MTN Uganda unveils gaming platform dubbed ‘MTN GoGames’

MTN Uganda launched the first FREE gaming service of its kind in Africa. Dubbed “MTN GoGames”, the service offers MTN customers access to a huge catalogue of mobile games, for FREE! Customers can access and play games without paying a fee or buying data. For advanced players, the service also has a selection of premium games, which may be played at a small fee of as low as  Ugx 500 per day or UGX 3000 per month.

MTN GoGames is accessed www.mtn.gogames.run on almost any web browser on your phone or device making it easy and convenient for customers to play games, without having to download additional apps. The range of games is diverse from sports, action, education and simple games Snakes and Ladders, Number Memory, Candy Rush and Crappy bird, among others. It also includes our own native games such as Mweso, Ludo, Kwepena, Hide and Seek locally known as Kakebe.

“At MTN, we know that gaming is fun, so we created a platform that delivers simple fun to any of our customers at any point in time. The past year has without a doubt been intense, and even as we take on this year, several serious situations lie ahead of us. We however believe that MTN GoGames will enable us to take a break from all the seriousness and have some fun even if it is just for a few minutes as we unwind”, said Somdev Sen, Chief Marketing Officer of MTN.

MTN GoGames is a fun product that can be enjoyed by all people ranging from children to adults, men, and women; including those without prior gaming experience since the games are simple and intuitive with the sole aim of delivering fun and relaxation. We are excited to partner with MTN to offer this service; said Apurv Modi, MD & Co-Founder of ATechnos.

A recent December 2020 study by Research gate scholars asserts that gaming in moderation has been found to be beneficial in the cognitive, motivational, emotional and social domains of life.

For more information visit mtn.gogames.run.

www.mtn.co.ug

UN launches hunt for startups and enterprises changing the face of food systems

The UN Food Systems Summit has announced a competition to identify the best small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from across the world who are transforming food systems for a better tomorrow.

The Summit has launched a unique contest, named “Best Small Business: Good Food for All”, which will surface and name 50 small and medium-sized businesses worldwide whose work best exemplifies the Summit’s aim of delivering all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by providing healthy, sustainable food and livelihoods for all.

The competition recognises those playing a key role in “building back better” from the pandemic while calling attention to the challenges they have been battling to overcome. The pandemic has disproportionately affected smaller businesses across the globe, especially those led by women. For example, the revenues of European SMEs alone saw reductions by as much as 70 per cent, according to one survey, while the World Bank estimates that businesses in developing countries were especially hard hit, with revenues down 70 per cent at the peak of the crisis, compared to only 45 per cent in OECD countries.

The Summit will celebrate those playing their part to transform through innovation the way small businesses produce, consume and dispose of food, offering lessons for building greater economic resilience and sustainability.

“All around the world, leaders need to pay attention to the ‘hidden’ contribution of the smaller businesses that are nourishing communities, creating jobs and regenerating nature,” said Dr. Agnes Kalibata, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for the 2021 Food Systems Summit.

“These everyday businesses and their employees are the vanguard of efforts to strengthen our food systems and the small business competition aims to celebrate these efforts and to showcase their inspirational stories. In line with the Summit that is open to people everywhere and leaving no one behind, we encourage such enterprises to raise their voices and help us understand what support they need in order to flourish.”

The competition will provide an opportunity for the Summit to showcase the best small businesses at the Pre-Summit to be held in Rome in July 2021.

Listening to the diverse voices of small businesses – from veterinary surgeries to cafes, producer cooperatives and digital start-ups – is a key component of the Summit process to identify bold, new solutions for improving food systems.

The competition will uncover not only the small businesses leading the charge for more sustainable, inclusive and resilient food systems but also ways in which they can be supported to scale up their trades sustainably.

Enterprises around the world that help provide healthy food to their communities and create jobs for local people are invited to apply and share ideas and suggestions for how their countries and economies can maximize their positive impact.

Each submission will help inform global leaders with the priorities and resources these businesses need to thrive, and all applicants will be invited to future Food Systems Summit events.

