ugandan milk – brought to you by just about everybody else


Dairy Corporation
WHILE scouring the internet for something different to do with the sale of Dairy Corporation by Sameer Agriculture and Livestock Limited to Brookside Dairy Limited, I kept brushing away that ka-irritating feeling until I fell upon this article:
That was the truth told straight up! Uganda’s leading dairy corporation was actually owned all along by a Kenyan.
But to be strict about the situation, Uganda’s leading dairy corporation (SALL – Sameer Agriculture & Livestock Limited) was actually owned by a joint venture between the Kenyan-owned Sameer Group and the Indian owned RJ Corporation.
Kenya’s Sameer Group is a large conglomerate with operations running across the region producing and selling, besides dairy products: tyres, internet access, tea, coffee, healthcare products, cars, real estate, and some other things I don’t know. Forbes figures that it’s owner, Naushad Merali, is worth US$550million.
RJ Corporation, meanwhile, is reportedly India’s largest bottler of Pepsi products, but says it is divided into three business segments – Beverage, Food and Education. Its owner, Ravi Jaipuria, was declared to be one of India’s newest billionaires in 2013, according to Forbes.
Whereas SALL was running this Uganda operation, my internet searches don’t actually call it Ugandan anywhere.
Push that thought aside as you consider that the Kenya-owned Brookside Dairy Corporation is part-owned – 40% of it – by the French Danone, and 10% of it by a Dubai-based private equity firm called Abraaj Capital.
So Dairy Corporation milk, cheese, butter and yoghurt, and Daima juices are going to be served to us by a French-Emirati-Kenyan joint venture, as opposed to a Kenyan-Indian one.
But that’s okay, provided that the milk and raw fruits that go into these products comes from Ugandan farmers growing rich off the proceeds.
Forgive me, though, as I continue to buy products that concentrate returns locally – like JESA and Megha, for instance, but that is not to say that I won’t continue drinking Daima juice or taking up the occasional Dairy Corporation products when my favourites are unavailable.
That aside, and more importantly: WHEN and HOW do WE get our tycoons to do such things rather than import clothing and build arcades?

that Boda-Boda Mentality you and I can’t seem to get rid of


Now that the Pioneer Bus Service is back on the roads of Kampala City, we could hope that a step is being taken in the direction of ridding Uganda of the business of boda-boda as a mode of transport, but that would be displaying naivety.
 
It has taken me a while but I am now finally resigned to the reality that the boda-boda will be part of our lives here for a long time to come, because of our general ‘Boda-Boda Mentality’.
 
You see, even reading this there will be some people arguing that boda-bodas are extremely necessary because without them we would be “incapable” of getting around – especially because of the manner in which our roads and residential areas are laid out. Plus, the arguments will go, if we got rid of boda-bodas there would be an “employment crisis” in this country!#BodaBodasBeLike - 1
 
I call that the ‘Boda-Boda Mentality’ because it is a mindset that is characteristic of boda-boda operations themselves.
 
The reasons boda-bodas took over in the first place were: 1. the public transportation system of taxis was disorganised, uncomfortable and so haphazard that you never knew how long a trip would take you if you boarded a taxi to anywhere, since they would jerk to a stop every two seconds or so; 2. Most of our residences are embedded in places that have awkward access roads that make the walk from the house to the nearest ’stage’ uncomfortable, ungainly and downright risky; 3. It’s really the fastest way to get from one point to another without #BodaBodasBeLike - 2suffering a road rage heart attack due to impatient, mentally disorganised drivers and a traffic management system seemingly managed by people with large amounts of shares in the motor vehicle scrap industry.
 
Boda-bodas were therefore a compromise position that we arrived at to solve the problems above, and THAT itself is ‘Boda-Boda Mentality’ – taking a short term compromise position and allowing it to become a long-term response (not solution) to a major problem, rather than establishing the solution itself.
 
See, the poor taxi system should have been fixed by firmly establishing a proper timed service with designated stages; the lousy access roads to residences fixed by determined urban planning forcing everyone to respect road reserves and drainage systems; and traffic management by being professional at traffic management right from the point of issuing driving permits.#BodaBodasBeLike - 3
 
But because of a ‘Boda-Boda Mentality’, we can’t even invest sensibly in transport such as a bus system that runs on time and stops at pre-designated points in 2015, even though a country like Hungary built its underground train system in 1896.
 
