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This is not about politics. It is about the politics of business. 

If you have been following parliamentary proceedings closely, you understand the real and potential business opportunities this country has missed as result of indecision by some of our MPs.

Most just don’t have the business IQ. They need serious training in basic investment and finance.

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The Post-Meles Zenawi Ethiopia presents the United States with a significant opportunity to encourage Ethiopia to improve its human rights record, liberalize its economy, and provide increased space for opposition parties and civil society organizations. Post-Meles Ethiopia also presents a significant challenge since Ethiopia plays an important role in advancing regional integration and mitigating regional conflict in Somalia and Sudan. Our partnership with Ethiopia balances these interests by focusing on democracy, governance, and human rights; economic growth and development; and regional peace and security.

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June 4th 2013. Women leaders from the East African Community (EAC) holding national, regional and international offices as well as selected male political leaders are in Kigali attending the 3rd EAC Dialogue on Political Integration will address the question whether women leaders fit the description as driver of the EAC political integration agenda.

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The difference between a gorgeous wretched girl and an unattractive poor one is that the former can easily land a very liquid suitor to change her destiny. That is precisely what happened to UTL last month when it signed a ‘code sharing agreement’ with telecom giant Vodafone.

Under the agreement, it is expected that the two telecoms will merge synergies to provide customer enhanced services. UTL is said to have a ‘Museum’ of all kinds of telecom equipment ranging from the most archaic to state of the art models. On the other hand, Vodafone is very liquid. Vodafone will tap onto UTL’s infrastructure as it seeks to gain inroads in Uganda’s telecom industry especially through data services to Uganda’s high volume users. In return, Vodafone is expected to upgrade UTL’s old infrastructure.

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In 2010, when Airtel announced entry in the Uganda’s Telecom market, MTN sent their then Marketing Manager, Isaac Nsereko, to India on a fact finding mission. His role was to undertake a competitiveness analysis on Airtel – especially their unique way of doing business and how the market appreciated their products and services. Upon his return, MTN convened a meeting with all distributors at the former Ranch on the lake Hotel to discuss strategies for handling the new entrant.

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Emerging from the muddled Celtel brand, Airtel continues to dream big with long-term vision of being a market leader in at least one East African country. With Safaricom in free rise in Kenya, their best bet would be Uganda. The question is: can Airtel really pull it off? 

Airtel’s acquisition of Warid in early 2013 was one such attempt to getting closer to the market leader’s MTN. Unfortunately, a series of bumps along the way in terms of changes in Airtel’s top leadership, poor execution of the Warid consolidation exercise, inconsistency in the implementation of the marketing and promotion strategy, and failure to leverage from Airtel money has failed the telecom to perform optimally.

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The ability to keep operating costs below the belt is critical to the success of financial institutions. The cost to income ratio is such critical measure in assessing profitability. Being a listed company, Stanbic is under pressure to perform. While Stanbic Bank remains the biggest bank, it is struggling with high opex (operating costs) which are eating into their profits. For example, cost to income ratio hit an all-time high 67% in 2010, 47.2% in 2011 and 40% in 2012.

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Crane bank has got into partnership with the European Investment Bank (EIB) to make accessibility for affordable credit for expansion available to the small and medium sized firms. Through this partnership, the EIB released Euros 28m (Shs 94bn) to Crane bank for onward lending to local businesses.

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Japheth Katto is the new Chairman of the Board of Stanbic Bank Uganda Limited. Mr. Katto is a consultant in corporate governance, capital markets, pensions and leadership development. He was until the end of 2013 the CEO of Capital Markets Authority (CMA) Uganda for 16 years.

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Fast growing British-American Investments Company (Britam), has brought majority shares in, Real Insurance with operations in Tanzania, Malawi and Mozambique for $15.74 million.

Britam has grown tremendously from a small home based service insurance company to the leading diversified financial services provider in the region, with an asset base of over Kshs 55 billion, as at June 30, 2014.

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In the words of John Robert Wooden, the famous former American basketball player and coach, “Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to stay there.” It certainly is not by mistake but by certain intricate design that Jubilee insurance has topped the insurance charts yet again.

The Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) has released results for the year 2013 showing higher-than-projected sector growth due to impressive economic growth and declining lending rates.

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The insurance sector saw great success in 2013 as more Ugandans began appreciating their need. Insurance premiums hit Ugx 435bn in the year 2013, a growth of 24% largely attributed to improved economic conditions with lower inflation and commercial bank interest rates.

The average lending rates declined to 22.7% at the end of September 2013 from highs of 27% in March 2012, boosting trade, investment and spending power during the year. The sector benefited from this growth.

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We all agree, the number one challenge of most small businesses is not the lack of capital. It is the lack of customers or market..

If your business lacks customers, it will suffer from a cash flow problem which is critical for survival. At the start, don’t be driven by profits. That should come as a natural expansion of business success. It does not matter how much loan capacity (capital) you have, if you don’t have customers, your capital will still not be enough. So, focus on revenue growth. Make more money and spend it on the critical business processes - customer acquisition, retention and relationship management. All other things will be great if you get the customer part of it right.

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We are now past the last month of the first half of the year. I guess majority of you reading this article have hardly ticked any of your 2012 resolutions. That basically indicates little change in your life.

Still having the same routine events, cash in-inflow, mode of transport, apartment you are renting and probably the list of debts has not changed to better. Taking an initia­tive to move forward in your life is never easy. You are unique. Avoid being comfortable in the state you are in, yet dream of a better life. To move ahead, you must let go of something. Here are ideas to move ahead. 

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Telecom giant MTN Uganda is set to award fully paid scholarships to twenty one student’s around the country. The announcement was made during the launch of the annual 21 days of Y’ello Care staff initiative.

The 21 days of Y’ello Care is an annual MTN staff volunteerism initiative in which employees across MTN’s international footprint take time off to physically get involved in activities that uplift communities around them through financial, physical and emotional contributions of staff and MTN as a corporate citizen.

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“Tack and diplomacy are all about skill and sensitivity in dealing with others, particularity with difficult people and tricky situations. Understanding other people emphasizing with the way they think and fee is essential to effective relationships,” said Olivia Kirtley, president of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) and a director of several public companies.

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Barbara Ofwono Buyondo, the proprietor of Victorious Schools is overall winner of MTN Women in Business SME CEO of the year 2015. The judges were impressed by her prepositions to grow her business from one small outfit to the current chain of Victorious schools.

Ms Barbara together with Lindsay Handler, the owner of Fenix International and Kainembabazi Sabiiti the Country manager of Amadeus Travel Company received  a work trip to South Africa to meet the biggest SME and learn from them, MTN office Wi-Fi for six months, $10,000 from the Y’ello Rose program, CUG activation and free subscription for six months, five MTN Fixed lines ,and one year hosting at Mutundwe data center from MTN Uganda.

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You are an entrepreneur and make your first million within the first eight months of operation.  After running your company for four years, you call it quit and seek a government job [not because business is bad]. You work for the government for one year and then you get back to your company and restart it. Within six years of your second attempt at business, your company is voted as the best managed mid-sized business in the country. This is Joanne Mwangi’s entrepreneurial story, the marketing genius fondly referred to as a lady who  ‘makes products move.’

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