• Mon. Sep 25th, 2023

UGANDAKampala | Real Muloodi NewsUganda’s top richest real muloodi Sudhir Ruparelia is one such name that pops up whenever we talk about the world’s prominent billionaire-dollar businessmen. What has he done in life to be this rich?

Business tycoon Sudhir Ruparelia is a Ugandan born of Indian descent. He is the founder, CEO and major stakeholder of the Ruparelia Group of Companies.

He owns almost 300 other commercial properties and has primary investment interests in banking, insurance, education, media, country clubs, real estate, floriculture, hotels, and resorts.

The business mogul has a net worth of USD 1.2 billion as of 2023.

Let’s dig deeper into his life and see if you can borrow a leaf or two that will catapult you onto the list of the world’s richest.

His Humble Beginnings

When you learn that someone has a staggering amount of money in his bank account without knowing the backstory, you immediately comment, “how lucky is he!”. Is the adage “never judge a book by its cover” really true? It applies to multibillionaire Sudhir Ruparelia.

Sudhir Ruparelia was born in the third generation of the Ugandan-born Gujarat family on January 17, 1956, in Kasese, western Uganda.

In the heart of Queen Elizabeth National Park, his parents had built a store and a petrol station that they operated for many years.

Sudhir studied in schools that were far away from his parents’ home. Initially, he attended Bat Valley Primary School in Kampala, where he completed his studies until Primary Six, and then went to Main Street Primary School for his Primary Seven.

He then went to Kololo Senior Secondary School in 1971.

Each term, he had to make lengthy solo trips. On trucks transporting traders, he cadged lifts. The trucks would depart from the bush with salt and fish and return with cargo.

Sudhir claims that even though the East African railway service was flourishing at the time, it was primarily for the wealthy.

He did not speak to his parents during school until the holidays. As a result, Sudhir gained a harsh edge.

In August 1972, when Idi Amin, the former president of Uganda, set Asians a 90-day deadline to leave the nation, he incited a desperate battle for survival among more than 60,000 individuals.

Some people who dreaded Amin’s harshness were stuck with nowhere to go. Their remains were discovered in the Nile’s waters.

Several families worried about how they would survive. Among them was a retailer Ugandan Indian family who fled, leaving a vulnerable 16-year-old boy named Sudhir behind in the middle of the chaos and terror.

When his family emigrated to Britain, Sudhir narrates that he did not mind staying behind.

“It was an awful moment for the Asian community. You couldn’t predict what was to happen to you the next day. But I convinced my parents to leave me behind on the promise that I would join them later,” he says.

He only asked his departed family for money so he could survive. He got what he wanted. With his pals, whose parents had also left them left behind, Sudhir caused mayhem for six weeks.

“We had a lot of money to party and drink. The security personnel occasionally stopped us but we always sweet-talked them into releasing us,” he says.

His turning point came when intelligent men detained one of his friends seeking to extort cash from them.

“Once he was released, we all decided to leave since the city was also getting desolate. There were just about 100 Asians left,” says Sudhir.

There was just one option which was to leave the country.

Sudhir arrived in London by himself and had no idea where to look for his parents. He was registered in a refugee camp alongside other exiles.

He went looking for friends in Finchley Central on the second day. Eight of them were found to be residing in a two-room home. He left the camp and never went back.

After spending five weeks in London, Sudhir traced down his family, but only to let them know that he was moving on and unhappy with his refugee status.

He travelled to Birmingham and Manchester in search of jobs that offered the possibility of stability.

Sudhir wanted to get employment at Ford Motor Company, but a union-closed plant prevented him from doing so.

He relocated to Ilford, in northeastern London, where he worked for a company that produced test tubes for labs. He marked test tubes with centimetre measurements using red-hot wax.

“This was the most sickening job in the entire factory. I barely had any protection and the heat was unbearable. No wonder I worked for only five months and moved back to Finchley Central,” says Sudhir.

He then attempted to enlist in the Royal Air Force (RAF). He had already agreed to a five-year contract after passing the examinations.

He required his parents’ permission because he was a juvenile, which was difficult. His mother opted out. The brutality she had seen by the Ugandan army had tarnished her perception of the military.

Although his mother was in charge, Sudhir’s father disagreed.

The RAF provided education but Sudhir’s hope for academic achievement did not materialise.