For instance you and I, educated, well-heeled, knowledgeable elites though we may be, see an ‘opportunity’ in buying a boda-boda and monitoring proceeds from it over a six-month period till the ‘investment’ has ‘paid off’ and even given us ‘profits’ – even if they collectively account for the bulk of hospital admission cases due to accidents.
 
#BodaBodasBeLike - 4Whereas THAT is an investment opportunity by the very definition of the words, it is only so because of our ‘Boda-Boda Mentality’, otherwise we would have identified the bigger opportunity in pooling our money together to invest in an urban train or bus service.
 
In fact, were it not for the ‘Boda-Boda Mentality’, the educated elite of this country would have identified opportunities in the boda-boda transport industry such as helmets made in Uganda, or more comfortable boda-boda seats designed in Uganda out of Ugandan materials, and maybe even reflective aprons made out of local materials. But none of the tens of thousands of economists, engineers, designers and what not that we have churned out of universities in Kampala and elsewhere since 1922 have gotten to this point yet.
 
Boda-bodas even provide an opportunity for spare parts manufacturing if somebody stops to count the number of side mirrors they destroy when they whizz past our cars in our gridlocked traffic (do a snap survey and see for yourself the gravity of this particular problem).
 
We have a ‘Boda-Boda Mentality’ because we tend to think just like our relatives who operate those contraptions, whose operational mannerisms we should highlight at this point:
 
They tend to take shortcuts even going down the wrong side of the road into oncoming traffic – the same way many of us approach business, taking those short cuts that put everything at unnecessary risk, like condoning corruption, but for short-term gain and getting to the other end having left behind us hundreds of people jeering and cursing at us.#BodaBodasBeLike - 6
 
They don’t bother with helmets even when they have them, and ride with them placed on the handlebars – the way we don’t do the ordinarily necessary and sensible things available to us, like insurance, preventive medicine, or even having smoke detectors or fire extinguishers in our own homes!
 
In fact, many believe that no rules apply to them, and will gather in a mob to deal with anyone who even shouts an insult at one of their kind – exactly like some people do on social media platforms should you say anything they don’t agree with.
 
Plus, your regular boda-boda chap, like the special hire fellow, will only fuel up enough for their next trip or two – I dare you to step outside and check your fuel gauge or prove that you fuel up on a regular schedule. But besides that, our ‘Boda-Boda Mentality’ in this regard covers the way we are so unprepared for eventualities – including not having an umbrella on hand in the rainy season…
 
And until we see boda-boda riders graduating to buses with designated stages running on timed schedules, we are all just boda-boda riders masquerading as serious people.
#BodaBodasBeLike - 5