Further details about the competition and application process can be viewed here

Contact: Katie Taft katie.taft@un.org

About the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit

The UN Food Systems Summit was announced by the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, on World Food Day last October as a part of the Decade of Action for delivery on the SDGs by 2030. The aim of the Summit is to deliver progress on all 17 of the SDGs through a food systems approach, leveraging the interconnectedness of food systems to global challenges such as hunger, climate change, poverty and inequality. More information about the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit and a list of Advisory Committee and Scientific Group members can be found online.

www.un.org

Access Bank partners with Exuus to financially empower collective saving schemes through SAVE

Access Bank (Rwanda) Plc in partnership with EXUUS LTD have introduced “SAVE 2.0” a digital solution that aims at encouraging people to save collectively as a group or even friends.

SAVE is a digital wallet for collective saving schemes that can be downloaded from Google play or Apple store as well as be accessed by dialing *777#. The users will be able to save collectively and get interest of 6% per year on their funds deposited into Access Bank Rwanda. Beyond savings, SAVE enables the users to lend each other at affordable rates and conveniently manage their loan repayments.

“Access Bank Rwanda is committed to delivering steady economic growth by
leveraging digital solutions to drive financial inclusion and improve access to finance through innovative offerings.” said Oluseun Onasoga, the Executive director of Business Development. He added that the partnership with EXUUS aims to foster the development of digital solutions that will cater to the financial needs of the underserved and unserved in the Rwandan Community.

“Looking back in 2016 when the first countrywide map for informal saving groups was published by BNR & Access to Finance Rwanda, little was known about their reach and impact.

It is gratifying that not only the same groups that were almost financially excluded are now linked with Telcos (MTN Mobile Money & Airtel Money) but even better linked with a world-class commercial bank like Access Bank.
We are forward-looking, as millions of Rwandans access a wide variety of formal financial services that were previously inaccessible and become more financially resilient as a result of this partnership” said Shema Steve, the CEO of EXUUS.

Saving within the SAVE app will enable the users to sustain themselves and their families. The minimum contribution of savings and social fund is Rwf 500.

rwanda.accessbankplc.com

MTN Group reports resilient first quarter 2021 results as data and fintech services accelerate

MTN Group today announced a strong and resilient operational and financial performance in the first quarter of 2021, with growth in service revenue exceeding medium-term guidance, driven by gains in data and fintech revenue.

“The MTN Group has delivered a solid Q1 2021 trading performance, with service revenue and EBITDA margins expanding on the back of continued commercial momentum and resilient networks,” said MTN Group President and Chief Executive Officer Ralph Mupita, adding that the Group’s Ambition 2025 strategy had gained execution traction during challenging COVID-19 macroeconomic conditions in the quarter.

In constant currency terms, service revenue grew by 17.8% to R42.3 billion at end-March 2021, earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose by 21.3% and the EBITDA margin widened to 44.2% from 42.7%.

“The overall Group results were supported by double-digit service revenue growth from our large operations and continued focus on our expense efficiency programme. We are encouraged in particular by the strong performance of MTN South Africa, as well as accelerating data and fintech services across the group in the period,” he said.

MTN South Africa (MTN SA) recorded strong performances across the consumer, enterprise and wholesale businesses. Underpinned by market share gains and a subscriber base of 32.1 million, an 11.8% increase in service revenue and good cost containment drove a 3.2 percentage point expansion in MTN SA’s EBITDA margin to 39.8%. MTN Nigeria and MTN Ghana – both of which reported Q1 results in the past week – continued to build on their solid operational execution and commercial momentum.

Group data revenue grew by almost a third amid sustained demand for work-from-home services, digital entertainment as well as online education offerings. Fintech revenue also accelerated, expanding by more than 31% as the value of fintech transactions increased by 87% to US$53 billion.

