Eve Mbasabye

Eve Mbasabye

Children’s Climate Conference To Discuss Plastic Pollution, Restoration Of Wetlands

This year’s International Children’s Climate Change Conference will look at curbing pollution of the environment using plastic wastes, restoring of wetland and planning for and protection of the environment for future use.

Joseph Masembe, the chief executive office of the Uganda’s Little Hands Go Green, the NGO organizing the meeting says the theme ‘End Plastic pollution, Restore Nature – protect the future’ is timely and comes at a time when stakeholders are trying to enforce some of the country’s laws to safeguard the environment.

The annual climate conference which brings together hundreds of pupils from different schools in Uganda, Rwanda and beyond will take place on Friday 20th April, 2018 at Ntinda School of the Deaf. Masembe said the move to go to the school of the deaf is to inspire them to reach their full potential.

“Being deaf does not mean one is defeated. These children from Ntinda School of the Deaf are some of the brightest conservation soldiers I have ever met. It is therefore my duty as an able bodied human being to inspire all including the deaf and hard of hearing children to reach their full potential,”

“Environmental Conservation is a job for all of us. We will therefore join our hosts from the Ntinda School of the Deaf as we seek for solutions to End Plastic pollution, Restore Nature and provide hope for a Greener future.”

Kabira Country Club Lines Up Easter Carnival

The long awaited Easter weekend is here and you have a chance to make it memorable this year round. Kabira Country Club will on East Sunday stage a fulfilled Easter Carnival also known as the Kabira Easter market.

Vismay Maniyar, the general manager of Kabira Country Club said the carnival comes with incredible offers on delicatessen, artisan market with over 100 vendors, Entertainment with a live band.

“Let's make your Easter weekend a memory, join us for one in a life time Easter Sunday Market dubbed - The Easter Carnival. Don't miss out.”

“We have plenty of Kids’ activities lined up including face painting, egg painting, egg treasure hunt, full access to the playground fitted jumping castles, swings and more games.”

Whether your stay is for business or pleasure, Kabira Country Club has all you could possibly need in a modern, comfortable hotel, situated in a wonderful location.

Kabira is known to have East Africa’s most prestigious and well equipped, health, fitness and leisure club. We also stage many events, corporate and social, and a highly acclaimed conference venue, offering exceptional state-of-the-art conference facilities.

With 95 luxurious guest-rooms and exceptional amenities, Kabira Country Club is perfect for a relaxing get away and somewhere to hold a special event, or an impressive venue for a business gathering.

Delhi Public School Celebrates Champaran Satyagraha Movement Milestone

Delhi Public School International Kampala and the Indian high commission in Uganda on Friday marked 100 years of Champaran Satyagraha movement at the school campus in Naguru.

Champaran Satyagraha was the first disobedience movement against British rule in India in 1917 in the Champaran district of Bihar. While Champaran is a name of a place Satyagraha means "insistence on truth".

Under the British rule, many farmers in the Champaran district of Bihar were forced to grow indigo in their lands, much to their dismay. To fight this, a money lender named Raj Kumar Shukla reached out to Mahatma Gandhi and requested him to come and help them.

Ghandhi came to Champaran on April 10 of 1917 with a band of lawyers. Gandhi and his lawyers travelled across the district to different villages, meeting farmers and taking note of their sufferings and complaints against the forced indigo cultivation giving birth to the movement that participated in India push for independence.

Delhi Public School International, owned by Ruparelia Group and only school in Uganda offering India’s CBSE curriculum regularly participates in Indian cultural festivities.

The school’s mission is to foster the all-round development of children by facilitating their learning in an exciting, inspiring, challenging and innovative environment.

How Sudhir Kick Started Uganda’s Financial Sector

In the mid 1980s not many people would risk to come to Kampala with their hard earned savings to invest in an economy which had failed for decades. The ruins left behind by years of political and economic turmoil were a deterrent to would be investors.

Yet one man dared to risk. Even having suffered at the hands of President Idi Amin, when the dictator expelled Ugandans of Asian origin, a youthful Sudhir Ruparelia, born in Kasese, western Uganda, and raised in parts of Jinja and Kampala, returned from exile to establish businesses.

The year was 1985, armed with a paltry US$25,000 earned from several casual jobs including working in supermarkets, factories, and butcheries in London, Sudhir Ruparelia made a decision to return home; a decision that would later make him one of the greatest entrepreneurs in Africa.    

