Black Affairs, Africa and Development

Interview: Mr. Bernard Magulu, Uganda is Next Frontier of Investment

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Can you give us some information about your work background?
I am Technical Director Africa for MM2 Capital, with over 15 years’ banking experience in finance, business planning, liquidation management, and strategy execution.  I am also a chartered accountant, risk management expert, forensic accountant and corporate regeneration practitioner.

You relocated from the Diaspora to Uganda.  Why did you decide to go into banking?
To contribute to national development.  Uganda is a land of opportunity.  What is required now is the ability to leverage and explore skills and talents.  For aspiring and progressive Africans, the West can longer provide opportunities to realise one’s dreams.

Explain your initial involvement in Uganda’s private equity markets and what motivated you to create of MM2 Capital.
We conceived an idea of investing locally, and reaping globally.  To my mind, investing in East Africa means that one needs to choose a financial partner with African Roots.  This was the raison d’etre for establishing MM2 Capital.    Indeed, everyone is welcome to the MM2 Capital Investment Bureau, a forward thinking company combining the efficiency of its internet platform with more traditional methods. Our job is connecting entrepreneurs and business angel investors by creating opportunities and facilitating possibilities for investment.
As the convergence focal point for investors and business entrepreneurs, MM2 Capital,  has been developed as a pan-African capital investment equity company investing in entrepreneurs, and building successful businesses to deliver sustainable financial and social returns. We deliver value because we are passionate about entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship. They are the key drivers of job creation and long-term economic development which is the focus of the Government of Uganda and others in Africa and beyond.

I understand you are dealing in various high profile cases, including signing a deal to manage investment leads from the Ugandan Convention. Tell us about any current project you are working on?
MM2 Capital dialogued with both Telecommunications Consultants India Limited (TCIL), and the Ugandan Government Stakeholders, with an exploratory approach on how TCIL could contribute to e-governance and IT infrastructure project development in Uganda.  TCIL has pioneered implementation of a Mega IT Pan African e- network project, fully owned and funded by the Government of India Enterprise, under the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.

MM2 Capital undertook The Nagrecha Brothers and Ashwin Chandrani Narandas who are investing over $5m for the setup of a modern plant for the development of commodity value chains for maize, bean, rice and other cereals.  NAGCHAND Uganda Limited is the company that ensures execution of this vision.  Investment Licence and registration of the company have been finalised and ground work for the launch of this milestone is in the offing.

Uganda is one of the favourite destinations for foreign direct investment. What unique factor makes Uganda a favourable emerging market?
“The Pearl of Africa,” the economy of Uganda is shining and booming once again. With an economic growth of 7% every year, it is one of the greatest business markets to venture in.  The inflow of investment in East Africa is a result of extensive multilateral efforts by the regional governments to streamline business procedures, create conducive legal frameworks, reduce bureaucracy and improve service delivery in order to promote both domestic and foreign investment. Thus, MM2 Capital is working with international partners to further promote this effort in the West.

Over the past five years or so, major discoveries of oil and other resources have put Uganda on the global map. What does the future hold, in your view?

The country’s economy has great potential due to major resources like mineral deposits, fertile land and regular rainfall. A number of natural resources, manmade attractions and lots of friendly people make Uganda the greenest and most scenic of all the African countries. With all this, is it any wonder that Uganda’s future is so bright?

“Kenyan technology companies are investing more in Uganda than in any other country in the region, a new report shows.
According to a survey released by the government-funded Julisha ICT Board and the ministry of Information and Communications, 23.9 per cent of local ICT companies have a presence in Uganda, while only 19.7 per cent and 14.1 per cent have invested in Ethiopia and Tanzania respectively.
The report covering the period between January and December 2011 says preference for Uganda in the region is informed by the stable investment environment in the country.
 “While Uganda is a smaller market than both Ethiopia and Tanzania, more local players have invested there than in the other two countries. This is mainly due to the more relaxed investment environment in Uganda,” the research note prepared by the International Data Corporation says.

In the whole of the African continent, Uganda’s economy is the fastest rising due to its political stability and economic policies, and also because of the implementation of structural development programs.
Agriculture continues to dominate the business with coffee bringing at least 80% of its export earnings. Manufacturing sector is also gaining momentum.

“With Uganda’s current housing deficit standing at 500,000 units Kampala region alone has a deficit of 100,000 units” finance minister Maria Kiwanuka has said. This shows the potential of opportunities in the real estate sector.

Uganda is growing, and  modernizing. It is no longer the hopeless country portrayed in the early 1970’s Amin era. It is now a country in progress, in constant evolution, with an ongoing commitment to offering its people better living conditions.

There are also a number of investment prospects in textile and cotton industries. A growing number of cotton is being exported and ginneries are being established. Food and beverage sectors provide opportunities too. There are local agricultural raw materials to manufacture agro processed products with high export potential.  The technical and vocational sector in education proves to be a good business also. Given Uganda’s climate and political stability, there is huge growth in banking, insurance services, mortgage and financing.

Investments will be protected in Uganda because the country is a member of the Multilateral Guarantee Agency which protects foreign investors’ money. In addition, Uganda also has mutual investment agreements with other countries.

Bernard Robinson Magulu; FCCA, CPA
Technical Director Africa

Plot 135, Kira Road
Opposite Kira Road Police Station
P.O.Box 3541 Kampala, Uganda
Mob:+256 (754) 410 559, +256 776 410 559

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