Inside Uganda’s emerging fintech ecosystem
Namugisha Kamanda, the CEO of Africa Finance (Namugisha Kamanda, CEO Africa Finance)
“I had never heard of a finance company. I didn’t know where we would get our money to grow the business. I don’t remember what they did,” recalls Namugisha Kamanda, a young Ugandan entrepreneur in her twenties who has set up an off-shore digital investment company in Cape Town, South Africa. “I think my parents must have been very busy with the housework, because they didn’t have time to think about what else they could do so they decided to give me my first job.”
Kamanda grew up in the slum of Kasese near Nakasongola, where “I used to eat nothing but soup and bread.” Although she was always an active contributor to her school’s school events, and would even go to clubs to play for the school basketball team, Kamanda had always wanted a career in business. Her younger sister, who is now in the city working in an IT company, taught her “some things about business.”
On meeting her sister in the early years of Kamanda’s education, she noticed that her sister had already gone into business and “started selling things out of her school.” Kamanda was so impressed by what she saw that she set up a business of her own—selling clothes and accessories over the Internet. When she finally graduated, she had an idea for a “socially useful” internet business. Her sister had already had a friend who had built a similar product and asked her to look into it, but in the end she had no idea where to begin.
Kamanda soon met her husband and he told her she should go and learn some business and “start a company