MTN Uganda CEO Sylva Mulinge (2nd R) receives a musical instrument from Janzi Band’s James Ssewakiryanga as a welcome to Uganda. Looking on is the Minister for ICT and National Guidance Dr. Chris Baryomunsi (L) and MTN Chairman Charles Mbire. Courtesy photo.
Pomp and fanfare visited Kampala Serena Hotel on Dec.08 as stakeholders celebrated MTN Uganda’s new Chief Executive Officer, Sylvia Mulinge.
Ms. Mulinge assumed office on 1st October 2022, succeeding Wim Vanhelleputte who was deployed by the MTN Group to spearhead growth markets in West Africa.
Those in attendance included; the South African High Commissioner to Uganda H.E Lulama Xingwana, Minister for ICT and National Guidance, Dr. Chris Baryomunsi, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance, Dr. Aminah Zawedde, Uganda Bankers Association Executive Director, Wilbroad Owor, and Stanbic Bank Holdings CEO Andre Mashanda, among others.
MTN Uganda Chairman of Board of Directors Mr. Charles Mbire, who hosted the guests to a cocktail dinner in honour of the new CEO, said Ms. Mulinge is a seasoned executive with extensive experience. He said the telecom company is in safe hands.
“I assure our stakeholders, business partners, shareholders, and the government that MTN Uganda is in safe hands,” he said.
He said MTN Uganda has since listing on the Uganda Securities Exchange on 6 December 2021recorded tremendous achievements both in terms of revenue and subscriber numbers.
He said, for instance, that the company recorded a 21% growth in net profit to Shs292.65 billion for the nine months ending September 2022, up from Shs241.9bn recorded last year.
He said the number of subscribers has increased from 14.9 million to 17 million and Shs447.55 billion has been paid to shareholders as dividends.
“An additional Shs120.9 billion declared as dividends recently will also be paid to shareholders by 22nd December 2022,” he said, adding that MTN Uganda has also been able to enhance financial inclusion through technology.
Ms. Mulinge joined MTN Uganda from Kenya’s Safaricom PLC where she served as the Chief Consumer Business Officer at Safaricom PLC since 2018, driving the company’s customer obsession strategy to deliver long-term shareholder growth as well as creating preference for the Safaricom brand.
She also held various roles since joining the company in 2006, including Prepay Product Manager, Head of retail, Head of Safaricom Business – Sales, General Manager, Enterprise Business, and Director, Consumer Business.
Mulinge began her career in 2004 at Unilever Kenya, working as the Assistant Regional Brand Manager in the laundry division, based in South Africa.
She has received several awards including the Moran of the Order of the
Burning Spear 2022 in Kenya, which is a prestigious presidential award that is given for distinguished service.
She appeared in the second publication of 100 Most Influential African Women in 2020 by Avance Media and was acknowledged as Kenya’s Top 25 Women in Digital by Digitalk.
She was also named among the Top 40 Women Under 40 in Kenya by Business Daily Africa, a premier daily business newspaper published by the Nation Media Group.
Ms. Mulinge thanked the stakeholders for the warm welcome since she arrived in the country to head MTN Uganda.
She acknowledged that indeed she will be managing a big business in terms of contribution to the population, digitalization and solving societal challenges and thus require the support of each stakeholder to steer MTN Uganda to greater heights.
“My dream has always been to work for companies that do meaningful work that causes a positive shift in the issues we face as continent. The MTN ambition, to lead digital solutions for Africa’s progress, is at the heart of solving the economic and social challenges we face as Africa,” she said.
Ms. Mulinge said she looks forward to more engagements with the various stakeholders to create a conducive and sustainable operating environment, which will help close the digital divide and ensure that no one is left behind in terms of connectivity, innovation and digitalization.
Dr. Baryomunsi, meanwhile, said the government is ready to support MTN Uganda’s new leadership.
He thanked MTN Uganda for the cordial relationship it has had with the Ugandan government and for the best services rendered to the local population, especially concerning digitalization.
“We take this issue of digital transformation as a priority area of government. We are doing everything possible to create a digital ecosystem that will create a conducive environment to facilitate the work of MTN and others,” he said.
“We are now working hard to make sure that there’s connectivity to all parts of the country. We have been laying a national backbone infrastructure to see that we have connectivity countrywide.”
Dr.Baryomunsi said the government is also working with the neighbouring countries on the issue of access to smartphone devices to drive uptake of smartphones and consequently lead to a reduction in the cost of the internet.
“We are also engaging technology companies to bring those gadgets through negotiation so that many Ugandans can afford smartphones,” he said adding that the telecom’s issue of the spectrum is also being addressed to facilitate faster service telecom services to the customers.
The high costs of smartphones occasioned by numerous taxes have been blamed on low smartphone penetration and high internet costs.