“We are pleased with the momentum in driving our platform strategy and the fintech separation project is progressing well, in line with our Ambition 2025 strategy,” said Mupita. “MTN Rwanda recently received a licence to operate a separate fintech entity, bringing the number of structurally separated entities to 12 (out of 16 fintech markets). We continue to progress our work in establishing the Topco structure for fintech, and anticipate that this will be concluded before Q1 2022.”

The Group’s strong overall performance was despite a 1.7 million decrease in subscriber numbers to 277.9 million as MTN Nigeria’s subscribers declined because of restrictions on all new SIM sales and activations in that market. In this context, the Group’s active data subscribers declined by 1.3 million to 115.6 million, while the number of MoMo customers increased by 0.2 million to 46.6 million. Excluding the impacts of MTN Nigeria, MTN Group total subscribers and active data subscribers increased by 3.4 million and 1.3 million respectively.

COVID-19 continued to impact lives and livelihoods across the world, including at MTN. By 31 March 2021, the Group had reported 1 557 COVID-19 infections and mourned the loss of 11 MTN employees to the virus across our markets. We continue to prioritise the health and safety of our people.

Alongside equity partners, in April we submitted a bid for one of two telecoms licences to operate in Ethiopia, Africa’s second most-populous country which represents the last and largest telco liberalisation opportunity in the world. MTN’s participation in the bid process aligns with our pan-Africa focus and capital allocation framework.

The Group remains committed to its asset realisation programme (ARP) and is confident of making progress on realising the 29% stake in tower company IHS Group in the short term. This is key to MTN’s ARP. IHS continues to explore an IPO of its shares in line with its public statement made in August 2020.

“Looking ahead, we are focused on executing our Ambition 2025 strategy, driving growth, de-leveraging the Holdco balance sheet and unlocking value, whilst navigating the impacts of the pandemic,” concluded Mupita. 

www.mtn.com

MTN Rwanda lists by introduction on the Rwanda Stock Exchange

MTN Rwanda  has become the first mobile network operator to list its shares on the Rwanda Stock Exchange (RSE).

As part of the listing by introduction, Crystal Telecom Limited’s shareholders now hold a direct 20% stake in MTN Rwanda and can trade their MTN Rwanda shares directly on the RSE. These shares were previously held by Crystal Telecom PLC.

MTN Rwanda CEO Mitwa Ng’ambi said the listing was good news for MTN and Rwanda: “We are honoured to be the first telecommunications network provider in Rwanda to be listed on the RSE. We are committed to further establishing our presence, expanding our connectivity, driving digital inclusion and contributing to the sector and economy.”

She said MTN was proud of its journey in Rwanda in the past 23 years: “We are grateful to our customers, partners and stakeholders and look forward to this new chapter. Listing on the RSE is a major milestone for us and the platform for even better and bolder things to come.”

MTN Group President and CEO Ralph Mupita said the listing demonstrated MTN’s commitment to Rwanda: “This listing will assist in deepening the Rwandan capital markets by broadening public ownership over time and will also establish the basis for a new and emerging telecoms and technology asset class on the exchange.”

This listing by introduction is part of MTN Group’s work to continuously promote local ownership and participation in MTN businesses across its markets and provides an opportunity for Rwandans to invest directly in the country’s leading network operator. 

“MTN Rwanda joining the Rwanda Stock Exchange as we celebrate 10 years of operations as an Exchange is another big milestone for our market. We hope that the powerful brand recognition brought by MTN Rwanda on the market will attract more private sector companies both locally and internationally to join the market and enjoy the benefits of listed companies,” said Pierre Celestin Rwabukumba, CEO of the Rwanda Stock Exchange.

Ahead of its listing by introduction on the RSE, MTN Rwanda changed its status from a private company to a Public Liability Company (PLC) effective December 2020. The full company name has therefore been changed from MTN Rwandacell Limited to MTN Rwandacell PLC.

www.mtn.co.rw

Rwanda Improves Land Management Processes with GIS Technology

Begun in 2008, Rwanda’s land registration reform has fostered incremental improvements in the Rwanda land administration processes. The first version of LAIS helped support the initial collection and management of large amounts of land administration and legal data for the development of land-use plans at the national and district levels.