#ExposeAfricell #Expose @skaheru – racism, xenophobia and business sense


AfricellLogo
The #Africell saga erupted fully last week along with two other stories you may not realise are related:
ONE: Makerere University graduate David Ojok was reportedly lynched by a group of students who accused him of being a thief. The news reports say Ojok was at the university to collect money owed to him by a student who had taken to evading him and, on this occasion, was labelled ‘thief’ and killed by a frenzied mob.
May his soul rest in eternal peace.
TWO: Mobs of South Africans took to the streets in Durban, Johannesburg and other spots, and physically attacked and, in some cases killed, black foreigners of African origin. The attacks were incited by comments made by the inappropriately named Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini and other leaders. In some instances, businesses owned by these black foreigners were looted and their premises burnt to the ground.
There are enough links about this online without my having to copy and paste any.
Before I go any further, here are a couple of disclaimers:
1. This is NOT a defence of the corporate body Africell Uganda Limited, or of the actions of any of its employees. This is my personal blog under which I only write personal thoughts, observations and experiences as and when I want to, and not at the behest of anyone else.
2. This blog is NEVER paid for and has only recently began considering taking advertising as you can see from the placeholder ad being tested to the right of this page. None of my clients in my professional life is ever given access to this blog as a rule that they all respect.
3. I will not alter my writing style, thoughts and observations to suit anybody besides myself and my family, so anyone who takes offence at this post – and others – is free to do so, as regular.
4. Only two people ever review any (not all) of my posts before I upload them – both of them for the purpose of holding me back should I be too angry or rude. Their comments are taken only as comments and I am not bound to act upon them, but these two people are important enough to me for their consultation to matter. Nobody else ever gets the chance.
Now, for some definitions, but presented briefly and simply so that the simpler minds don’t go into quick slumber:
Mob Justice: is not just the act of beating a thief to death; it is justice at the hands of a mob of people, whose actions will be guided more by collective emotion, mob hysteria, compromised information and insufficient consideration. <—I have made this definition up myself, so it would be good for a professional to chip in some time.
I believe that one of the reasons Mob Justice is different from Justice in a court of law, for instance, is the manner in which justice is arrived at. Because there are normally two sides to every story, the courts accept both sides, give them a fair hearing presented by professionals, and have an independent, well-learned and sagacious person arrive at a decision – a Judgement.
Xenophobia: The dictionary I use defines this as an “intense or irrational dislike or fear of people from other countries.” On this continent, we normally hear this phrase applied to only the South Africans, but if we were more academic we could, perhaps, argue that the only reason some countries don’t talk about xenophobia is the arrangement of the country borders…
Racism: Again from my dictionary: “the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races. Prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.”
As I’ve said before even right here under this very blog, we ourselves accommodate and encourage racism, both by distinguishing other races as superior to ours, and by presenting our own race as inferior.
And as I’ve said before, we must fight it. We must change the way we think, behave, operate, live, so that nobody has reason to think we are inferior. But we also must fight back when people treat us as inferior.
But we must not cry wolf.
Neither must we not engage in hysterical mob justice.
Nor be xenophobic in our approach to ‘foreigners’, if we must address people in this manner.
(Idealistic? Yes – it makes sense to live life as a pursuit of ideals.)
According to the news reports, the person who led to David Ojok’s death allowed it happen in order to escape a personal financial obligation, but the repercussions brought in many more people who administered the killing. Ojok was reportedly a small entrepreneur or businessman, even at his early age, and his demise is unquestionably a loss to his family but also to the economy – occasioned by a selfish accusation acted upon by an unthinking mob.
And the more illustrative news reports from South Africa state that the xenophobic mobs ranted and accused the black African foreigners of taking their jobs, grabbing their opportunities, and occupying space that by rights should belong to South Africans.
The links between both these and the Africell story should be obvious, and I’ll only return to simplify them if you really, honestly need me to.
To use a phrase favoured by my daughter when she feels that a situation needs final clarification with everyone paying full attention: So, Let’s Review:
A few weeks ago the mobile phone company Africell Uganda laid off 59 members of staff as part of its restructuring of the company.
Read the story for yourselves, because this is not going to be about just that event (but read the story so that you have some background to this).
Along the way, the Africell team consulted me on the communications they were doing – as sometimes potential clients do, in order to avoid being misunderstood or misrepresented. As a result of that, I became privy to quite a lot of information that I cannot make public without permission, but the following is acceptable:
On the morning before the staff were laid off, the Africell Uganda Chief Operations Officer, Mohammed Ghaddar, sent an email to all staff of the organisation.
Later that day, though, an email was sent from the email address ‘disgruntledemployees256@yahoo.com’ to all staff of the company and some non-staff.
The email had nothing to do with Ghaddar’s communication that morning, since it hadn’t anticipated that Ghaddar would send his email.
The first point of contention the email listed was, “Racism and discrimination towards African employees. This is exhibited in defamatory, degrading insults verbally and through emails sent to Ugandan senior, junior and casual employees. For example, the Commercial Director has personally referred to some employees as monkeys and black African idiots which Ugandan employees deem disrespectful.”
I asked both Ghaddar and the Sales Director, Milad Khairallah what this racism charge was about, and had them both go through their emails to find the offensive ones. They obliged and couldn’t find any. I asked quite pointedly and seriously, as I normally do, whether there was any truth to this charge and what disrespect anyone might have conducted that could be labelled racist.
In one email I found that one official had referred to a supplier as an “idiot” (not directly at him) during a review of a conversation – something like, “the idiot said…”
Referring to someone as an Idiot is not racist; it may be rude and disrespectful, but it is not racist. In subsequent arguments last week, a number of people said it was wrong for a foreigner to call a Ugandan an idiot, and I laughed back and asked whether it was okay for a Ugandan to call a Ugandan an idiot, or a Ugandan to call a foreigner an idiot.
The vitriol and emotion thrown at the matter, though, involved many people angrily using much worse words about Africell and people who work there – including suppliers of services…such as Communications Consultancy services.
But back to the point, I began asking for information about this Racism as stated by disgrungtledemployees256@yahoo.com. Right there in the Africell corridors, a day before the 59 employees were terminated, I asked a number of people about it and they all expressed ignorance.
A couple of them told me privately later in the day, off the premises, that there was quite some tension because of the anxiety of change.
I know about this anxiety of change – which is why Africell contacted me.
I have seen this happen in many corporate environments, in Uganda and elsewhere. In fact, at one of the companies where I worked, there was a charge of racism in our Germany offices because of a change in structure that put a couple of British people at the helm of a company operating in Germany!
The tactic of calling out “Racism!” during these company restructuring processes is effective for raising publicity and anger, but weak in achieving much else.
In the case of Africell, right from when the twitter campaign #ExposeAfricell was started, by the twitter handle @GeeksUg, I have asked everyone – anyone – to please share the evidence of Racism.
So far, none has been shared. It has been easier to ‘leak’ an email sent by me to Africell’s HR Director than the one containing racist remarks…
Speaking of that email, and complaints that I have sold myself out to work for racism, it would be good to read the email and note:
1. I am providing consultancy services re: the restructuring and communicating the positives of the move, not Racism.
2. The advice I provide in that email is quite sound and sensible, even if I do say so myself.
3. In that email, I am pushing for positive communication, which is what I always do; never negative communication.
As usual, though, some of the commentators in this matter have not even read the text of that email, while others bravely announced that they were “reading between the lines”, which is the same as making up their own information!
I am getting used to the jaundice that comes with people refusing (not just failing) to simply read text in full to try to understand, let alone analyse, it.
A little analysis into the matter, for instance, would raise questions such as:
1. How come the accusations of racism are coming out now, after people are being fired? And if it’s because they are finally free to speak, why are they not doing so (yet – in case the evidence is sent while I am posting this), instead of this anonymous, non-presentation of the facts and evidence?
2. What exactly are the crucial numbers involved here? Telecommunication companies talk about ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) and only MTN Uganda declares profits in Uganda, so how badly was Orange Uganda doing? What were their ARPUs?
A quick google search will reveal this to anybody searching. Early in 2014 it was reported that the telecommunications ARPUs in Uganda were the lowest in the region.

