Uganda’s attorney-general, William Byaruhanga, was this week appointed to the board of Nairobi-listed Centum, in a move the investment company says is in line with its transition from “a national to a continental company.”
Byaruhanga was appointed alongside former African Development Bank president, Donald Kaberuka; AIG Kenya managing director, Catherine Igathe; and chief executive at Haulders Kenya Limited, Mary Githiaka Ngige.
The appointments of Byaruhanga and Kaberuka – a Rwandan national – come as the investment holding company is evolving from owning minority stakes in other companies to becoming a developer of investment grade assets in eight specific sectors.
It is also seeking to expand its marketable securities portfolio (which, as of March 2016, had interests in eight countries, including the Uganda and Kenya stock exchanges) – to three African countries, one of which is Rwanda.
One of Centum’s eight priority sectors is real estate, with the group’s aim being the development of investment-grade urban projects across East Africa. It is developing a waterfront project in Entebbe, Pearl Marina, “combining residential, commercial, educational, medical and recreational facilities on 389 acres.” The first phase of the project, which sits on 43 acres, will be completed and put on sale this year, the company says.
Other Centum subsidiaries and associates operating in Uganda are Platinum Credit Limited and Premier Credit Limited, GenAfrica Investment Management Limited, Kenya Wine Agencies Holdings Limited, Nabo Capital Limited, and Longhorn Publishers. Majority of the group’s assets are located in Kenya (91%), though, while 13% are in the wider East African, and 1% is outside East Africa.
Centum is one of the eight Kenyan companies cross-listed on the Uganda Securities Exchange.
William Byaruhanga was a surprise appointment to the Cabinet as attorney-general in June, having had no prior involvement in elective politics. He is a former partner in Kasirye, Byaruhanga, and Company Advocates, a Kampala law firm, where he specialised in investment and corporate finance law.