While there are undoubtedly accomplished Ugandans, the tendency to falter in cohesive collaboration often impedes progress which keeps success at a distance. In contrast, many Kenyan professionals excel in strategic global collaborations, networking, and teamwork, positioning Kenya as East Africa’s commercial capital and a regional tech hub.
Frequently, Ugandans opt to work as employees in Nairobi, while Kenyans actively engage in entrepreneurial roles in Kampala, serving as founders or key executives. This discrepancy highlights the difference in approach between the two nations.
In 2015, during my tenure as an active ethical hacker practitioner and certified EC-Council Instructor (C|EI), I was invited to South Africa to lead a Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) Bootcamp course. Notably, out of the sixteen students in attendance, fourteen were Ugandans. This occurrence struck me as peculiar since these same individuals had declined to register for the course when it was offered in Uganda, preferring instead to travel to South Africa for training. Interestingly, the course had been organized by a Kenyan training company, which underscores Ugandans’ preference for instruction from foreign trainers. You can imagine the surprise on their faces when I entered as their instructor.
When it comes to business dealings, Ugandans are often hesitant to extend green opportunities to fellow Ugandans, perpetuating a cycle where perceived “outsiders” are favored. This, seemingly a deliberate mindset of envy and competition among locals undermines mutual support and solidarity, hindering confidence and market positioning, despite possessing academic credentials and technical proficiency. Conversely, Kenyans and Indians exhibit a commendable unity in supporting their compatriots in business endeavors.
Ugandans typically consider fellow nationals for job opportunities only when constrained by a limited budget. Otherwise, they readily turn to Kenyans due to their established reputation for excellence and reliability, especially in managing large-scale projects.
Drawing from my personal experience as an entrepreneur and CEO operating in the African market, I have observed Kenyan and Indian counterparts demonstrating a willingness to undertake projects regardless of their expertise, leveraging strategic alliances and adept negotiation skills. In one instance, following a cybercrime incident in 2017, a Kenyan company secured the contract after bidding against us and three other local firms. However, recognizing our capabilities, they outsourced a portion of the project to us under their brand, resulting in a mutually beneficial collaboration where we delivered to their client’s satisfaction. This episode underscores the astuteness and shrewdness of Kenyan business practices, characterized by strategic partnerships, persuasive presentation, and a penchant for securing substantial deals. They are focused.