Then, the country was healing from a five year guerilla war that had just ushered in President Yoweri Museveni’s regime. The economy was bleeding, no infrastructure, broken systems, no trade – it was chaotic, one could barely see an opportunity. The risk was too heavy to shoulder.

Sudhir Ruparelia’s stint as a beer dealer paved way for what would become a turnaround for not only the young audacious businessman but the Ugandan economy at large. Because the beer trade was largely transacted in foreign currency, Sudhir Ruparelia saw a life changing opportunity – trading in currencies.

Entering forex bureau business

A decision by government was made to ban importation of beer. This momentarily put the youthful businessman out of business however the misfortune of banning importation of beer drove him to start trading in currencies. This gave birth to Crane Forex Bureau, the first in Uganda and the first of his many financial business ventures.

Crane Forex Bureau was a success – making the businessman adorable profits. He would later add on a commercial bank and other forex bureaus. In a 2012 interview with Forbes Magazine, Sudhir Ruparelia claimed that the two forex bureaus he owned at the time made a daily profit of $45,000.

Crane Bank Is Born

As the Museveni government retrieved the country from its ruins, Sudhir Ruparelia was in tow. He was succeeding as a businessman. The success of the forex bureau gave birth to the first privately owned commercial bank – Crane Bank – in 1995.

The idea of Crane bank was actually born in 1993 by Dr Sudhir Ruparelia and his wife Jyotsna Ruparelia, who at the time were running a forex bureau.

Former Crane Bank Managing Director Mr. P K Gupta in a previous interview said Uganda then needed a customer friendly bank that understood business and catered for the needs of the people. And from the time it opened its doors on 21st of August 1995 Crane Bank never looked back. It continued to grow its footprint.

According to online sources like Wikipedia, as of 31 December 2015, Crane Bank's assets were Shs1.81 trillion, with shareholders' equity of Shs28 billion. The commercial bank was estimated to have 750, 000 customers as of October 2015.

Crane Bank under the stewardship of Sudhir Ruparelia was part off and facilitated Uganda’s economic transformation, by offering financial services like loans and saving facilities. The bank grew together with its clients and transformed private enterprises.

From one branch (main branch) in 1995, through funding its self by ploughing back its profits, Crane bank grew its branch network to a total of 46 branches and 100 ATMs Country wide until 2016 when it was put under receivership by Bank of Uganda.

Sudhir Ruparelia took Crane Bank to Rwanda, establishing the first branch on 30 January 2014 in the capital Kigali – Sudhir Ruparelia established Crane Bank Rwanda Limited. He talked of takng Crane Bank to South Sudan and DR Congo

In September 2012, Crane Bank acquired the assets and some of the liabilities of the National Bank of Commerce, giving Sudhir Ruparelia extended dominance in the country's financial sector. Crane Bank was getting bigger and better. Sudhir Ruparelia was even considering listing the bank on the local stock exchange.

End of an era

All was going well until Bank of Uganda came calling. Apparently Sudhir Ruparelia had plunged his baby – Crane Bank – into deep debt. It is said Crane Bank had fallen from a profit making bank to one which could barely sustain its operations. Its asset base had plummeted too and lost value.

Bank of Uganda advised Sudhir Ruparelia and other shareholders – the board – of Crane Bank to recapitlise through acquisition of other investors. It was a tough call. It didn’t happen and the central bank cracked the whip. It took over the operations of the commercial bank before eventually selling it and its assets to dfcu in 2017.

The highly publicized takeover of Crane Bank by Bank of Uganda brought an adventurous journey to a crashing halt. Monies and jobs were lost. There was panic in the country’s banking sector, local and foreign investors lost trust in the economy.

The crane bank scandal didn’t spare the forex business as the laws of the land bars Sudhir Ruparelia to run a financial business going by what happened at crane bank.

Ongoing Legal battles

Sudhir Ruparelia was not about to go down easily as both sides – Bank of Uganda and Sudhir Ruparelia – sought legal redress in the courts of law. Bank of Uganda sued Sudhir Ruparelia accusing him of fraud and causing huge financial losses to his own bank, the businessman said he was being maliced and targeted by mafias.

The past year has been a busy one for both parties in the courtroom. Many issues continue to be raised and argued. Whichever way these legal battles end, one sure thing will remain – Sudhir Ruparelia’s contribution to the economy.


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