After that, he worked hard in a supermarket where he eventually acquired a vehicle after a series of menial jobs. On the weekends, he made additional money by using it as a cab.

He enrolled at a college at the same time for A-level studies with a focus on economics and accounting. He completed his education and found employment with many businesses.

He worked at the grocery with his girlfriend Jyotsna, who persuaded him to focus on just one venture. The two later married.

Sudhir started investing in London real estate after their marriage. He purchased his first home as early as 1975 with his savings and one home led to another, then he would make improvements to them, and sell them at a profit.

Sudhir had an uncle who had remained in Uganda throughout this period. He kept in touch with him.

Starting from Scratch

Sudhir’s courage and determination might be linked to his early years, which allowed him to thrive despite the chaos.

At the age of 29, Sudhir left London with $25,000 from real estate transactions and returned to Uganda in February 1985.

Due to currency shortages brought on by political turmoil, Uganda saw a decrease in the value of the Ugandan shilling (USh), which reached a low of USh600 to $1 in 1985.

According to Sudhir, he kept a low profile for more than a year to give himself time to research and comprehend the collapsed economy.

Sudhir had a flair for business and as a result, he put all of his savings into a startup business.

Sudhir launched a wholesale shop selling foreign beer, salt, and wine in Kampala’s central business area in December 1986. The Ugandan breweries were destroyed during the civil war.

As a result, it became profitable to import beer and liquor from Kenya along with other home items. To connect importers and merchants, Sudhir positioned himself as a middleman.

He established himself as a reliable business partner for the importers, who gave him the merchandise on credit and demanded payment after a few days to speed up returns.

He successfully managed the system and established Kampala’s first reliable distribution system.

“While in London, the strongest trait I learnt was being disciplined. I ensured that the suppliers’ money was always readily available as agreed,” he says.

He rose to the position of top import beer trader in Kampala in just three months.

But soon, Uganda approved a new rulemaking that prohibited its importation which disrupted his business.  This was done to support beer production in Uganda.

His bank was the first to open on Saturdays and until 5 PM, while also lowering bank fees. He also eliminated red tape.

Before its closure by the Central Bank, in 2016, Crane Bank was worth $120 million in capital and had 38 branches across the country.

It had become the country’s second-largest commercial bank and was voted Bank of the Year Uganda in 2009, also winning the Banker of the Year Award in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 by the Financial Times in London—where Sudhir’s working life began.


Real Estate

The most impressive investments of the Ruparelia Group are in real estate. Sudhir, the Real Muloodi Guru invested part of this money in prime properties in Kampala.

He continued to re-invest profits from the business in Uganda and built the largest portfolio of properties in Uganda comprising prime commercial, industrial and residential properties mainly in Kampala.

Through his estate holding company, Meera Investments—named after his first daughter—Sudhir owns at least 300 residential and commercial properties in Uganda.

He has scores of apartment blocks, shopping centres, office buildings and tracts of valuable land.

He estimates his rent to be over $1000 million a year from his real estate, and all his high-end facilities in prime zones of Kampala and worth millions of dollars.

Under Meera Investments one of Sudhir’s arms, he acquired the Simbamanyo Building naming it Gender & Labour House, symbolising its major tenants – The Ministry of Labour, Gender and Social Development.

He owns the Kingdom Kampala building which is along Nile Avenue, 400 meters from the Parliamentary structure. It has offices that he lets out to various tenants.

The Parliament of Uganda is one of the tenants on this building paying a monthly rent of USh800 million equating to USh9 billion per year.


In 2013, Sudhir bought Victoria University, Kampala from Edulink Holdings Ltd to add to his educational institutions’ portfolio already comprising Kampala International School Uganda (KISU) and Kampala Parents’ School. The institutions are worth more than $40 million.

Victoria University, which is one of the major investments in Uganda’s education sector, provides hundreds of scholarships to students every year.

Victoria University opened in August 2013 and is accredited by the Uganda National Council for Higher Education (UNCHE).

The university offers short, professional, postgraduate, undergraduate and diploma courses. The main campus sits in the central business district, Jinja Road in Kampala.

With its excellent facilities, the university looks to revitalise higher education in Uganda. 

Victoria University is one of Uganda’s leading universities and a centre for academic excellence. The university also offers a learning approach that allows students who are working a chance to learn.

