The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) has provided a $5 million loan to Uganda Transport Company Tugende Limited, to support small business lending.
The loan will also help expand transportation in Uganda by providing leases-to- people to buy Motorcycles for commercial purposes.
OPIC President and CEO Ray W. Washburne said by supporting the company more jobs will be created for the youth across the country where Tugende operates.
“By supporting Uganda’s boda boda riders, we are empowering local entrepreneurs while helping them to strengthen a key mode of transportation in Uganda which is highly dominated by informal sector,” said Washburne.
Tugende is a six-year-old business that tapped into pent up demand for lease-to-own financing among motorcycle ,taxi drivers and quickly expanded into a 150-employee business that has to date served more than 12,000 customers — 5,000 of whom have already purchased their motorcycles and taxis.
In addition to promoting boda ownership, Tugende offers drivers training on safety, financial planning and customer service.
Drivers can typically take ownership of a boda in 20 months, which can result in them doubling their take home income.
Tugende Founder and CEO Michael Wilkerson said Bodas are a key source of transportation in Uganda, but for boda drivers and many other small business operators’ have not ventured into it due to limited access to access to capital.
“OPIC’s financing will help us provide financial security, asset ownership and higher income for thousands of additional drivers and improved quality of life for tens of thousands of their family members,” said Wilkerson.
Tugende, which means “let’s go,” was founded by American, Michael Wilkerson who spent time as a Fulbright scholar and a journalist in Uganda and discovered that “bodas” or motorcycle taxis, were a critical part of the country’s transportation infrastructure.
As he got to know more boda drivers he also learned that many worked long hours but could not attain financial security since they could not access credit to purchase their own bodas.
Tugende is an asset finance company helping people take control of their economic futures by owning the productive assets they use to make a living.
Over the past 4+ years, Tugende has provided lease-to-own financing of motorcycles to over 5000 motorcycle taxi drivers (boda bodas) in Uganda, helping them own their own bikes in 19 months or less.
BY SAMUEL NABWIISO