 
The telecommunications business in Uganda has been difficult and there is more bad news coming, if this story about Uganda Telecom is anything to go by: http://news.ugo.co.ug/uganda-telecom-faces-closure/ 
3. Can the 59 Ugandan employees who were terminated really all get replaced by Lebanese? If so, how many Lebanese and what will they be earning, and does it make business sense to the owners of the company?
4. If the company says it needs to drop people in order to gun forward, what is the alternative that they haven’t considered?
5. What were the salaries of the 59 people who were let go, and how do they compare with others in the same job bracket in this sector – especially vis a vis the ARPUs mentioned in 2. above?
6. What was the performance of Orange Uganda Limited? Surely this information is available at the banks where Orange held accounts, and at the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC)? Was the company as unviable as we have occasionally heard it being said elsewhere?
The questions are many, and all end up back at a business decision taken by the new owners of a company that have taken on an entity that was going under but needed turning around through painful means.
It is an unfortunate step that companies have to take but one that is taken all the time – especially in mergers and acquisitions. That doesn’t make it easier for the people being laid off, and it doesn’t mean that the ones doing the lay-offs are devils either.
And it certainly doesn’t mean that the people or companies working for foreign-owned companies are ‘mafiosi’, as some chaps declared.
Of course, there are those people who are confusing Simon Kaheru their “friend” on social media, with Simon Kaheru the Consultant or Analyst with Media Analyst.
If the South African government contacted me right now for advice on how to get out of this quandary that has South Africans in general of appearing to be xenophobic, I MIGHT listen to them and offer advice.
But I would not take a meeting with that King Zwelithini, because he is quite clearly a mad man, as far as those remarks go.
I don’t think all South Africans are xenophobic, and I don’t think it is government policy for foreigners to be thrown out or discriminated against. But I do know that they have issues and seem to appear xenophobic even as a government, though I can’t indict them squarely – the same way we still deal with the United States even though all evidence says that blacks are still treated as inferior beings there.
You see, Simon Kaheru (@skaheru) your friend on social media does not jump about after any and every single cause that people express opinion on. With those that he does comment on, he normally tries to check the veracity of the information behind them before doing so…and the online record shows this quite clearly.
Luckily, I am not easily intimidated by trolls or taunts from people who don’t (or won’t) read, let alone analyse.
So I will continue to do what I do for a living – provide professional consultancy services in communications for corporate organisations, SMEs and individuals.
If that company collapsed today then that would put about 1,000 Ugandans out of work – on top of the 59. I would be a fool to wish for Africell to collapse – and those dropping their SIM cards in so-called protest at the 59 being unemployed are practically threatening the employment of the 1,000 or so currently employed at the company.
If companies such as Media Analyst, or Consultants such as myself, refuse to do work without rational reason, then we will go out of business and increase the numbers of the unemployed as well.
So for those who think I am a “Mafia” because I have been consulted by this company, use this:
Mafia
Some people might argue that since for a number of years now I have paid to this company well over Ushs500,000 a month (airtime and data services) to Orange and now Africell, it would be good to take paid work from them to provide professional services.
But those would be drowned out by the ones calling for my blood and saying that the correct thing would have been to refuse to do so.
And if I said that those are idiots, please don’t call me racist.
Plus, until I have something that shows me an individual is racist, I have nothing to go on to condemn them – the raw, personal negative emotion needs some fuel.

