Increasing small business lending in Uganda

Africa/Middle East


Motorcycle taxis – also known as “bodas” – are a critical source of affordable transportation in Uganda, and a key source of employment for drivers. But these drivers often cannot access the financing to purchase their own bodas. As a result, they work long hours for limited income and lack financial security.


Solution and Impact

A $5 million loan is helping Tugende Limited expand its lease-to-own financing to boda drivers so that they can buy their own motorcycles in less than two years through affordable weekly payments. Ownership enables these drivers to become small business owners, increase their earnings and invest in their families and their communities.

"This financing is helping us provide financial security and higher income for thousands of drivers."
- Tugende Founder and CEO Michael Wilkerson

Tugende, which means “let’s go,” was founded by Michael Wilkerson, an American who spent time as a Fulbright scholar and a journalist in Uganda. The business has tapped into strong demand and has expanded from 200 leases in 2013 to more than 10,000 active clients today. Tugende is using DFC financing to embark on its next stage of growth and expand beyond Kampala into other cities. In addition to promoting boda ownership, Tugende offers drivers training on safety, financial planning and customer service.

When drivers can purchase their own bodas, they typically earn twice as much as they did driving a leased taxi. These boda owners have been able to purchase land, build homes, send their children to school, and in some cases start new businesses such as raising livestock or cultivating maize. Many of them have hired additional employees, underscoring how small loans can collectively have a major impact and foster broader economic growth.