Leading Paint Manufacturer in East Africa: Rakesh Rao Discusses Crown Paints’ Latest Initiatives

In this interview, Rakesh Rao delves into Crown Paints Kenya’s operations and market presence across East Africa. Crown Paints is a leading paint manufacturing company, dominating the industry in Kenya with over 60% market share and holding strong positions in Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda. Rakesh Rao highlights the competitive advantages that set Crown Paints apart, including their commitment to sustainability, innovation and customer satisfaction. He also discusses the company’s focus on eco-friendly products, renewable energy, and waste management, as well as their CSR programs aimed at supporting education and community engagement.

Interview with Rakesh Rao, Group CEO of Crown Paints Kenya PLC

Can you give us an introduction to Crown Paints Kenya PLC and highlight its operations and market presence?

Crown Paints Kenya PLC is a leading paint manufacturing company in East Africa. We operate in four countries: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda. We have five manufacturing facilities and are listed on the Nairobi Stock Exchange. Our organization employs over 1,400 people. In Kenya, we are a dominant player in the paint and construction sectors, holding more than 60% of the market share. In the other countries, we rank as the second or third largest player in the industry.

What is Crown Paints’ competitive advantage? Could you discuss the key factors that set you apart from your competitors?

I believe Crown Paints has always excelled in leading its brand due to our cost-competitive advantage and our commitment to delivering on our promises to customers. This dedication has enabled us to maintain and grow our customer base significantly, despite various challenges. Over the past two years, Crown Paints has achieved double-digit growth, demonstrating the effectiveness of our sustainability model, strategic execution, and deep market understanding, which allow us to consistently deliver value to our customers.

We pride ourselves on being one of the most innovative companies in the paint industry. Particularly in recent years, as the government has placed a greater focus on sustainability, carbon emissions, and reducing carbon footprints, Crown Paints has emerged as a leader in these areas. We were among the first companies to receive the ESG award, reflecting our strong commitment to sustainability throughout our entire process, from our value chains and product development to our management practices.

For instance, the paint industry typically uses a significant amount of water, often resulting in considerable waste. We have implemented initiatives to minimize water wastage and make our processes more environmentally friendly. We are focused on enhancing sustainability across our operations, from creating eco-friendly products to optimizing waste management practices. Many of our products are VOC-free (volatile organic compounds-free), meaning they do not contain harmful chemicals, making them safe for both individuals and the environment.

Additionally, we have invested heavily in renewable energy. We have incorporated solar power to reduce carbon emissions and have begun transitioning our fleet from diesel to electric vehicles, further reducing our environmental impact. Our commitment to waste management is another critical area; we strive to ensure that waste does not harm the environment, working closely with communities and stakeholders to promote sustainable practices. 

These are the key pillars we have been working on. We are focusing on eco-friendly products, improving our processes, enhancing waste management, and engaging with communities to ensure they receive and understand the importance of sustainable practices.

Let’s discuss the current projects you are working on. Are there any new initiatives, projects, or product lines you would like to share with us?

We are about to launch a new tool called the Color Visualizer. It boasts advanced features that allow users to imagine and define their desired color schemes and textures. This tool enables users to visualize their ideas, capture them in the system, and share them with us. Additionally, they can seek advice from us on various color solutions. We believe that paint is not just about protection anymore; it has become a part of lifestyle. In line with this, we are continuously launching new eco-friendly products and texture finishes to provide our customers with the best value and an enhanced lifestyle.

As a market leader, how do you maintain your top position, especially with the increasing number of companies entering the market? What has been your business strategy over this period?

Our strategy revolves around quality, sustainability, and delivering a superior value proposition to our customers, ultimately providing excellent value for money. Many of our competitors operate with very thin margins and provide low-cost, lower-quality products to stay in the game. However, they often fall short in delivering true value, innovation, and quality. We are confident that as the Kenyan market continues to grow, quality will always prevail. There may be times when economic challenges lead people to temporarily compromise on quality due to budget constraints. But in the long run, quality is what wins. This is the strong message we stand by as a brand.

