The GDP of Uganda as a country is about $33 billion according to multiple sources including World Bank.
The Lagos as a city (not Nigeria as a country) is about $160 billion according to Lagos Bureau of Statistics and World Bank. That shows that as city Lagos has a that’s close to 5 times bigger than Uganda as a country.
The GDP per capita of Uganda is $860 ( Shs 3M) and that of Lagos city is $5k (UGX 18M). Now politicians love talking about GDP in itself because it somewhat paints a rosy picture that’s good to sell but as a business person your focus should be on per capita income because that’s what tells you what people have in their pockets.
It points to the quality of the market. The spending power of the people of that given market/economy.
Whereas GDP shows how much money the country made per capita shows you if that money were to be divided equally among all the citizens, how much would each have at their disposal to spend.
In the case of Uganda every citizen would have UGX 3M to spend and in lagos every city dweller would have UGX 18M at their disposal to spend. Now as a business man your more attracted to the market where every one has 18M to spend rather than 3M because the more money they have to spend the more money you have to make.
I took a trip to Nigeria about a year ago with the sole purpose of looking at the country mainly the city of Lagos as Nigeria is one of the 16 countries we want to have presence in as a group of companies (Young Treps, Campus Doctor, Makulabuys, Boroboro and Gokafoods).
I mean every fisherman is more fascinated by the idea of fishing in a lake than a river or pond. The bigger the water body the bigger the fish or likely hood of catching bigger fish. You won’t find whales and sharks in Lake Victoria but the Ocean.
For that matter every one starting a business has to be cognisant of the size of market they’re trying to get into or the size of bread that’s there to go around for every one. Truth is it’s small. Why is it small? That is another topic of discussion all together and one for another day.
Very many social, political and economic factors are responsible for it.
So as you start a business in Uganda do so with the presumption that every Ugandan has 3M to spend per year, then work with that. I’d advise local start ups to use Uganda as spring board but then focus on the wider outside market if serious growth is the ultimate objective.
If your looking at survival then that’s fine, this market will serve you just fine and with a projected growth of 3% to 5% for the next foreseeable future unless something drastic happens it’s a safe bet to be looking outward.
Your business model should be built around the ability to tap into serious markets physically or by the help of technology.
Any business that doesn’t work with this hindsight in mind my struggle to survive in the near future with the way things are going.
And yes it’s possible, stop thinking it’s too be a feat to achieve. Uganda companies can dominate the world only if we decide to and work towards it.
There nothing so special about American, European and Asian companies. The only difference is the mindset/attitude and ability to patiently build without shortcuts and quick fixes.
Jaluum Herberts Luwizza is a Speaker,Writer and Contributor with the Nile Post.He is also a Business Consultant at YOUNG TREP East Africa’s No.1 Business Management and Consultancy firm that helps people start and grow profitable businesses.
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