My friend Patrick Bitature is a success story for Africa, and for our world. His father was taken from his home when Patrick was only a child, never to be seen again, under the oppressive reign of Idi Amin. Patrick had to grow up quickly, becoming the man of the family at 10 or 12 years of age. Knowing that challenges in your life either build your character or reveal your character, Patrick re-invented himself as the embodiment of hope itself.
Today Patrick runs one of the largest and most prominent companies in Uganda (his company is the 86th largest taxpayer in the country), employs more than 1,000 Ugandans and has his hands in a dozen different sectors of the economy. In fact, the hotel you see in the photos here, and where the Financial Literacy Week conference was held, is owned by my friend Patrick (when I first met him I thought he was a young man working at the hotel he owned – smiled). Best of all, Patrick is Love Leadership and dignity walking, as he spends approximately 20% of his time, and an untold amount of his resources, "giving back" to the people and communities that make up Uganda. In fact, during the time I was in the country I saw Patrick numerous times, even hosting me in his home, as he was completely vested in "financial literacy as the new civil rights issue," and like me, sees entrepreneurship as the pathway to the future of and for a new generation of entrepreneurs in and for Africa.
A special thank you and kudos to my friend Marvin D. Muhwezi, who runs Investors Club and whose vision the Uganda Financial Literacy Week should be credited.
Patrick and Marvin and the others I met while in country, give me hope.
Onward with HOPE,
John Hope Bryant
Bryant is the founder, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE, bestselling business author of LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass), and a member of the U.S. President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability for President Barack Obama