KAMPALA — As Makerere University gears up for celebrations to mark 100 years of existence in the second half of 2022, a team from Stanbic Bank Uganda (SBU) led by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ms. Anne Juuko on Monday 12th April, 2021 held discussions with a special session of Central Management on how to deepen collaboration. Chaired by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, the session specifically provided a platform for Stanbic to showcase the non-banking services that Makerere can take advantage of in the quest to become a research-led university.
The special session was prompted by a prior engagements between the Acting (Ag.) Deputy Vice Chancellor (Finance and Administration)-DVCFA, Dr. Josephine Nabukenya and Ms. Juuko, wherein the latter expressed SBU’s interest in partnering with Makerere to deliver her ten year strategic objectives. The Vision for the ten year (2020-2030) strategic plan is “a thought leader of knowledge generation for societal transformation and development”.
“Makerere University’s first strategic goal to translate into a research-led university requires a lot of thinking through on how the different services can be rehabilitated into frameworks that support our vision” remarked Dr. Nabukenya.
The Ag. DVCFA was speaking in reference to the research and innovations ecosystem that needs to be created to ensure that Makerere’s research will over the next 10 years have demonstrable economic, environmental, health and social impacts.
The Vice Chancellor thanked the Ag. DVCFA for initiating the discussions with SBU, noting that this was timely and would help take advantage of the huge potential that the University has to offer. “Thanks to funding from the Government of Uganda through the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF) we now have hundreds of innovations produced by the various research teams.”
“Our biggest problem at present is the lack of funds to commercialise these innovations. Uganda has no venture capitalists but I believe that with the resources that you (SBU) have, we can work together to help support these innovators” remarked Prof. Nawangwe.
Prior to making her presentation the CEO thanked Makerere University for the supporting SBU’s business thus far, as well as the ensuring that the two partners enjoy a quality relationship with each successive Management team. “We take extra pride when it comes to working with Makerere University,” she added.
Ms. Juuko said the reorganisation of SBU in 2018 to include a holding company (Stanbic Holdings Uganda Limited-SHUL) had enabled the entity to enhance the value of products and services offered to its customers. In addition to SBU, other SHUL subsidiaries; Stanbic Properties Uganda Limited, Stanbic Business Incubator Limited, FlyHub and SBG Securities. These, she noted, enable Stanbic to offer a broader range of services to staff and students beyond banking.
Reflecting on the signing of the Final Investment Decision (FID) on 11th April 2021, the CEO shared that SBU in line with its support for responsible investment through assessing and managing environmental, social and governance risks would take keen interest in oil production. “One of the hottest topics is that oil mining is going to take place in one of the most ecologically sensitive zones. How can we partner with Makerere to ensure that this is conducted in a sustainable way?” she pondered.
The CEO also brought to the attention of Central Management that SBU had in 2020 partnered with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to launch the Youth4Business Innovation and Entrepreneurial Facility as an answer to youth unemployment. As a way forward, she added that Makerere would be brought on board to form a three-way conversation on how best to achieve the facility’s objectives, especially following disruptions to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) operations caused by COVID-19.
Other topics covered by the SBU presentation included; supporting the Makerere University Staff SACCO to grow their funds, Financial Fitness sessions for staff on how best to invest and grow their earnings, and a laptop loan scheme for staff and students where payments can be made over a period of two to three years. Also shared was how SBU is using data to reduce loan approval for customers to 120seconds as well as introducing alternative systems for making payments and receiving collections such as point of sale devices and virtual wallets tagged to customer phone numbers.
In some of the reactions that followed, the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs)-DVCAA Dr. Umar Kakumba thanked SBU for reaching out to Makerere and advocated for increased internship placements for students in the SHUL subsidiaries. He also called for collaboration at the training level.
“The staff at the College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS) have in the past conducted financial literacy training for various organisations and are ready to partner with Stanbic as they reach out to various communities in their educational programmes,” added Dr. Kakumba.
Delivering the concluding remarks, the Vice Chancellor thanked the Ag. DVCFA for initiating discussions with SBU as well as the CEO and her team for sparing time to meet with Central Management. “Together, Makerere as the premier and largest University and Stanbic as the largest bank operating in Uganda can do a lot to transform this country.”
The parties agreed to formalise the collaboration by signing Memorandum of Understanding at a later date.