As a long-standing member of Unifi Zambia’s executive team – and now acting as Unifi’s interim country manager for Uganda – Kawang’a Kapijimpanga is already making her mark on the continent’s vast and complex business landscape.
Remarkably humble for a leader of such clout, she has been a key senior team member in Unifi’s expansion in Zambia and in establishing the upward growth path that the innovative lender currently enjoys.
After honing her adaptability and understanding of complex markets during her time in Zambia, Kapijimpanga has now brought her skills to Kampala, Uganda. Here, in a new business environment teeming with unique challenges and opportunities, she continues her learning journey.
Now, temporarily at the helm of Unifi in Uganda, Kapijimpanga confronts a significant challenge: transforming the microfinance sector to rebuild public trust. “The sector faces a reputational crisis, as Ugandans have been burned in the past by traditional microfinanciers that rely on secured loans – often guaranteed against crucial personal assets like their homes and cars,” she says.
Yet, Kapijimpanga sees these challenges as opportunities for Unifi, to differentiate itself and win the trust of Uganda’s people. She says Unifi’s revolutionary business model – which hinges on providing unsecured credit simply, and quickly – is set to reshape the country’s personal finance landscape.
Kapijimpanga’s leadership encourages a culture of questioning and learning. “It’s not about having all the answers, but seeking them,” she says.
With this level-headed approach, she steers a dynamic and proactive team, capable of tackling the challenges presented by Uganda’s economic landscape: one in which she sees abundant potential and a prosperous future.
Mentored by Unifi CEO Michiel Le Roux, Kapijimpanga’s leadership style integrates a synergy of strategic and creative thinking with a profound understanding of people and society in Africa.
Her characteristic leadership approach lies in inspiring action, as opposed to just issuing instructions, and her ethos as a leader and business trailblazer is well encapsulated in her favourite saying: “If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.”
As Unifi grows, Kapijimpanga’s leadership style adapts in parallel, acknowledging the shift in challenges from those faced by a small team to those of a burgeoning multinational company. The growth of Unifi not only enhances her work’s impact on her team but also extends to the broader societies in which Unifi operates.
Kapijimpanga’s journey is a testament to tenacity, the power of continuous learning, and the impact of adaptive leadership. “It’s about the journey itself, the lessons learnt and the difference made.”
At the forefront of rapidly evolving fintech trends on the continent, Unifi is harnessing the power of data and tech, while maintaining the human touch. As country manager, Kapijimpanga is shaping not only Unifi’s exciting future on Ugandan soil but also playing a part in the future of the country’s microfinance sector.