When you ask most Ugandans about famous names of successful businessmen in Kampala, one name will fetch you many mentions. The name and the man himself is Hamis Kiggundu, one of Uganda’s youngest billionaires.
Born in February 1984 to Mr. Haruna Segawa and Mrs. Nakayiza Jalia Segawa in Kalungu, Masaka, Kiggundu popularly known as Ham started business in his early 20s after being given a start-up capital by his father. It was from this small start that Hamis Kiggundu multiplied to create the business empire he owns today employing thousands of people.
He started retailing garments, furniture and ladies’ accessories with the small capital he was given as early as 2005 at the age of 21 when he was still a student.
The retail business yielded him good returns and he later started importing goods for himself from China, Hong Kong and Dubai which transformed his business into wholesale trade. His business started supplying different goods across borders to the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania and South Sudan.
When he graduated from Makerere University with a Bachelor of Laws Degree, Ham concentrated on his young but promising business. As his business continued to flourish, he upgraded and started investing in Real Estate.
His first signature real estate building is the famous Ham Towers Opposite Makerere University Main Gate which houses numerous offices of budding companies, Supermarkets, Restaurants and Apartments for rich urban dwellers.
He later established the Ham Shopping Mall in the City Centre which houses his flourishing wholesale business dealing in garments and other accessories. It has since grown into a commercial building hub with many renting units for shops, supermarkets, restaurants and offices in the heart of Kampala City.
In 2017, Ham got a multi-billion deal to redevelop Nakivubo War Memorial Stadium. The Stadium is being redeveloped into a world-class standard sports facility with ample parking space, modern restaurants, shops and other in-built facilities. It is projected to have a seating capacity of 35,000 people, it’s in the final stages of completion which will make it preferably Uganda’s best stadium with modern facilities by International standards.
Recently, Ham brought all his companies under one umbrella company known as Ham Group of Companies International.
Recently, Ham Enterprises Uganda Limited started an ambitious project of constructing more than 500 residential houses for affluent rich Ugandans and foreigners to live in a secure, luxurious and comfortable residential village with unmatched facilities known as Ham Palm Villas. This project is located along Entebbe Road and currently, the fully furnished apartments are up for sale.
Ham also has plans of investing in Agriculture, especially in the section of Afro-processing. He believes Uganda must leverage on its strong domestic agriculture to spur economic growth. This project is aimed to promote import substitution where Uganda can add value to its local agricultural products before they are exported.
Ham has other investments in the United Kingdom, USA and Canada.
Despite his great strides in business, he has met obstacles along the journey. The most recent and most publicized is his standoff with his Bankers, Diamond Trust Bank (DTB).
The relationship between him and Diamond Trust Bank (DTB) went bad when he realized that there were a number of authorized debits from his accounts which amounted to a sum of 100 billion Uganda Shillings over a period of 10 years. On approaching DTB for harmonization on the issue, DTB never heeded it and he ran to court to seek redress. The Court ruled in favour of Ham and instructed DTB to pay Ham all his monies.
Diamond Trust Bank (DTB) and Uganda Bankers Association (UBA) teamed up and expressed their dissatisfaction through a court appeal. This resulted in a big debate within the banking sector and the business class in Uganda.
Since then Ham has been equivocal in explaining how commercial banks exploit Ugandans and sometimes deter their success in business. He remains one of the most charismatic businessmen whose vision is to see Uganda’s economy grow to prosperity.