introducing…and BANISHING ‘Corplatitudes’ henceforth, due to reasons beyond our control


A GROUP of us have agreed to coin the term Corplatitudes to combine two elements of life in Uganda today that people such as myself have in recent years become irritatingly mired in.
‘Corplatitudes’ is made up of two words – ‘Corporate’ and ‘Platitudes’, but inside it there is a clever insertion of the word ‘Attitude’, which is a central issue here.
‘Corporate’ in the sense that we use it in Uganda, referring to seemingly well-employed individuals whose employment makes them dress, speak, and presumably think differently from people such as employees of the government, NGOs, small and medium enterprises, and other such places. The expected promise presented by ‘Corporates’ is one of seriousness, excellence, high business value, quality work delivery, and so on and so forth.
‘Platitudes’ are just that – those statements that have been used so often that they begin to mean absolutely nothing to both the speaker and listener.
Corplatitudes, therefore, should be obvious to all of us since we hear them all the time – especially those of us who deal with so-called ‘Corporates’ – which term encompasses almost anyone in any form of formal employment these days – from a customer or management perspective.
There are phrases such as ‘We apologise for the inconvenience caused’ and ‘Your call is being attended to’, which could fall in this category but don’t. An apology is an apology however insincere, and the fact that your call has been answered, albeit by a machine, could be interpreted as attention.
But Corplatitudes are mostly proferred in response to demands for work accountability. I hear them most when I ask a question such as, “What are you doing?”
And as of this week, I will not be accepting Nobody Got TimeCorplatitudes from anyone anymore.
The ones I am classifying as Corplatitudes and rejecting outright are those such as, “I am/ We are handling it (your issue).” I can’t explain how we began accepting this statement within our offices, but as I have told my colleagues in various places, “handling” doesn’t mean anything sensible to getting actual work done.
Even literally, your “handling” of a matter could keep it in limbo for years on end while it doesn’t actually get resolved. I have been foolish to turn away when told someone is handling something, and I will be foolish no more. Instead, I will demand to know EXACTLY what the person is doing SPECIFICALLY to solve the problem or deliver the required task at hand.
Handle that.
Then there is the delivery “by close of business”, which phrase is frequently used to manage one’s expectation of delivery of things like reports or actual work, and even has the official abbreviation COB.
“Close of business” is not a universal measure of time any more, even for banks! And whose close of business would that be – yours or mine?
Plus, does that mean you will dispatch whatever that is “by close of business” or I will have it in my possession “by COB”? And if I do get it just before COB, then am I really expected to close business for the day and let that report or work task sit on ice overnight or something?
And it is in this last point that one finds the real reason for the Corplatitude “COB” – they promise that knowing that you will most likely be leaving work or business in the hope that you will actually find the report or work task on your desk the next morning. The promise of “COB”, therefore, comes with an automatic buffer that stretches it to “opening of business the next day”. Meanwhile, you can start ‘handling’ it…
With me, that nonsense has ended. We will schedule things using universally accepted timelines and in a manner that allows me also to do work within working hours.
Then there is the classic “we are doing our best to” solve your problem, finish a work task given, find the cause of the fault and so on and so forth.
You are certainly NOT doing your best if the problem is NOT solved, the work task is NOT finished, and the cause of the problem is still NOT known! You are making a mockery of the definition of the word “best”, and that is the worst thing you could do to “best”.
The next rung lower of that wobbly ladder of non-delivery is “we are trying to” do something. As Nike says, “Just Do It!” That’s supposedly why you are employed in the position you are in – because you were tested and found competent to do the work assigned to you. I think.
“Trying” to do something is to admit that you are going about your job like it is guesswork. Pilots shouldn’t just try to fly planes; surgeons shouldn’t just try to conduct operations; soldiers shouldn’t just try to defend the country. DO YOUR JOB!
All these and more, which we will continue to identify with time, represent an attitude of complacency because some people believe that work must be seen to be done without necessarily being done, unlike that saying about justice.
Underlying these Corplatitudes is an attitude of laziness, irresponsibility and, I daresay, childishness – because it’s the corporate equivalent of, “I am sorry, teacher; the dog ate my homework” – the unintelligent version of this was the Abim District Administrator who told fellow adults a few weeks ago that termites had eaten his accountability the vouchers…
From today, I am offering everyone a one-month Corplatitude flushing period during which we should all identify and get rid of the damn things. After that, business and work in general should move faster, better and more sensibly, and “we will achieve economic growth”.
(Give yourself bonus points if you correctly identify the Corplatitude hidden in plain sight there.)

