Company information

Delivering the goods

It has been quite the journey for Kiboko since it began life in Uganda in 2002 distributing roofing sheets. Since then the firm has developed into a leading distributor of pharmaceuticals and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) in its home market, as well as in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan. The company’s Abacus Pharma division is the largest pharmaceutical distributor in Uganda, while its Kiboko Enterprises arm is the largest FMCG distributor in the country. It also has a Kiboko Financial Services subsidiary that offers insurance brokerage.

“We strive hard to provide high-quality products at affordable prices, with easy access,” says Managing Director Ramesh Babu. “The Kiboko and Abacus brands have been tried and trusted names for the past 20 years.”

“We strive hard to provide high-quality products at affordable prices, with easy access”

The company’s growth has in part been helped by a Ugandan Government policy to support locally made goods in its public procurement process. But just as important has been Kiboko’s ability to take advantage of wider economic and social developments in the region.

“Rising disposable income encouraged us to launch our cosmetics and consumer durables product lines,” explains Ramesh. “We have also expanded heavily into over-the-counter medicines, and the increase in life expectancy in East Africa led us to launch lifestyle-disorder products and prescription-based pharmaceuticals.” Kiboko will need to remain agile if it’s to compete with Chinese and Indian firms in the supply of generic medicines. The company feels that more automation and advances in technology should help, particularly as the distributor plans to continue expanding into new service areas.

  • 100 - The minimum number of outlets Kiboko aims to have in East Africa in five years’ time

Kiboko is aiming to double the size of its workforce (which currently numbers 1,000) over the next five years and to double the number of outlets in East Africa from more than 50 to at least 100. Ramesh adds: “We also wish to forward integrate by opening new hospitals, and to backward integrate by opening our own retail pharmacies and showrooms.”