On Tuesday, Centenary Group officials from Kampala (Board member Vivian Ddambya, Chief Technology Officer Peter Kahiigi, and Stephen Kirenga etal) traveled to Masaka City where they joined area Catholic Bishop Serverus Jjumba, Masaka Centenary Bank Branch Manager Deogratias Mutebi and others to carry out the groundbreaking ceremony for the data center. Soweto A village LC1 Chairman Joseph Senzoga led the local community members in welcoming the guests as the facility will be located on the Centenary Group land located in their cell.
The data center, as explained by Kahiigi in his speech, is Centenary Group’s first one outside Kampala and it will be used to electronically store all the content and information relating to the Centenary Group activities and clients accumulated in the last 40 years of the institution’s existence and that which will become available in future. That the state of art data center, whose launch is one of the many activities the Board of Directors lined up to be undertaken as part of activities to mark 40 years of the Centenary brand’s existence in Uganda, will also be used to safely store data for other interested entities within Uganda and outside. Naturally, this will be at a fee, and at the same time boosting revenue generation by Centenary Group.
Kahiigi, who belongs to the Centenary Technology Services Company (one of the Group subsidiaries) whose teams did all the technical work that went into the data center project, explained that the data center will make life-changing knowledge transfers and employment of Masaka City’s children inevitable because in the long term, the facility will have to be run by children of Masaka City and surrounding districts who will have to be recruited and deployed on merit when time comes.
He explained that Masaka was chosen because of its strategic location (far enough from Kampala but easily accessible by customers and Centenary Group products users or customers from other parts of Uganda). Bishop Jjumba, who is also a Director sitting on the Centenary Group Governing Board, corroborated this in a subsequent speech by explaining that Masaka has a central unique place in the history of the Group because, 40 years ago, it’s Diocesan leadership was part of those who readily embraced and bought into the proposal to found a bank at a time other Catholic Diocesan leaders were full of skepticism that this would ever succeed.
He explained that Masaka and Kabale Diocese were some of the very first ones to enthusiastically embrace the idea and work towards its success. The Bishop added that there are Dioceses whose leaders were so skeptical to the extent that their shareholding only got effected much later on after the Bank took off and began making profits. The Bishop assured Masaka City leaders present that their City will benefit in a multiplicity of ways including jobs and general infrastructural transformation of the area. He also asserted that residents of Soweto will inevitably benefit from the resultant enhanced security that will have to be put in place to keep the data center secure at all times.
He also saluted his fellow Board members for accepting the technical people’s proposal to situate the data center in Masaka City because decentralizing such sensitive infrastructure away from Kampala amounts to de-concentrating all the attendant risks away as opposed to concentrating everything in the already very congested and over loaded Kampala City.
The Bishop also saluted Soweto A area LCI chairman Joseph Senzoga for loyally sticking around and being part of the Centenary brand for the last 40 years. In his speech at the beginning of the function, Senzoga had bragged about being part of the original savings scheme efforts under the Masaka Catholic Diocese which gradually metamorphosed into what became Centenary Bank. As a Board member, the Bishop assured his audience that many other great things should be expected from the Centenary Group all aimed at serving all Ugandans better and more efficiently.
During the same ceremony, ably emceed by Kirenga, it was explained that it was in the year 2020 when parent company Centenary Bank shareholders took a decision to expand into several other things whose rolling out and implementation resulted into the incorporation of subsidiaries like Centenary Technology Services company, Centenary Bank Malawi, Centenary Foundation, Centenary Property Development company and Centenary insurance. Some of these have already taken off and others coming on. And remarkably, all these subsidiaries continue to have all their technology-related needs served by Cente Technology Services Company as the Centenary brand moves into deepening digitization of all its services delivery processes.
As subsequently explained by Kahiigi, while exclusively breaking down things for media reporters on the sidelines of the main groundbreaking event at which he also represented Centenary Group Executive Chairman Prof John Ddumba-Ssentamu, the idea to start Centenary Bank (parent company of all the other Group subsidiaries) was first mooted in 1979 before finally rolling out the actual bank in 1983. Kahiigi explained that the 2020 expansion and diversification decision will result into many more subsidiaries being incorporated in the course of time.
Kahiigi also explained that the Masaka data center directly contributes to Uganda’s broader development and transformation agenda because it directly responds to one of the pillars of the Uganda National Digital Transformation Roadmap which requires the rolling out of the infrastructure necessary to deepen and expand citizens (especially young Ugandans)’ access to safer, effective, dependable, affordable and inclusive digital services. He praised his Board-level bosses at the Centenary Group for being far-sighted enough to realize that digital approach will increasingly become the inevitable way through which all manner of services are going to be delivered to world citizens in the coming years.
That, just like the COVID19 lockdowns taught all of us, digitization is here to stay because it’s clearly the inescapable solution to all our service delivery and contemporary work-related challenges like the unrelenting traffic jams (for instance in Kampala) which make it hard for people in especially the corporate space to physically be in as many meetings as would be ideal. The capability of the Centenary Technology Services company, for which Peter Kahiigi works as the Chief Technology Officer, recently manifested (new or young as it is) when it was selected to serve as one of the leading consultants for the GoU as the National Digital Transformation Roadmap was being rolled out.
Kahiigi also gave more other reasons as to why the establishment of the Masaka-based data center was a necessary undertaking by the Centenary Group. That, at 3m account-holding customers, their Centenary Bank has the largest customer base in the country which simply means a lot of data has been accumulated and requires to be digitized and safely stored or kept at the data center. The same bank has more than 7,000 banking agents across the country who daily carry out 1000s of transactions and in the process generating a lot of client information or data which requires to be electronically safely stored which brings convenience for all stakeholders.
Depending on how well this all goes, there is a high like hood similar data centers would be replicated in other regional Cities of Uganda upcountry. Bishop Jjumba vowed to use his evangelism skills to ensure that all Masaka people buy in and embrace the need for digital technology so that the Masaka data center project succeeds beyond everyone’s expectations. The celebrations of the “Centenary brand@40” are peaking this Saturday and everything will be broadcast live in all major TV and online platforms across the country from 3pm onwards. See more in pictures by Musa Mbogo at the Masaka groundbreaking ceremony. (For comments on this story, get back to us on 0705579994 [whatsapp line], 0779411734 & 041 4674611 or email us at email@example.com).