According to the letter addressed to the MPs, the university claims to be the only university providing access to education to working students to complete a program of three years within two to three years of work experience.

Tourism and Hospitality Sector

Sudhir Ruparelia has been enthusiastic about promoting hospitality and tourism in Uganda through the establishment of hotels and resorts which have been business hubs and tourist hangout places with world-standard services.

These hotels and resorts include; Speke Apartments, Speke Resort and Conference Center, Munyonyo Common Wealth Resort, Kabira Country Club, Dolphin Suites, Tourist Hotel and Forest Cottages and Speke at Bujagali Falls.

His five-star Speke Resort and Conference Centre, situated on 75 acres, by the shores of Lake Victoria near Kampala, played host to the 2007 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, which drew 59 leaders.

Built for the Commonwealth meeting, the resort has 780 rooms, 10 conference rooms, a 1,000-seat ballroom and nine meeting rooms that can accommodate groups ranging from 10 to 300 people.

It also has Uganda’s only Olympic size swimming pool, an equestrian centre and a host of bars and restaurants.

The plush hotel is worth around $165 million.

While officiating at the commemoration of World Tourism Day in Kampala, the Uganda Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Right Honorable Thomas Tayebwa applauded Sudhir for investing in Uganda, especially the Tourism and Hospitality sector.

“I know people who have been calling Dr. Sudhir to go and develop their countries. I know many, some of them were asking me, but this Sudhir man what did you give him as Uganda? The man has a lot of money and we would like him to come and invest in our areas,” he revealed.

“So chairman, I want to thank you and your team of investors who have looked at Uganda as your number one destination for investment,” Tayebwa said.

Media and Broadcasting

Sudhir also owns one of the most popular Radio Stations in Uganda known as Sanyu FM.

Dr Sudhir Ruparelia married Jyotsna in 1977. They are blessed with three children Rajiv, Meera, and Sheena. Since Meera, their elder daughter, married Ravi Kotecha in 2014, they also have a son-in-law to count on. Sheena is the younger daughter, and Rajiv is the only son they have.

Married since 1977, Sudhir Ruparelia and his wife Jyotsna Ruparelia celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary on February 4th last year 2022.

Sudhir has three grandchildren, and the second granddaughter was born in 2022, after son Rajiv Ruparelia and his wife Naiya Ruparelia welcomed a baby girl, born in United Kingdom’s St. Mary’s Hospital in London on April 7.

About Real Muloodi Rajiv Ruparelia

Rajiv Ruparelia was one time named in the Tuko list of Top 10 Richest Kids in Africa. The only son of the Ruparelia family, he serves as the Managing Director at Ruparelia Group.

Rajiv’s father and mentor, Dr Sudhir Ruparelia, introduced him to business at 17 years old where he employed him as a porter.

Later, his father employed him as a construction labourer, before promoting him to the position of a bank teller at Crane Bank.

Rajiv pursued a Bachelor of Business Administration degree at Regent’s University, London, where he majored in Financial Management.

He returned to Uganda in 2014 and is now in charge of the Group’s 28 businesses and over 8,000 people.

Real Estate and Hospitality Sector: The Father’s Son Indeed

Indeed an apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Real muloodi Rajiv Ruparelia with his father are constructing a lavish five-star Entebbe Speke Resort and Convention Centre.

Upon completion of the development, the luxurious USh3.6 trillion hotel and leisure park will be known as the Speke Resort Convention Centre Entebbe.

The facility will have 350 rooms, four restaurants, a marina for 50 boats, 10 presidential suites, a Convention Centre with a carrying capacity of 3500 persons, additional conference facilities of up to 1500 persons, small conference and meeting facilities, three wedding grounds and parking space for 1,500 cars.

“We have assembled a project management team that boasts significant experience in the construction industry and can give the project life. There can be no shortcuts in construction,” Rajiv says.

Also, recently on 21st March 2021, Rajiv and Sheena Ruparelia, Sudhir’s children, launched a new luxury condominium property.

They have named the nine-tower building ‘Bukoto Living’ after the affluent suburb of Bukoto in which it is located.

This latest Ruparelia project joins an emerging market of condominiums, bordering Naguru and Ntinda which boast 27 modern condominium homes.

From the rooftop, Ruparelia’s Bukoto Living exudes a 360 view of the whole of Greater Kampala. The property is about 20 minutes from Kampala’s city centre.