Diageo CEO Ivan Menezes in Uganda: his pearls of wisdom on day one here


Ivan Menezes, CEO of Diageo plc. - Photo by Simon Kaheru
Ivan Menezes, CEO of Diageo plc. – Photo by Simon Kaheru

The fact that the Global Chief Executive Officer of Diageo plc. is in Uganda should not be treated lightly by any measure, and I am duty-bound to share the following with you.

Ultimately, I have transcribed the comments he made on Friday at the residence of the British High Commissioner to Uganda, Alison Blackburne, who hosted a cocktail in his honour.

If you know protocol you will understand why she did this and how important he therefore is as an individual, even though he is not British by origin. You see, Diageo is a British company, and as the head of the company he is more or less entitled to that kind of near-royal, and state-like treatment.

Menezes was cornered to deliver ‘Words of Wisdom’ to those present, mostly top-notch Ugandan business leaders and influencers, besides those at work at the event in one way or another.

He did so quite neatly, and I won’t force you to take the lessons and thoughts I did; instead, read for yourself and take what you will, regardless of how big or small your own business enterprise (or employer) is:

Alternatively, you can catch the full recording here: https://soundcloud.com/simon-kaheru/speeches-at-ivan-menezes

It starts with the UK High Commissioner stating why Uganda is such a superb destination for tourism and investment, and Menezes himself declaring why he chose Uganda as a holiday destination, and ends just after the Minister of State for Industry, Dr. James Shinyabulo Mutende, begins his own set of remarks, but that was a result of a recording snafu.

***

Ivan Menezes:

I am thrilled to be here. This has been one of my dreams – to visit Uganda. I am delighted because I get here before my family, so I can brag that I got to Uganda before them!

A few words on Diageo and how we view East Africa and Uganda:

The future of our company is going to be determined to a huge extent by Africa. We are very privileged because we have an amazing history, tradition and business in this region. Within Africa, East Africa is a real jewel for us, and within East Africa, Uganda is an amazing market for us.

We’ve been here a long time. Bell Lager was introduced in 1950 and is an absolute jewel of a brand. It’s the market leader in the premium beer market. Another jewel, my personal favourite, is Uganda Waragi, UG, and we are celebrating 50 years of UG.

