Haruna Sentongo, a formidable businessman, stands as one of the distinguished property magnates who have poured substantial investments into marketplaces within the bustling city of Kampala.
His mission? To revolutionise the lives of low-income earners, by providing them with marketplaces that are not only conducive but also affordably set to a high standard.
This Ugandan entrepreneur wears many hats – from being a real estate tycoon to a philanthropist. He is also the visionary behind Haruna Enterprises, a prominent corporate entity headquartered in the heart of Kampala.
Hailing from Kalungu district in central Uganda, Haruna Sentongo was born into a lineage of business acumen on August 30th, 1987. At an astonishingly young age, he has risen to become one of the country’s youngest city tycoons, boasting an estimated net worth of USD 420 million.
Haruna, however, did not inherit his wealth on a silver platter. His prosperity sprouted from meager beginnings, but swiftly flourished into opulence. Back in 2003, the tale goes, he embarked on a modest venture—a retail haven for imported female handbags from China, with a mere USD 100 in his pocket, a sum he scraped together with a helping hand from his father.
His fiscal standing took a considerable leap in 2005. This was the year he formally delved into the realm of home and office furnishings. He set up a distribution hub in the heart of Kampala, which became the linchpin of his operations.
With the dividends reaped from this endeavor, he took a bold stride into the domain of garments in 2007. The modus operandi: importing ladies’ apparel from Southeast Asia, and disseminating them across the expanse of central Uganda. The ripples of his entrepreneurial spirit were palpable.
In the year 2011, he embarked on the construction of the illustrious Haruna Towers, seamlessly merging it with his enterprise, Haruna Enterprises Limited, with financial backing from various Ugandan institutions.
This venture brought forth a substantial influx of capital, enabling him to acquire expansive tracts of land. These acquisitions paved the way for him to further amass wealth by developing additional markets and erecting more shopping complexes.
Haruna Sentongo’s foray into real estate was initiated on the outskirts of Kampala, in the precincts of Wandegeya Kubiri, along Bombo road.
It was here that he laid the foundation for Haruna Towers, which ultimately served as the springboard for amassing property valued in the billions of shillings.
Subsequently, he ventured into more upscale locales like Ntinda, where he erected the colossal Haruna Shopping Mall. Later, his endeavors led him to downtown Kampala, where he gave rise to the Nakayiza market and accompanying apartments in Mengo and Kisenyi. In addition, he has expanded his portfolio with the establishment of Segawa market on Mwanga II Road.
At present, Haruna commands an impressive portfolio, including NM apartments, a staggering 17 building blocks, and bustling produce markets nestled in the city center. Not to mention, his ownership extends to several plots of downtown land, collectively valued in the billions of shillings.
The crescendo of his ventures is none other than the ongoing opus in Nakasero. Here, Haruna is crafting a towering 16-floor marvel in the heart of Kampala’s most coveted locale. This architectural gem will play host to none other than the presidential lodge, the hallowed halls of the Ugandan parliament, and the august chambers of the supreme court, among other pivotal institutions. The price tag on this edifice is estimated at a princely sum of USD 62 million. Haruna Sentongo does not just build structures; he crafts legacies.
Transformative Prowess and Philanthropy at Glance
Haruna Sentongo, boasting an impressive portfolio of over 27 monumental construction projects, is steadily seizing opportunities in areas that city authorities had abandoned. He is orchestrating a transformation, turning these once-neglected slums into thriving, contemporary urban hubs. Mengo Kisenyi, notorious for its criminal underbelly of theft, drug trade, and prostitution, now stands as a testament to Haruna’s vision.
Recently, Haruna has poured much of his time and resources into this region. He has erected state-of-the-art shops and market stalls, tailored to cater to mechanics and produce vendors. This intervention has not only revitalized the once-dreaded slum but has also breathed life into it, turning it into a bustling trading hub.
Beyond his considerable wealth, Haruna is a fervent philanthropist. In July 2020, he extended a lifeline to approximately 500 tenants at his Segawa market in Mengo, waiving their rent obligations due to the adverse impacts of the Covid-19-induced lockdown.
Come October of the same year, he brought smiles to the faces of his tenants at Haruna Shopping Mall in Ntinda, granting them a six-month rent reprieve for similar reasons. This gesture played a pivotal role in stabilizing their businesses during trying times. Haruna Sentongo is not just building structures; he is building communities and fostering resilience.
In order to push Haruna’s agenda of giving Kampala a new facelift, the government should extend substantial support towards the tycoon and other private investors to set up more market places in all divisions of the city.
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