministerial Stakeholder Forums. Cabinet Secretaries (CSs) maintain advisory linkages with KEPSA Sector Chairs on a regular basis, both on policy formulation, implementation and monitoring.

Foreign trade and industry delegations to diplomats to business leaders, global and local, all line up on the corridors of Shelter Afrique House on Mamlaka Road, all eager to pay courtesy calls on probably the most influential woman in business outside government today.

Carole Kariuki holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics and Sociology from the University of Nairobi and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and International Affairs from Bowling Green State University, Ohio, USA. 

Caroline attended a number of professional and technical training in Business Policy and Advocacy, Public-Private Sector Dialogue, Global Leadership and Private Sector Development from leading global institutions. She caught the KEPSA bug at the Sagamore Institute for Public Policy Research, Indianapolis – Indiana, where she acted as a liaison between KEPSA and the institute before formally joining KEPSA, working her way up the ladder to the coveted CEO position. The rest, as we would want to say, is history.

When not at KEPSA, Carole serves on several boards, including: Chairperson, Special Economic Zones Authority, Board Member East African Cables PLC, Internet Solutions Kenya, Harvard University Center for African Studies,  Board of Trustees Member, United States International University–Africa (USIU-Africa), Board Member Business Advocacy Fund, Danish Embassy Kenya; Ambassador, African Women in Business Initiative of the Africa CEO Forum, Paris, and Council Member the National Council of Administrative Justice (NCAJ) among others.

Not a stranger to being recognized, Carole was voted ‘Extraordinary Personality to Inspire the Future’ by 80% of the 20,000 students of the Entrepreneurship Clubs of Kenyan Universities in 2012. In November 2019, Carole was appointed to the board of Global Compact Network Kenya (GCNK). The GCNK is designed as a multi-stakeholder body, whose board provides ongoing strategic and policy advice for the initiative, which acts as the flagship for responsible business action. Board members are considered champions who are willing and able to advance the mission of the United Nations Global Compact. In January 2020, Caroline was ranked in second place as one of the Top 25 CEOs setting the business agenda in Kenya in the inaugural issue of the BUSINESS MONTHLY magazine Awards, marking 25 years of publishing.


  • Coordinating private sector efforts and complementing government in managing the COVID-19 Pandemic
  • Promoting Private-Public Sector Dialogue 
  • Leadership in Sustainable Business Concept
  • Economic Diplomacy
  • Business Policy Formulation and Reforms
  • Championing MSMEs 
  • Tax Administration reforms
  • Promoting Corporate Governance Practice in Public and Private sectors


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Dr. Hanningtone Gaya

Dr. Hanningtone Gaya

Kenya’s Dr Hanningtone Gaya, holds a PhD in Commerce in Business Management from Nelson Mandela University (NMU), is viewed as an authority in country branding and is the founder chairman of the Brand Kenya Board.

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