Maria Kiwanuka is a Ugandan economist, businesswoman and politician who served as Minister of Finance in the Cabinet of Uganda from 27 May 2011 to 1 March 2015. Since 2015 she has been Senior Advisor to the President of Uganda on financial matters, responsible for the Bretton Woods Institutions.
Prior to her appointment to cabinet, she was the Managing Director of Radio One and its sister station Radio Two known locally as Akaboozi FM, in Uganda, in which her family owns majority shareholding. She also served as a non-Executive board member on the Board of Directors of the Aga Khan Foundation (East Africa), the Nabagereka Development Trust, Nkumba University, Uganda Development Bank and Stanbic Bank Uganda Limited.
Background and education
She was born in Kampala, the capital of Uganda on 12 May 1955. Maria Kiwanuka attended Gayaza High School, a prestigious all-girls boarding high school, located about 26 kilometres (16 mi), by road, northeast of Kampala, graduating in 1973. In 1974 she entered Makerere University, Uganda's oldest institution of higher education. She graduated in 1977 with the degree of Bachelor of Commerce (BCom). She later pursued further education at the London Business School in the United Kingdom, graduating with the degree of Master of Business Administration (MBA).
Beginning around 1980, she worked for more than ten years with the World Bank, as an Economist and Financial Analyst for the East Asian and Southern African regions. Specifically she covered projects in Burma, Malawi, Swaziland and Uganda. After she left the World Bank, she returned to her native Uganda and went into private business. Together with members of her family, she founded businesses in the areas of broadcasting, publishing, real estate and economic consulting. She has served as a financial adviser to the Nabagereka of Buganda since the early 2000s. In a cabinet reshuffle on 1 March 2015 she was dropped from Cabinet and appointed Senior Financial Advisor to the President.
Maria Kiwanuka is married to Mohan Kiwanuka, the Managing Director of Oscar Industries Limited. In 2007, four years prior to Maria Kiwanuka's being appointed Finance Minister, her husband was listed as one of the wealthiest people in Uganda.