Absa Bank donates Ugshs 65m towards Makerere at 100 celebrations

Awel Uwihanganye, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, Mumba Kalifungwa and Michael Segwaya

Absa Bank Uganda has contributed 65 million shillings to Makerere University to mark 100 years of excellence in building a transformed society.

On Tuesday, Absa Uganda Managing Director, Mumba Kalifungwa handed a 65 million shillings cheque to Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe for centenary commemorations.

Speaking at a press briefing at the University, Nawangwe described the Makerere’s 100th anniversary as an “exemplary service to humanity.”

“Makerere University does not just belong here to Uganda. Makerere University belongs to the whole region, to Africa, and to the world. We believe that we have more than 400,000 living alumni and in any country of the world you go, you will find there a Makerere person helping to make life for people better,” he said.

Makerere, Nawangwe said must be among the first 100 clients of Barclays Bank, now Absa Bank Uganda when it had just come to do business in Uganda.

“I would be surprised if we were not among the first. And so, Makerere has been with Absa for a very long time, and we are still with you. The relationship with Absa is quite long. I was looking at some documents, and there are still some signs which show that relationship. Because for a long time, Barclays was for the maintenance of our sports grounds.”

Nawangwe further noted that Makerere is proud to be associated with Absa Bank through the programmes that support SMEs and also through scholarship programs that the Bank has for the young people in Uganda.

“I want to commend Absa for being a loyal partner, not just to Makerere, but the whole of Uganda through programmes that the Bank executes to empower young people to get employment, become employers themselves by developing their businesses. That is the greatest contribution you can make to this country, and we must thank you very much,” Nawangwe said.

Makerere University is Uganda, and East Africa’s most prestigious institution of higher learning, and one of the best on the African continent.

The University has been at the core of the Independence movement of the East African countries, producing almost all the independence leaders of the original three East African nations, and producing the majority of civil servants and politicians who transformed their countries from colonialism to independence.

The University’s contribution to human development is not only in politics. Makerere is very much known for medicine with various innovations that have come out of its medical school.

“The first person who isolated cancer cells in the way we know them now was actually at our medical school in the early 60s. There is a protocol being used in treatment of malaria which was adopted by the World Health Organization which also came out of our University a few years ago. So, we have been making contributions for the development of our region, and for the world in various ways,” said Nawangwe.

As Makerere celebrates 100 years, the Vice Chancellor added that the University wants to be more impactful to not only Uganda and the East African region, but to the whole world, by producing not only the human resource, but also more innovators, leaders who will transform the East African region from being a backward population to a prosperous industrialized region.

“That is our next target,” he said.

On his part, Absa boss, Kalifungwa echoed Nawangwe’s remarks, saying that Makerere’s contribution to not Uganda, but the East African region is “immense.”

“As Absa Bank, we are a testament to that because over 70% of the senior executive leadership team at Absa Bank Uganda are alumni of Makerere University. That shows the importance that this Institution plays in not only in the Makerere Community, but in the Ugandan banking sector, and the economy at large,” he said.

“Makerere University to us is equally synonymous with academic greatness, and we are proud as a bank to be associated with this great Institution,” he added.

Absa’s 65 million shillings contribution to Makerere’s centenary celebrations, Kalifungwa said recognizes the importance the University plays in the Ugandan economy.

100 years, he said is a not a small achievement, adding that the noble Institution has made tremendous achievement in research, innovation, academic excellence, and nurturing exceptional individuals that achieved great milestones both on the African continent and the global stage.

Access to education remains one of Africa’s biggest challenges, and a result, Kalifungwa said it is the reason education and skills development remain a key focus for the Absa to support youth access to education through scholarship programmes, and employability through ready to work initiative which is accessible online at no cost.

“Partnerships with Institutions of higher learning such as Makerere University remain a critical aspect of how we contribute to education, with skills development as one of our key citizenship pillars. As you celebrate this great milestone, we greatly appreciate your efforts and applaud the contributions you have made to the social economic transformation of Uganda and this continent,” he said.

Meanwhile, Nawangwe called on all Makerere University alumni and well wishers to make their contribution to the University to have colorful centenary celebrations.

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