Are there any plans to expand into other countries in the near future?

Not at the moment. Right now, we are focused on consolidating and improving our market share. It is crucial for us to maintain and enhance what we already have rather than rushing into rapid expansion, which could impact the organization. We have seen strong growth in Rwanda this year, reaching 35%. Similarly, we are making significant strides in Uganda, gaining a stronger market foothold. Our priority is to continue focusing on these countries. However, we are also exploring export opportunities to neighboring countries like Congo from Rwanda and Uganda. So we have been exploring opportunities in the export market within neighboring countries.

Are you considering exporting your products to Congo, Sudan, or other suitable locations?

Yes, that is our current strategy because setting up a manufacturing plant in those markets is not feasible or favorable right now. Instead, we are leveraging our existing facilities, especially our enhanced production capacity in Uganda. This allows us to effectively serve nearby markets. As we reach full production capacity, we will assess the situation in Congo to see if infrastructure, transportation, and supply chain conditions improve. Currently, there are challenges with the supply chain for liquid raw materials in Congo through various routes. It is more efficient to produce locally and distribute to markets we can adequately cover from Uganda and Rwanda, I believe we can effectively cover those markets and strengthen our brand presence there.

Looking ahead over the next three to five years, especially with your focus on sustainability, what are your key goals?

I believe as a leading brand, our aspiration is to achieve dominance, where our brand excels across all areas like business, profitability, customer engagement, new product innovations, and sustainability. These are the pillars we aim to prioritize in the coming two to five years. Our goal is to ensure the brand continues to thrive and remains a top brand in this country.

Currently, there is a lot of attention on Kenya due to recent events. As someone who has been a businessman here for many years, what are your thoughts on this situation?

I believe nothing in life is permanent. This current situation is temporary. Kenyans are resilient and mature; they understand the situation well. I have confidence that the government is actively working with the people to find solutions. I believe we will derive effective solutions that will benefit the country and support its future growth. I am optimistic about the progress we will achieve in the coming years.

Could you discuss the corporate social responsibility efforts of your company, particularly any key initiatives or projects you are actively involved in?

Our company is deeply committed to corporate social responsibility across various fronts. One of our flagship initiatives involves painting schools. Over the years, we have undertaken projects to paint more than 150 schools. This effort aims to create conducive learning environments for children across the country. By revitalizing school buildings with vibrant colors, we aim to inspire students and improve their attendance and engagement in education. This has proven successful in motivating students to take their education seriously and contribute positively to their future and the nation.

In addition to our educational initiatives, we actively promote sports, particularly through our involvement in the golf community. Our golf events serve as platforms where we connect with our stakeholders, including customers, contractors, architects, and quantity surveyors. These events not only foster community engagement but also promote our products and services in a meaningful way.

Another pivotal CSR program we run is Team Kubwa. This program focuses on empowering painters through training and support. We have developed the Team Kubwa app, which allows painters to access various training modules to enhance their skills and knowledge. Moreover, we have established a SACCO program tailored to painters, helping them save money and improve their livelihoods. This initiative supports over 150,000 painters nationwide, ensuring they have the resources and opportunities to grow professionally and provide better futures for their families.


  • WEBSITE: www.crownpaints.co.ke
  • ADDRESS: P.O. BOX 78848 – 00507, Likoni Road, Industrial Area, Nairobi, Kenya
  • PHONE: (+254) 0202 165 703/5/6, 0203 2751
  • CALL CENTER: 0709 887 000
  • EMAILS: info@crownpaints.co.ke / sales@crownpaints.co.ke / marketing@crownpaints.co.ke





This material (including media content) may not be published, broadcasted, rewritten, or redistributed. However, linking directly to the page (including the source, i.e. Marcopolis.net) is permitted and encouraged.

Scroll to top