It boasts easy access to shopping, schools and medical facilities all within a 2 km radius.

Bukoto Living offers a swimming pool, rooftop bar, terrace, restaurant, and recreational area. The cost of the homes ranges between US$168,000 and US$ 362,250, depending on the size.

His Sports Hobby

Rajiv Ruparelia is known to have a weak pot for racing cars in Uganda and he has always made his father Sudhir Ruparelia proud as a winner or in the winning team.

Real estate muloodi Rajiv Ruparelia recently revealed details about his aspirations to build a multi-billion sports stadium project in Kololo.

“I want to build a football stadium, a volleyball court, tennis court, all-weather pitch, gym and a conference facility for all the sports fraternity to use,” said the property tycoon and rally car driver.

Rajiv says the move is to aid sporting talents in Kampala, which lack sports facilities, adding that there will be a nominal fee to use the facility.

According to Rajiv, the modern sports facility will offer employment opportunities to people, while also contributing as a source of government revenue through tax collection.

His Love for Music, Art and Entertainment

Furthermore, under the Ruparelia Foundation, a new state of art music recording studio has been unveiled.

It is not the first time for Ruparelia Group to engage in the music industry. Rajiv Ruparelia one member of the group has a soft spot for musicians.

Previously, he sponsored the education of young superstars including Fresh Kid and Felista under the Ruparelia Foundation scholarship scheme.

However, recently, they have taken a bigger step and established a music label and a complete recording studio.

Rajiv Ruparelia said: “The studio dubbed “Night Shift” will search for young people with talent and rendering them a chance to record their songs even when they can’t afford the high charges of studios.”

On 4th October 2021, Night Shift signed its first deal with Jasper Ekujju, a promising singer from Dokolo District.

The Ruparelia Foundation hosted Ekujju and his father Steven Omara in Kampala and promised to make Ekujju the biggest musician in Northern Uganda.

The Night Shift promises to promote young musicians from low-income backgrounds and create opportunities for them.

The studio aims to provide access to equipment and harness the power of music to transform the lives of young gifted musicians in Uganda.

The record label’s official slogan is “We’re all about today’s best music”, an impression that the studio shares with the father’s Radio Station Sanyu FM.

The studio aims to transform today’s music industry but also create a life-changing pattern among Ugandans countrywide.

About Real Muloodi Sheena Ruparelia

Sheena was born on December 23rd, 1988. She and her husband Mr Jay Sakaria have been married since 2016, and now have two children, both girls.

The youngest daughter of the Ruparelia family, Sheena started as Business Development Manager of the former Crane Bank until the bank closed in 2016.

She then joined the Group as a Director in 2017 after completing her Economics and Accounting degree at the City University, London.

In addition to being the Director of the Ruparelia Group, Sheena is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Ruparelia Foundation.

Sheena is primarily involved with the hospitality and property arms of the Group. Her passion is working with disadvantaged children in rural areas, and she has been instrumental in changing the lives of the orphans she has met in several of the orphanages the Ruparelia Foundation works with.

What Sudhir Ruparelia Owns

Sudhir’s investments run under the umbrella of the Ruparelia Group of Companies, which also holds high-value assets in the property development and management, insurance, education, media and hotel sectors.

The Birth of Meera Investments Ltd

When Sudhir Ruparelia started flourishing in the real estate business, he needed a company that will strictly handle Real Estate matters and that is when he decided to create Meera Investments Ltd which he named after his first daughter Meera Ruparelia.

Under Meera Investments Ltd, Sudhir Ruparelia has successfully ventured into the real estate industry, developing buildings, hotels, resorts and condominiums, to mention but a few making him Uganda’s most prominent Real Muloodi property owner.

His condominiums help to combat the housing shortage in Uganda.

The Ruparelia Foundation

Sudhir is the chairman of the Ruparelia Foundation a charitable arm of the Ruparelia Group which is currently credited for its social responsibility as it has embarked on giving back to the community through outreaches to the orphanages, sponsoring sports activities, education, disaster assistance, the conservation of animals and the environment, health camps and general welfare

Dr Sudhir & Mrs Jyotsna Ruparelia established the Ruparelia Foundation in 2012, and the foundation’s motto for all of its initiatives is “Enriching Lives Together.”

