Why Indians succeed easily in Africa, part 1

I come from Munteme village in Hoima. Some of the iconic buildings in our village, we were told, were built by the Indians. When I was a very small boy in primary in the late 1990’s, the first special building with two underground floors which fascinated me a lot, had been built by Indians. Unfortunately, the ultimatum that was given to the Indians by the then Ugandan president, Idd Amin Ddada, led to the closure of this factory. But that is a story for another day.

30 years later, I am here in Kampala. I interact with many Indian brothers and sisters and or Ugandans of Indian origin. Below are the reasons why my Indian friends seem to do better on average compared to us, Ugandans of Ugandan origin (hahaha).

Ask small things at a time

When the Indian visits your home, or office, they start by asking for water. When you give it, they ask for food. “My brother, I am hungry also.” You will give the food. Once they are full, they will then ask for where to sleep. This ‘soldiers’ model of asking makes Indians so strategic – ask for small things at a time and keep escalating so as not to overwhelm your partner.


Remember don’t ask for too much. Ask small, small. Ask consistently.


For Ugandans, they want to ask big things at once. We want to use the advice of ‘think big’ literary forgetting that success is journey of several stages. No baby becomes an adult overnight.

If you want to succeed, identify the key things you need. If it is financing, identify the minimum amount of money you need. Start by asking for financing from your suppliers (credit). If they cannot, go to your friends and family for an interest free loan. If they cannot, try asking your peers to join hands with you for equity. If they cannot, try to reduce the scale and size of your project so that you reduce the risk exposure. If all these things fail to work, look for a venture capitalist or go to a development bank. If it fails, go to the commercial bank as a last resort.

Remember don’t ask for too much. Ask small, small. Ask consistently.

To read more, see part 2.

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