Unveiling BMK, Hotel Africana Tycoon

Dr. Bulaim  Muwanga Kibirige (Photos by Stuart Yiga)
Dr. Bulaim Muwanga Kibirige (Photos by Stuart Yiga)

When it comes to transforming the transport sector in East Africa, especially countries like; Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Zambia especially from bicycle to motor cycle business (Boda boda), his name needs no introduction.

On developing Hotel and tourism, sponsoring social, religious activities and helping the needy, still his name comes on top. He is none other than, Dr. Bulaim Muwanga Kibirige alias BMK, the chairperson of the Uganda Sickle Cell Association in Uganda.

WHO IS BMK

Tycoon BMK was born in 1953, in Masaka District. At the age of 14, he had started working with his father in Masaka Town, dealing in merchandise and working at his hotel which he built in 1943.

Dr. Bulaim Muwanga Kibirige at a recent function  (Photos by Stuart Yiga)
Dr. Bulaim Muwanga Kibirige at a recent function (Photos by Stuart Yiga)

The tycoon made his first step in Uganda’s capital (Kampala) in 1972 and being an innovative, creative and intelligent youth, a year later, he started trading in merchandise from Kenya, bringing them to Uganda.

The business thrived on well and with the little profits he had gained, in 1976, the promising tycoon at the time continued to prove his business ambitions when he crossed the East African Borders and started trading with Hong Kong and Bangkok, respectively,  dealing in garments and electrical appliances. In the 1980’s, he became one of the leading garment dealers in Kenya.

Because his dream was to engage in a business that could earn him more profits, and also become one of the prominent tycoons in the Region dealing in several merchandise, in 1982, besides dealing in  garment business, he joined the business of  second hand vehicles, trading them from Japan.

“It was a jungle by the time I got this land where I built Hotel Africana but now the hotel has become a pride not only to me as an indigenous Ugandan, but also to all my fellow countrymen,” said BMK.

He came into the limelight as one of the biggest investors in the region in 1986. This was after he had formed up the famous BMK Uganda Limited, a company which deals in used cars and their accessories from Japan (Transport business).

Furthermore, in 1987, his business acumen continued to rise as he became the first Ugandan to deal in used bicycles’ business, trading them from Japan. Because he was born naturally shrewd, the tycoon later started importing in motor cycles (Bodaboda). These have since helped to transform the transport sector both in rural and urban areas within Uganda. The business has since spread to all the neighboring countries, and has also become one of the most fruitful employment opportunities especially to the youths in addition to easing transport.

Hotel Africana in the Ugandan capital Kampala
Hotel Africana in the Ugandan capital Kampala

In a bid to emulate his father’s hotel business and keep the tradition within the family, in 1987, the tycoon acquired land where he built the famous hotel Africana, located along Wampewo Avenue in Kampala Business District.

“It was a jungle by the time I got this land where I built Hotel Africana but now the hotel has become a pride not only to me as an indigenous Ugandan, but also to all my fellow countrymen,” said BMK.

As a man who believes in business expansion, in 1992, he set up BMK Tanzania opened MBK Kenya in 1994 before establishing BMK Zambia two years later. Rwanda became the latest African country to partake of the BMK business franchise when the tycoon set up BMK Rwanda in 2004.

BMK BUSINESS

Under BMK Group, the tycoon deals Motor Vehicles and their accessories, Heavy earth moving and lifting machinery. He has also invested in Schools, Hospitals, Real estate development and Commercial forestry.

“I would like to encourage parents to bring their children together and teach them the art of small businesses the same way my parents did to me. Creating job opportunities is far better than seeking for them. This is the reason I am working with my family alongside other employees (about 1000) whom I employ both directly and indirectly,” the tycoon emphasized.

OTHER ROLES

Recently, BMK became one of the eminent personalities in Uganda who were conferred with honorary Doctorate of Philosophy in Humanities in the College of Christian Education Department at the United Graduate College and Seminary International at Kampala-Serena Hotel.

As the chairperson of the Uganda Sickle Cell Association, his role has been to sensitize the public about the disease, look for medicine and educate the public on how to handle sicklers. Besides, he has also worked on the Presidential Investments Round Table on Tourism, and is one of the founders of the Uganda Hotel Owners Association and was Chairman for ten years.

The Doctorate award Degree which Tycoon BMK scooped recently
The Doctorate award Degree which Tycoon BMK scooped recently

Basing on his uniqueness and contribution to the development of Uganda and other neighboring countries, the Kwagalana city tycoon has been appreciated with many awards, locally and internationally. He owns a number of commercial buildings in Kampala and its suburbs, Forex Bureaus, among others. Research shows that he is worth $20 m (Shs.40b).

 

BY STUART YIGA

One thought on “Unveiling BMK, Hotel Africana Tycoon”

  1. I think it’s more like $200m. Kudos to him- this is a self made man who has worked hard for his money.

Comments are closed.