Ugandan developer Peter Kakoma is a real inspiration. An industry veteran and innovator, a talented programmer and entrepreneur, and a truly compassionate human being, he was recently nominated as a 2021 African Business Hero top 50 finalist. Tunga’s Viola Nuwaha and Roger Kaweesa caught up with him.
Man of many talents
Peter is a man of many talents. An electrical engineer and self-made developer and entrepreneur, who at one time wrote for a newspaper. But he is also a church leader and a dedicated husband and father. At the Ugandan branch of telecoms giant MTN, Kakoma started as an engineer, building apps to make his work easier. When the opportunity arose to use his programming skills, he grabbed it with both hands. And from thereon, he became a team leader. Peter was also one of the first four hires at Andela Uganda – at a time when the company did not even have an actual office in Uganda yet!
Despite an exciting career at prestigious employers, Peter wanted more – but not just for himself. In 2014, he founded Kanzu Code, a company he leads to this date. Kanzu Code targets the global financial industry, offering its own financial business tools as well as building on-demand custom solutions.
Creating opportunities for Ugandans
Peter had two main reasons for wanting to launch his own enterprise. Working at MTN, he soon realized that the company sourced virtually all software from foreign providers. This, while there was enough Ugandan talent able to deliver such tools. It just did not sit right with him – so he tried to find a way to show the world that solid software could be built on the continent.
“The bigger the problem you are exposed to,
the better you get at it”
His developer team at MTN was only small, but produced tools for millions of customers. The projects were challenging and Peter learned a lot: “The bigger the problem you are exposed to, the better you get at it”. But to his regret, Peter saw that only he and his direct colleagues got to enjoy these chances. He felt he needed to address this gap and “create opportunities for people to grow in the field of software.”