From rally legend to business tycoon: Emka’s extraordinary journey

Published: Thu 7 Dec 2023, 10:55 AM

Last updated: Thu 7 Dec 2023, 11:05 AM

From Ugandan roots to global philanthropy, the inspiring story of Emmanuel Katto

By Seraphina Quinn

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In the world of rallying across most of East and Southern Africa, 'Emka' aka Emmanuel Katto, is synonymous with fearless driving style and entertaining while behind the wheel, but his life’s journey goes far beyond the racetrack. Over the last 12 years, this rally legend and successful businessman has made the UAE his second home, building an empire that spans continents and a legacy of philanthropy that is changing lives in Africa.

Born in Uganda, Katto’s fascination with speed and adventure began at an early age. His name became a household staple in the corridors of motorsport in the region, particularly in the iconic Safari Rally, a race renowned for its gruelling terrain and challenging conditions. With numerous outings coupled with his entertaining driving style, Emka earned his place among Uganda’s rally legends. However, he knew that life had more to offer than just the thrill of the race.

Today, he is a formidable force with investments in enterprise IT, real estate, oil and procurement spanning across Africa and Europe. His business acumen and leadership have earned him a reputation as a visionary entrepreneur, creating endless jobs and opportunities. Yet, it’s not just about profits for Katto, he has always believed in giving back to the communities that raised him or supported him throughout his life’s journey. This commitment to making a difference led him to the establishment of the Emka Foundation.

This foundation is his personal project and endeavour to give back to society, dedicated to empowering communities, especially in his home country of Uganda and neighbouring countries like Kenya. The “Emka Foundation” focuses on three key areas: nutrition, access to clean drinking water and self-help groups. These pillars represent Emka’s unwavering commitment to addressing some of the most pressing challenges faced by underprivileged communities.

Nutrition: Through various initiatives and partnerships, the Foundation strives to combat malnutrition and ensure that children and their families have access to nutritious foods. Katto understands that a healthy population is the foundation of any thriving society.

Access to clean drinking water: In many parts of Africa, clean drinking water is a luxury. Katto’s Foundation has launched projects to provide communities with sustainable sources of clean water, reducing the risk of waterborne diseases and improving overall well-being.

Self-help groups: Emka firmly believes in the power of communities coming together to uplift themselves. His foundation supports self-help groups and provides them with resources and training to become self-sustainable and economically independent.

Despite his global success, Emka remains deeply connected to his Ugandan roots and the broader African community. He visits these communities regularly, personally overseeing most of the projects initiated by his foundation and interacting with the people whose lives he is transforming.

Emka’s story is a testament to the power of determination, entrepreneurship, and a commitment to making the world a better place. From rallying to business success and philanthropy, he has proved that one person can drive change on a global scale.

— Seraphina Quinn is a business journalist.

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