New Vision (Kampala)

Uganda: U.S. Millionaire Tells Youth to Exploit Nation's Gifts

Kampala — American billionaire Robert Shemin on Tuesday gave a rousing presentation on investments, wealth creation, real estate investments to about 600 students and scores of other small and medium sized investors, urging them to take action and use the abundant resources.

He drew a thunderous ovation when he called on the young people to turn the often challenging environment - that includes broken infrastructure and little government support - into opportunities by providing these same services.

"Look at the no roads, low electricity and find ways of fixing this and you will make money," he said at the Kampala Serena Hotel.

He said the country has two faces - the challenging one with yet to be fixed infrastructure but also a tremendous opportunity in the young people [market], tourism, agriculture, technology which can create millionaires and a wealthy country.

"Real success begins with the demographics, America is ageing, Europe is ageing and growth is down, but you have young people here.

"You may say the opportunities are few but that is not the case, nobody is going to do it for you," said Shemin.

On his observation of the country's entrepreneurs in the few days he has been in the country, Shemin said: "I think they are scared a little but are fired, they just need some pushing, they are ready to change things."

An accomplished businessman and real estate dealer, Shemin's seminars are largely based on his real life experiences backed by the everyday transactions he conducts round the world.

He is set to return in June 2013 to follow up on his commitment of building a Wealth Academy to help prop up the country's emerging but often unsupported entrepreneurial class.

He advised young people not to surrender their financial destinies in anybody's hands but start investing early and seeking the right partners.

Responding to the possible bubble in the local real estate market that some observers say is so speculative and will burst because of over pricing, he urged real estate agents who formed the core of the Tuesday afternoon session not to "speculate but invest", as well as "keenly monitor the market they are in",

Local businessman Patrick Bitature hailed the American for his commitment to come in Uganda. He also thanked the local young enthusiasts for showing up and picking interest in business and entrepreneurial skills.

"Now is the time to take responsibility. For long we have ignored business," said Bitature.

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