Business Legends: James Mulwana

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However, Mulwana was not all business. His compassion saw him serve as the vice chairman of SOS Children's Village

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He was only 25 when he ventured into the import and export business.  Given his age, some must have thought that he was destined for failure, but James Mulwana lived to prove them wrong.

He was in business for over 50 years since he made baby steps into the business world, and during this time, he drove Uganda's private sector and manufacturing industry from strength to strength.

enawi   eles enawi l and his host resident oweri usevenic being invited to tour the ganda atteries td by its  r ames ulwana 031093Meles Zenawi (l) and his host President Yoweri Museveni(c) being invited to tour the Uganda Batteries Ltd by its MD, Mr. James Mulwana 03.10.93


Today, when you mention Private Sector Foundation Uganda, Mulwana's name comes up. As the foundation's chairman from 1996 to 2008, he oversaw its growth as an entity that represents the interests of the private sector to the Government and the community.

usiness  tranded goods ames ulwana addresses traders 290108Stranded goods, James Mulwana addresses traders 29.01.08


As a leading manufacturer in the country, one of Mulwana's biggest achievements was spearheading the revival of the Uganda Manufacturers' Association (UMA) in 1988. Then, his dream was to bring Uganda's business community together, provide a forum that addresses their issues and grow the private sector in general.

Mulwana lived to see this dream come true as the Government of Uganda and international donors consult with UMA when discussing issues of economic policy.

abaka and ames ulwana Kabaka and James Mulwana


Right on the heels of Mulwana's export and import businesses was Uganda Batteries Limited (then Associated Battery Manufacturers' Limited), which he started in 1967 in partnership with Chloride (UK) Limited. He gained full ownership of the company in 1990.

Ship toothbrush factory (now Nice House of Plastics Limited), followed in 1970 and has since grown into a leading manufacturer of household and packaging products, as well as agricultural equipment and writing products.

r ames ulwanasecond right addressing members of the parliamentary committee on trade and industry

By 1988, Mulwana had established himself as a major manufacturer in the country, thus his decision to oversee UMA's revival. That same year also saw the birth of Jesa Mixed Farm, which he started with a herd of 550 Friesian cows.

Today, that farm has a processing, pasteurising and packaging plant that produces milk, yoghurt, butter and cream. The farm has a commercial property development arm, Jesa Investments Limited, which Mulwana set up in 2002 to venture into the booming property development industry.

eft to ight ames ulwana abriel pio tate inister for inance griculture inister isamba ugerwa tate inister for ndustry incent yanzi and  resident useveni Left to Right, James Mulwana, Gabriel Opio State Minister for Finance, Agriculture Minister Kisamba Mugerwa, State Minister for Industry Vincent Nyanzi and President Museveni


In 1992, Mulwana ventured into the horticultural industry when he started Nsimbe Estates Limited.

Mulwana is a household name though, very little is known about his personal life because he prefered to maintain a low profile and rarely gave interviews, despite the public's interest in his achievements.

   expenditure ames ulwana  arah alusimbi 230210 PAC - CHOGM expenditure, James Mulwana & Sarah Walusimbi 23.02.10


One thing that is certain, though, is that Mulwana was the engine that drove Uganda's private sector for a long time, a fact that explained his appointment as chairman and board member of various organisations in the country.

These included Standard Chartered Bank, BATU Uganda, East African Development Bank, East African Business Council, Eskom Uganda and the Insurance Company of East Africa.  Mulwana also served as a member of the International Finance Corporation Business Advisory Council, which deals with directly financing private sector projects in developing countries.

rivate ector oundation   sibambi   etega hand over a plug to ames ulwana 150408Private Sector Foundation - P.M Nsibambi .A & Hetega.G, hand over a plug to James Mulwana. 15.04.08


In addition, Mulwana was the honorary consul of Thailand to Uganda from 1993 to his dearh.

However, Mulwana was not all business. His compassion saw him serve as the vice chairman of SOS Children's Village, a charity organisation that takes care of homeless children and orphans.

tate of the ation address  ames ulwana and merican mbassador 070611State of the Nation address - James Mulwana and American Ambassador 07.06.11


He also served as Hospice Uganda's patron, and was a trustee of Mengo Hospital, a board member of Interplast Uganda and St. John Ambulance.

Without a doubt, Uganda's economic development thrived on James Mulwana's business acumen, innovation, ingenuity and focus. 

he hairman  ames ulwana chats with illiam ike during the ew ision win with the winners draw at the ompanys premises The Chairman UMA, James Mulwana chats with William Pike during the New Vision win with the winners draw at the Company's premises



• Uganda Batteries Limited
• Chairman, Nice House of Plastics Ltd
• Jesa Farm Dairy Limited
• Nsimbe Estates Limited
• Jesa Investments Limited
• Chairman, Advisory Committee of the Uganda Manufacturers' Association, UMA
• Non-executive Chairman of the Board of Directors, BATU Uganda
• Chairman Advisory Committee, Private Sector Foundation Uganda
• Member, International Finance Corporation Business Advisory Council
• Member, Board of Directors East Africa Development Bank Ltd
• Director of Eskom Uganda Limited
• Director to the Board of Directors, Insurance Company of East Africa Limited, ICEA
• Vice Chairman of SOS Children's Village
• Patron, Hospice Uganda
• Trustee, Mengo Hospital
• Board member, Interplast Uganda
• Board member, St. John's Ambulance

orld evt report 200304  aunch am utesa  ames ulwanaWorld Devt report, 2003-04 - Launch, Sam Kutesa & James Mulwana