Speech by Rino Solberg, CEO of Better Globe Group
He introduced himself by saying that he was actually half Ugandan, then went on to explain that this was so because his wife was 100% born Ugandan and that simple mathematic made him therefore half Ugandan!
He said that the first time he went to Kampala 25 years ago, the state of the buildings made him think that he should open up a paint factory. The first thing he did with his wife, however was to found the NGO Child Africa, because, he explained, his wife has a passion for children and they saw how the young ones needed help and education. Today, Child Africa has built 2 schools and helps many children. Though Child Africa is not a business Mr Solberg said, it was still a good investment for the future.
To counteract all the negative comments that he was hearing when mentioning Uganda to people (because of Idi Amin) Mr Solberg produced 5000 CDs on Uganda (pre internet era), with the participation of the Ministry of Tourism, investing $250,000 of his own money into the project. He recouped around $150,000 through advertising sold in Uganda. These CDs got sent to 70 countries around the world to promote Uganda. 500 copies were sent to President Museveni who gave them out himself.
Mr Solberg also organized up to 10,000 affordable computers to be bought from Norway to help Uganda enter the computer age.
In 1994, President Museveni visited Norway and Mr Solberg took the opportunity to present him to his nation Norway. Museveni invited him thereafter to come to Uganda to help companies get certified to ISO 9000 standards, which is one of Mr Solberg expert area. 10 years later, he had helped over 100 companies to be certified, and was the one who virtually introduced IS0 9000 to Uganda.
He also started the Success magazine covering areas of personal development, which ran for about 5 years, then moved on to found a magazine called Miti magazine (Miti meaning tree in Swahili), which all about trees and tree planting. Due to the poor reading culture in Uganda, he went on to found another publication called Bingwa (champion in Swahili), given out free of charge to schools in Kenya and Uganda, and any money generated from this project is then used to build schools in Uganda for Child Africa.
But his biggest passion is in tree planting through the Better World Group, which he said he would like to see as the biggest tree planting company in the world within 20 years, an achievement that will need a lot of hard work and partners in Uganda as well. It has been highly active in Kenya for the last 6 years and will start in Uganda in a couple of years.
He also urged participants to look at the site webbizafrica.com, a portal listing all companies in Uganda and other African nations.
In addition, he explained the planned building of a tourist resort on a 200 acres plot called Equator City, right on the Equator that will look like a map of Uganda and will showcase virtually everything about the country, culture, people ect.
He reiterated again that tourism, ICT and forestry / agriculture were highly favourable investment areas. He explained that when people ask him, “when is the best time to invest in Uganda?” he usually answers by asking, “when is the best time to plant a tree"? He said that by investing today, anyone will reap dividends 20 years from now, depending on the type of investment of course. “And when it comes to investing in Africa”, he said, “You can just as well skip the rest because Uganda is still the best”!
Great article and I really appreciate allot the two youtube clips!
I had the privilege to go to Uganda and Kenya with Better Globe and other Better Globe Ambassadors this August and it was really an eye-opener and the best trip of my life. Better Globe together with Child Africa is doing an amazing job and Uganda is a beautiful country I hope to visit again soon.
It is nothing but good fortune to be involved with an organization doing such great work and Julie and Rino's dedication and hard work is nothing short of inspiring!