So when I think about our business here, we have an amazing tradition, long heritage, strong commitment to this beautiful country. We have been investing here substantially in the last few years and we will continue to invest.

Someone asked me in Singapore yesterday, ‘What is it that concerns or worries you?’

I have been in business 34-35 years, worked all over the world, seen all the ups and downs, seen companies and corporations, and economies develop and grow.

I think we are at a point in time in the world where business has a huge role to play in building its reputation around building for the long term, building a business in a sustainable way and being a force for good in society.

The days of just coming, making money satisfying your shareholders, and that’s what you are about, I am convinced, are over. You will get no trust, no respect, and you will be out of business if your model is all about just making money

And at Diageo I am proud we passionately believe that, ‘Yes! We have got to perform and do well’, but we have to earn trust and respect from communities and stakeholders at large where we operate.

I can use what we are doing in Uganda to bring this to life. I take a lot of inspiration from the direction we are setting in a market like this.
The starting point is that it’s really important to have good values and codes of conduct in organisations. In today’s world there are so many pressures and so many places you can take short cuts.

But I am proud that the culture we building across the company – we have about 36,000 people around the world – is that ‘Do business the right way, there is no right way to do a wrong thing.’

It doesn’t matter if you can’t get your business done because we will be around, just like Bell has been around for 65 years; Johnnie Walker has been around since 1820. We have faced revolutions, we have faced famines, we have faced World Wars, and we are still around.

That’s what I say to my colleagues in the business: ‘Always do things the right way; never feel under short-term pressure to cut corners. Live your values.’

There are four or five things I am proud of our team at Uganda for. It is not about our business performance which is strong and continues to grow.

The first is the impact we can and will have on having alcohol play a more positive role in society, and indeed reducing the harm that alcohol plays in society. Underage drinking and drink driving are real in Uganda.

People ask me, ‘Can you have a successful business and reduce misuse of alcohol?’ And the answer for me is that there is no trade-off. We are here to build a sustainable business; we are a strong company with good talent. We can be a force for having alcohol play a responsible, positive role in society through some of the programmes Nyimpini (Mabunda – Uganda Breweries Managing Director) and team are doing around drink driving and underage drinking.

We have got to stop underage drinking; i know we can’t eliminate it but we have to play a force to really reduce it. Responsible drinking is really an important element for me.

The other component is what are doing around local sourcing of raw materials. It wasn’t too long ago we had been importing most of our cereals and grain; now 70% of our cereal requirements come through small farmers here in Uganda.

We are working with 17,000 farmers in Uganda.

From grain to bottle we want to build value chains that will enrich local communities!

If you asked me five or ten years ago could I ever see this happen, I would have probably say I couldn’t imagine we would have gotten this far. Today, 70% of our needs come through local materials.

We have a programme called Water of Life in Africa, which is all about providing drinking water to communities and people who don’t have clean water.

Nyimpini and the team here last year did well. ONE MILLION Ugandans got access to water because of the work that our team did here, in one year!

I was astounded!

On average every year we have been doing about 400,000 people a year but last year we did a million in Uganda These water programmes are essential but are just an example of how business in the future needs to build sustainability.

We are in the top five of the tax contributors and I hope we can get back to the top three or two but we have other industries ahead of us.
When I look at the contribution we make to the exchequer and indirectly to the economy – we employ over 300 directly at the brewery and about 500 total employees, but the multiplicative effect of this employment is far, far greater.

The final thing I would say is that we really want to be one of the star employers in Uganda. A company that grows talent, exports talent, provides a great place to work, provides an opportunity to learn, builds skills, provides good economic support to individuals and talent in this country.

We have had great success in exporting wonderful people in this country to other parts of Diageo and I hope we can continue to make Uganda a great source of talent for the company.

I don’t know how wise this wisdom is but we are a lot more than selling beer and making profits; that stuff is boring, quite frankly. It is!
Because I think our impact needs to be much bigger because I always say that the only job I have is to come in and make a brand like this greater when I leave

The only way that happens is if you truly build a sustainable businesses and your contribution goes much beyond the economic value you create for your shareholders; it’s about how you do that sustainably.

That’s my ‘pearl of wisdom’ in the pearl of Africa!