Mr. Ebenezer Asante the MTN Group Vice President of Southern & East Africa and Ghana (SEAGHA) region, has today handed over a cheque worth UGX 20bn to the Hon. Frank Tumwebaze, Cabinet Minister of Information Technology and Communications (ICT), that will go towards the work done by the Rural Communications Development Fund (RCDF).
Speaking at the handover that took place at the offices of the Ministry of Information, Communications Technology and National Guidance, Mr. Ebenezer Asante stated that whereas it was a regulatory requirement to contribute to the RCDF, MTN Uganda was more than pleased to be part of the advancement of the ICT sector in the country.
“We are extremely happy with our contribution to the RCDF which has been able to achieve progressive penetration of ICT infrastructure into previously un-served and under-served areas of Uganda”, said Mr. Ebenezer Asante of MTN Group.
The RCDF is a Universal Service Fund (USF) established in 2003 that is managed and administered by an independent board set up by the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC). The main purpose of the RCDF is to address issues of Connectivity, Access, Affordability and Equity within the ICT sector. UCC retains the roles of oversight and policy over the RCDF.
Some of the projects implemented by RCDF include; Internet points of presence, Internet Cafes, ICT Training Centres, Public Payphones, District Web Portals, Multi-Purpose Community Tele-centres, Postal Services, School ICT laboratories, Health ICT facilities, Voice Network Sites, Content Development Projects and Local Governance Projects.
Hon. Frank Tumwebaze reinstated the Governments position in advancing ICT opportunities to Ugandans irrespective of their social, physical or economic background.
“The Government strongly believes that no one should be kept out of the ICT space; everyone should be able to exploit the opportunities that arise within the ICT sector irrespective of their location, physical inability, age, gender, level of literacy, technology literacy, or language. That is why the RCDF is very important in advancing the benefits of the ICT sector to the larger Ugandan population; we therefore thank MTN Uganda for their continued dedication in meeting their obligations towards this fund” said the Hon. Minister. Frank Tumwebaze.
Prior to his appointment as VP of the SEAGHA Region, Mr. Ebenezer Asante was the CEO of MTN Ghana and MTN Rwanda. For both operations, he was responsible for providing sound human resource leadership and ensuring financial and organizational profitability and sustainability of the operating units. The MTN SEAGHA region comprises the mobile operations in Ghana, Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia, South Sudan, Botswana and Swaziland, as well as the MTN Internet service providers in Kenya, Namibia and Botswana.
“We have been known to be the only telecom operator that always complies and consistently contributes towards the RCDF. Since 2003, MTN Uganda has contributed over Ugx 121 billion to UCC towards the RCDF. This, in addition to being the top tax payer in Uganda contributing over Ugx 3.9 trillion shillings, makes us very proud of our leadership role towards the development of the country and also investing in the ICT sector. This is in line with our strategic vision of leading the delivery of a bold new digital world to our customers and the markets we operate in” continued Mr. Ebenezer Asante of MTN Group.
The visit by the MTN Group VP of SEAGHA is part of a two day working visit. While here, he will meet and engage with various stakeholders within the ICT industry including UCC and also meet MTN senior management and staff.
The Minister of ICT and the MTN Group VP of SEAGHA discussed at length on various pertinent issues affecting the ICT sector and the larger telecom landscape. The meeting ended on a high note with both parties agreeing to work closely together towards the advancement of the ICT sector in Uganda.
The MTN Group VP of SEAGHA was accompanied by MTN Uganda’s CEO Wim Vanhelleputte, MTN Uganda General Manager for Corporate Services & Chief Legal Counsel Mr. Anthony Katamba and MTN Uganda Senior Manager in charge of Corporate Affairs Ms. Justina Ntabgoba. Director Legal Affairs. Mrs. Susan Marian Atengo Wegoye, UCC Secretary and Director of Legal Affairs, represented the regulatory body at the event.