Uganda: Bank of India Returns to Uganda

Kampala — Bank of India Uganda Limited has re-opened in Uganda bringing to 25 the number of commercial banks operating in Uganda's growing market. The bank, which boasts of a portfolio of about Ushs 266 trillion ($110b) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bank of India with headquarters in India.

Launching the bank in Kampala recently The Global Chairman and MD Bank of India Mr. Alok Misra said their target is both Ugandan and Indian expatriates.

"Both India and Uganda stress development of agriculture and SME which require a strong institution to extend the services to such a population and the unbanked," Misra explained.

The bank was first launched in Uganda in 1953 but had to close cogently closed with the expulsion of Indians in 1972.

Early this year, Bank of Uganda commissioned Bank of India with an operational license, a move likely to tighten competition in the country's banking sector.

BOI Local Chairman Pater Kabatsi said the bank will reach out to the large unbanked population through its target to SME's as the engine of growth.

"Our focus is to expand the capacity of SME's to widen their competitive advantage," Kabatsi explained.

Uganda's economic growth has fallen to 3.2% its lowest in the last 20 years amid high inflation, currency depreciation and high interest rates among others.

Minister of finance, Planning and Economic Development Maria Kiwanuka urged the bank proprietors to focus on expanding the export base of business to spark development.

"Bank of India should consider the unbanked population and introduce innovative services so as to extend the services to far areas," Kiwanuka explained.

BOI was established in 1906 and has over 56 million customers with 4,000 domestic branches. The bank is present in Africa through its offices in Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa.

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