The foundation has been collaborating with several stakeholders over the past eleven years to promote good change in various areas across Uganda to raise living standards.

The Ruparelia Foundation has a sustainable plan for each programme it undertakes to achieve its goal of bringing about good and transformational change in the community on the simple belief that “we can achieve a lot when we work together.”

The foundation gives back to the community at the end of every year and calls for joint action from the public.

Through its various stakeholders, the foundation has been able to carry out more than 600 hundred interventions in supporting communities in different aspects deemed necessary based on community needs.

They have so far given out donations of close to UGX 1 billion since its inception.

Subsidiary Companies

As of January 2023, the companies of the Ruparelia Group include but are not limited to:

  • Premier Recruitment Limited – Kampala
  • Crane Management Services Limited – Kampala: one of Uganda’s leading real estate companies.
  • Delhi Public International School-Naguru, Kampala
  • Goldstar Insurance Company Limited – Kampala
  • Forest Cottages Kampala
  • The Ruparelia Foundation
  • Kabira Country Club – Bukoto, Kampala: This recently expanded to a shopping mall with a multimillion hotel with a 269-apartment complex.
  • Kampala International School Uganda
  • Kampala Parents’ School
  • Kampala Speke Hotel – Kampala
  • Meera Investments Limited – Kampala: It is the real estate arm of the Ruparelia Group.
  • Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort – Munyonyo: Sudhir has shares in Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort with the Ugandan Government.
  • Premier Roses Limited – Entebbe
  • – Kampala
  • Speke Apartments Limited – Kampala
  • Speke Resort and Conference Center – Munyonyo, Kampala
  • Kampala Tourist Hotel – Kampala
  • Victoria University Uganda – Kampala
  • Vcon Construction Uganda Limited
  • The group owns commercial and real estate interests in Rwanda, South Sudan, the United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates.
  • Pearl Business Park: In July 2021, the Group announced plans to establish an upscale business park on 18 acres (7 ha) that the group owns in the city of Kampala. The park will include a shopping mall, a five-star hotel and a modern hospital.
  • Kingdom Kampala Building: It’s mostly a mall and a shipping complex. It has 12 floors with 200 rooms. But what’s praiseworthy is the jaw-dropping parking space that can hold roughly 450 vehicles. It will also house Kingdom Kampala Hotel.
  • Kingdom Kampala Hotel: Real Muloodi News reported that Dr Sudhir Ruparelia revealed plans to build a 200-room Kingdom Kampala Hotel estimated to be completed by 2026 with construction starting this year 2023.
  • Entebbe Speak Resort and Conventional Center: Still under construction.
  • The Ruparelia Residence: Besides other properties owned by his firm, the Ruparelia Residence is one of a kind. Sudhir owns a multi-million dollar house. It is worth USD10 million and is located on Plot 9, Kawalya-Kaggwa Close in lower Kololo.
Awards and Honours

In his office, Sudhir’s wide collection of awards is impressive. He has won almost all of the top investment awards in Uganda, including the Presidential Export Award for 2002, 2006, 2005 and 2009.

He also received an honorary Doctorate of Law in Business from the Uganda Pentecostal University for his investments in the Ugandan economy.

In 2020, Nepal’s president, Devi Bhandari, made Ruparelia the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Nepal in Uganda. He was chosen so that he could develop Uganda’s economy.

On World Tourism Day in Kampala on September 27, 2022. The Chairman of the Ruparelia Group of Companies, Dr Sudhir Ruparelia, received the Hotelier Award for Passion and Leadership in Hospitality and Tourism Development in Uganda in honour of his Speke Group of Hotels.

Key Takeaways from Sudhir Ruparelia

Surely, Sudhir Ruparelia is such a man to be an inspiration to many aspirants for a wealthy living and comfortable lifestyle. He has never shied away from sharing secrets to his constant success.

When asked what guides his investment, Sudhir says it is instinctive risk-taking rather than feasibility studies.

“In Africa, feasibility studies are a waste of time. It’s about ability to see opportunity and take it up. If you did feasibility studies for a country like Uganda, you would never do anything,” he says.

His business empire employs tens of thousands of Ugandans, in a country where jobs are extremely scarce and young people struggle to earn a living.

“This is how I define success. My success is when I see that I started a project, I created employment for people and at the same time, the people who are using my establishments are also making money from it. That is my success,” says Sudhir.


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