The Outgoing Chairperson, Makerere University Endowment Fund (MakEF) Board of Trustees, Dr Martin J. Aliker has in his handover speech reported that the Inaugural Board grew the onshore fund from scratch to UGX 1.2 Billion by the end of their tenure in 2019. This was at a function presided over by the Chairperson of Council, Mrs Lorna Magara on 30th September 2021 in the Central Teaching Facility 2 (CTF2) Auditorium to inaugurate the new MakEF Board.
Dr Aliker’s remarks were read on his behalf by a member of the Pioneer Board, Mr Barnabas Tumusingize reported that this growth was made possible through several income-generating activities including the MakEF Run (MakRun).
“The onshore return on investment during our tenure was 14.5 per cent. All this investment was undertaken through treasury bills, bonds, equities and cash deposits. Our Board considered investing in securities as the primary approach to growing the Fund through capital appreciation” read Dr Aliker’s speech.
During their tenure, the Inaugural Board appointed a fund administrator, fund manager and custodian for the efficient management of the onshore endowment fund. The onshore fund is complemented by an offshore fund managed in the United Kingdom (U.K.).
Dr Aliker nevertheless noted that despite its popularity in the global north, the idea of university endowment funds was nascent in Makerere and the African continent. “For instance, there are a few studies that have been conducted to examine the utility and systematic trends that bear useful lessons for the Board and other stakeholders” he added.
He concluded by wishing the incoming board chaired by Professor Maggie Kigozi success. “We commit our availability for consultations as and when the need arises, as We Build for the Future.”
The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe who was represented by the Principal College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS), Dr Eria Hisali in his remarks extended sincere gratitude to the outgoing MakEF Board for the pioneer efforts and dedication, despite the fact that the concept of endowment funds is yet to be fully appreciated in this part of the world.
Prof. Nawangwe commended the outgoing board for;
Identifying and entering into a contract with two fund managers; GenAfrica Asset Management Limited for the onshore fund and Crown Agents Investment Management for the offshore fund based in the UK.
Their oversight enabled prudence in investment that resulted in a commendable return on investment. The onshore fund grew from nothing in 2014 to the current UGX 1.5 Billion, while the offshore fund is now valued at 1.5 Million GBP (approximately UGX 7.1 Billion)
Popularising MakEF through various activities such as the MakRun held in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
Reaching out and encouraging Colleges at the University to contribute to the fund. CoBAMS positively responded by establishing a college fund.
Reaching out to institutions affiliated with Makerere University such as Makerere College School and encouraging them to contribute to the fund in response to a resolution by the University Council.
The Vice-Chancellor acknowledged that whereas endowment was still in its infancy, the Management looks forward to a future where MakEF would be able to support; the University’s academic endeavours, financial aid to deserving students from humble backgrounds, the University’s research agenda and the University’s long-term strategic planning.
“I would like to start by inviting everyone to join me in appreciating the contribution of Dr Martin Aliker and the members of the outgoing Board of Trustees, whose dedicated service has led us to this day,” remarked Mrs Lorna Magara, the Chairperson of Council as she commenced her address.
The Board chaired by Dr Aliker was also made up of; Ambassador Edith Sempala, Mr Martin Owiny, Mr Barnabas R. Tumusingize, Mr Grace Isabirye, Prof. John Ddumba-Ssentamu and Hon. Gerald Karuhanga.
She observed that it was over seven years since the University Council established MakEF at its 130th Meeting held on 20th February 2014, motivated by the dream to build a sustainable financial base for Makerere and diversify revenue beyond the reliance on student fees and Government subvention.
“The motivation to set up Makerere University Endowment Fund is much more critical today than it was then. The financial demands of the University will continue to rise following the current and future ambitions in research and innovation, along with the need to implement new technologies for teaching and learning” remarked the Chairperson Council.
She added that although MakEF was still modest in comparison to the initiatives of Makerere’s international peers, she was confident that the Fund was on the right path, thanks to the strong foundation laid by Dr Aliker and the pioneer Board of Trustees.
“It will be up to the new Board to pursue the multiple opportunities available amongst alumni, local and international philanthropists, the private sector, government and development partners to raise the Fund to greater heights” added Mrs Magara.
She congratulated the new Board upon their appointment and wished them a fruitful tenure. “It is my greatest honour to inaugurate the new Board of Trustees, as We Build for the Future” she concluded.
In her acceptance speech, Prof. Maggie Kigozi admitted that it was a great honour to serve as the second Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of MakEF, following in the footsteps of Dr Martin J. Aliker and the commendable work done by his pioneer Board.
“ Makerere University is not only a premier institution of higher learning in Africa but also my alma mater.” Professor Kigozi enthused before adding, “It was truly an honour and a privilege to have been selected. So many people would have loved to be with us here and so we do not overlook the privilege of having been given those years to study at Makerere.”
Turning to Mrs Magara, the first female Chairperson of Council in Makerere’s history she said, “To be here working with you will be such an honour and the young girls out there watching us, watching you, watching me are motivated. They know they can aim for the highest.”
Prof. Kigozi shared that the incoming board would deliberate and agree upon robust visibility and mobilization campaign hinged on the following;
A digital platform to profile alumni from all over the world and mobilize them to contribute to ongoing activities such as the MakRun
Increasing MakEF’s online presence through a dedicated website that highlights the Fund’s projects and various ways through which contributions can be made
She added that her board would develop an investment plan for the purpose of diversifying MakEF’s investment portfolio so as to grow the asset selection and minimise potential investment risks.
“From my experience in the investment world, I am aware that an investor’s asset allocation decision has a strong bearing on portfolio performance of a Fund. Together with my colleagues, we will review the asset allocations and in consultation with existing policies, determine the best options for the Fund” pledged Prof. Kigozi.
As she concluded her remarks, the Incoming MakEF Board Chairperson highlighted that there was a lack of empirical studies specific to the nascent endowment fund terrain on the continent, which made it difficult for institutions like MakEF to systematically examine trends in the endowment sector as a whole. She, therefore, implored the university to invest in research in this area, which would eventually benefit both the Board and MakEF’s portfolio.
The new members of the MakEF Board of Trustees are;
Professor Maggie Kigozi – Chairperson
Associate Professor Umar Kakumba – Member
Martin Owiny – Member
Ms Anne Juuko – Member
Kenneth Mugambe – Member
Barnabas R. Tumusingize – Member
William Ndoleriire – Member