Kampala, Uganda | A report by estate agent Knight Frank indicates that 494 Ugandans each own wealth worth at least $500,000 (1.8bn Uganda shillings).
The index shows the minimum threshold. This means that of the 494 individuals, there are those that own wealth in the excess of USD1m (Shs 3.7bn).
The 2020 report presented at Sheraton hotel on Thursday evening before a select club of Kampala’s high net worth individuals – mostly propertied fellows – raised eyebrows with a feeling in the room that that number should have been a little higher.
The editor of the report Andrew Shirley said access to data in Africa is still a challenge – which renders room that the estimated number could be more or less.
Also, Ugandans tend to be secretive with much of their wealth placed in the names of immediate family members as a safe bet.
If anything, in a country where per capita income (each Ugandan’s earnings per year) is just $800 (Shs 2.9m), the report shows the concentration of wealth in the few individuals compounding the issue of inequality.
Someone who earns $800 a year needs to save everything they earn for 625 years to reach the level of wealthiest Ugandans. Yet Uganda’s rank comes a distance below neighbours Kenya and Tanzania – both countries have bigger economies.
For instance, Tanzania has 12,254 individuals whose wealth is at least $500,000. Kenya’s total up to 9,600 individuals with that amount.
Still in Kenya, at least 42 people are worth $30m (110bn Uganda shillings) each.
On the continent, South Africa leads the pack with the wealthiest individuals. Johannesburg, Cairo, Cape Town, Lagos, and Nairobi are the wealthiest cities leading in appeal as a place to invest, live and spend time.
Most of the rich made their money in equities (investments in shares of companies) and residential property, the report says.
The report shows in the next five years, Ugandans with $500,000 in wealth will grow by 24%, higher than Kenya (16%) but below Tanzania’s 44%. Oil and gas will play a big part in this growth for Uganda.
The select attendees were also presented with investment opportunities and how their property investments are faring. Knight Frank showed that return on prime residential property in Uganda was still highest in the region.
Judy Rugasira, the executive director for Uganda, said the alternative high potential asset classes in the country attracting the attention of investors are healthcare, education, and agriculture. Growing population and middle class will drive up demand for these assets.