By Nigel Nassar and Sebidde Kiryowa
After three years telling the African business story, the highly respected Forbes Africa magazine has finally led with a Ugandan story.
Sudhir Ruparelia, Uganda’s wealthiest man estimated at $1.1b by The Forbes List, is the magazine’s focus for the month of April, 2014.
To that effect, the magazine’s top officials, led by chief editor Chris Bishop, last week left their base in South Africa and screamed into the country to launch the April issue, where Sudhir made the cover.
With this development, the story of the Ugandan property mogul, ranked by The Forbes List as Africa’s 24th wealthiest man, is out there inspiring scores of African readers intent on becoming billionaires.
Among the African billionaires who have made the cover of Forbes Africa include Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote, who is Africa’s wealthiest at $25b and South Africa’s Patrice Motsepe, Africa’s Number 13 at $2.7b.
So for Sudhir, the occasion of unveiling proof of sharing the same space with such greats, was one to savour.
(R -L ) Sudhir Ruparelia, Andrew Mwenda and Jim Muhwezi at the unveiling of the Forbes Africa magazine cover
There are seven billion people in the world. And only 1645 of these are billionaires (in dollars). So when you have a rare chance to join this exclusive club and be recognized for the effort it cost you to get there, you might want to savor the moment really.
To that effect, Dr. Sudhir invited a similarly very exclusive club of Kampala millionaires at his swanky Kabira Country Club in Bukoto to help celebrate the moment last Thursday.
From Godfrey Kirumira to Jim Muhwezi, ‘Captain’ Abhay Agarwal, Patrick Bitature, Bulaimu Mayanja Kibirige (BMK), Tom Mugenga, Ephraim Ntaganda, and basically everyone who is anything in the Bagagga Kwagalana crew; they all joined in the revelry, while perhaps hoping they too would make the cover of this prestigious magazine someday.
The real moment of unveiling the cover had Sudhir and his wife Jyotsna go up the stage and peel the wraps off a life-size representation of the magazine’s cover, revealing the picture of himself looking every inch like the billionaire he is, and the headline “From a Taxi Driver to a $1.1 Billion King.”
“Kudos to a truly self-made man,” said Forbes Africa editor-in-chief Chris Bishop upon the cover’s revelation, commending him for not having any qualms revealing his wealth during the interview with Forbes Africa.
An interesting highlight of the evening was millionaires tripping over themselves to autograph the cover, a historical moment no one dared miss, with many joking that the signature might win them a loan favour from the “rich man”.
Meanwhile, Bishop tipped off partyers that at least a net worth of $200m would get them on the cover of Forbes Africa, whose current interest in East Africa is due to a bustling business environment with lots of millionaires in the making and good stories to tell.
Forbes Africa is a pan African business publication that was launched in South Africa in October 2011 as an African edition of the highly successful American publication, Forbes Magazine.
It aims at capturing the African entrepreneurial spirit in all its glory and trials, while nudging Africans on to soar for greater heights and self-reliance.