Renowned city businessman, Amiral Karmali of Mukwano Group of Companies had died, the family has confirmed.
The manufacturing mogul died on Wednesday night at his home in Kololo where he has been on oxygen support.
Karmali is the founder of East Africa’s Mukwano Group – an industrial conglomerate that manufactures cooking oils, fats, toilet soaps and cosmetics to industrial plastics and detergents.
Mukwano, as he has been affectionately known, was one of Uganda’s richest businessmen with annual revenues of over $230 million. Most of the company’s products are market leaders not only in Uganda but the region at large.
Karmali is also one of Uganda’s biggest landlords owning about 17,000 acres of land in Uganda’s Masindi district according to Forbes Africa.
Born in the mid-1930s, Amirali’s father Ali Mohammed Karmali, a pioneer Indian investor, came to Uganda in 1904 and laid the foundation of the empire.
After working as a shop assistant, he shifted to Mbarara before settling in Bukandula Mpigi district. He did roaring business in cotton and coffee and was so popular with the locals who nick named him ‘Mukwano gwa Bangi’ (a friend of many).
The business took off when the family moved to Fortal Portal, where the young Karmali acquired a second hand truck and begun transporting produce to Kampala.
Soon after, he expanded to western Uganda and parts of DR Congo and later opened his first shop in Kampala called Egesa Commercial Agencies.
Karmali was a victim of Idi Amin’s expulsion of Asians in 1972 but he lied low and never went into exile but remained ‘hidden’ by good samaritans.
Well as many Asian businesses were looted and others taken over in 1972/3; Karmali never despaired that enabled him rebuild his business in early 1980s when he set up Mukwano Industries Limited.
Together with his son AlykaanKarmali, they have built a business partnership ‘Mukwano Group of Companies’ employing at least 10,000 people and paying over Shs 40 billion in taxes.
His company incorporates Mukwano Enterprises Limited, AK Transporters limited, AK Oils and Fats (U) Limited, AK plastics (U) limited and AK Detergents (U) Limited.
Additional Reporting by Daily Monitor.