Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile, the governor of the Bank of Uganda, is widely credited with introducing financial discipline to a previously chaotic economy. Stephen Williams profiles the man who has steered Uganda's economic recovery.
Banks are currently queuing up to get a foothold in Uganda's burgeoning financial services market. In as many months, four African banks have had new licences approved--Kenya Commercial Bank and Fina Bank from Kenya plus Intercontinental Bank and United Bank of Africa from Nigeria--and have all either opened branches or are in the process of hiring staff to begin operations.
Others such as Nigeria's Access and the Ecobank Group are thought to be considering adding Uganda to their operations portfolio. They would join the 15 existing commercial and merchant banks, plus the four new entrants, licensed to operate in Uganda. The sector is led by market leader Stanbic and includes large multinationals like Barclays, Citi and Standard Chartered.
There are a number of reasons for this sudden interest in the Uganda market. Some analysts have commented on the recent developments in Uganda's energy sector, such as the oil finds made in the Lake Albert region and World Bank approval for the funds to build a new hydro-electric dam at Bujagali on the River Nile. These should help the country meet future power requirements and help spur its manufacturing and industrial sectors as well attracting foreign direct investment flows.
The man overseeing and regulating this expansion of the banking sector is Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile, governor of the Bank of Uganda, the country's central bank. He welcomes the new players, believing that the additional competition they pose to the established banks can only benefit the consumer who is typically paying more than 20% on loans and receiving just 2-3% on savings.
Furthermore, as well as continuing the trend to introduce computerisation and ATM services in the highly populated urban areas, he wants to encourage the banks to reach out to the previously neglected rural areas and ensure as many Ugandans as possible have access to banking services. "I want them to compete for customers throughout the country," the governor insists.
Spat with Idi Amin
Tumusiime-Mutebile's reputation as a straight-talking and highly efficient economic technocrat has given the foreign entrants additional confidence in the Uganda market. For Tumusiime-Mutebile is generally credited with being responsible for the renaissance of...