In collaboration with Kadaster International, RLMUA used the Esri ArcGIS to develop and deploy LAIS version 4.0, which is improving the current process of titling and certification of land throughout the country.

The land authority is responsible for implementing the National Land Tenure Reform Program, as provided by the National Land Policy and the law governing the land in Rwanda.

Over the last two decades, Rwanda has invested considerably in land administration. Most recently, the successful deployment of LAIS version 4.0 in 2019 and the adoption of Esri’s Land Administration Modernization Program (LAMP) have provided the country with advanced GIS technology and support to meet the evolving challenge of comprehensive land governance.

Esri’s LAMP is a grant program that allows resource-constrained countries and their cadastral agencies access to the Esri enterprise platform, supporting the upgrade to LAIS version 4.0 and mapping work.

“RLMUA got multiple benefits from implementing LAMP, such as providing better and [speedier] service delivery to the population, more consistent data; eliminated errors in land titles; and [provided] a better protection of the land titles [and] web map services, among others,” said Espérance Mukamana, director general and chief registrar of land titles, RLMUA.

The new system overcame technical challenges encountered in the previous LAIS versions by combining previously separated textual and GIS components into one system and better aligning with the current IT system’s security procedures. The new system also ensures alignment with the ISO 19152:2012 Land Administration Domain Model (LADM), which supports standardization and integration of land data.

LAIS version 4.0 now provides users with web access to up-to-date spatial data through mapping services, which can be shared seamlessly. It also integrates interactive national land data visualizations that share real-time statistics on land use through charts available on a central dashboard.

Additionally, the new system is enhancing transparency and providing users with the spatial tools and data they need to perform land-use analysis for their own land and, collectively, to better plan for the sustainable development of the country.

RLMUA has gained remarkable experience and results by using GIS for land management services, according to Mukamana, who says the technology has “led to a better understanding and implementation of the land management system and helped RLMUA achieve its targets efficiently.”

LAIS version 4.0 places Rwanda among the few countries on the continent with the level of advanced geospatial technology that can operationalize land administration and use capabilities while also enabling real-time monitoring of land rights and use for potential investments in the country. The entire system has proved to be a vital tool that informs decision-makers on any changes made to land-related transactions.

“This project represents a lighthouse for Africa,” said Sohail Elabd, Esri Global Business Development general manager, Middle East and Africa region.”Many governments are looking at ways to increase revenue through registration of land. Esri technology, provisioned through the LAMP, provides a set of out-of-the-box tools to do so. We are excited to be working with RLMUA to make this happen.”

rlma.rw

Mastercard announces a fresh investment in Rwandan female-focused eCommerce platform Kasha

Mastercard has today announced a new investment in Rwandan female-focused eCommerce platform Kasha. The companies say they will continue their shared efforts to ensure women across emerging markets have essential access to health and personal care products along with the information required to support everyday hygiene needs.

Combining online and offline capabilities, Kasha’s platform allows women across rural and urban locations to make confidential personal care orders. By utilizing the full product catalogue available online, or by placing orders using basic mobile handsets, women can search, order and pay for hygiene products that are discretely delivered to them by local micro-entrepreneurs, thus also helping local store owners grow their business. 

Mastercard’s investment is the next step on a journey the organizations have been on since Kasha joined Mastercard StartPath in 2019. Since joining the award-winning start-up engagement program, Mastercard has worked with Kasha to integrate digital payment acceptance across its eCommerce platform, and most recently the partners joined forces to deliver virus, hygiene and protection products to families across Kenya in efforts to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Kasha’s goal is to ensure women in emerging markets get the products, information, and services they need for their health, self-care, and well-being,” said, Joanna Bichsel, Kasha’s Founder and CEO “I am thrilled that we are continuing our collaboration with Mastercard and that we not only have a committed investor with shared values, but also an innovative partner as we continue to take Kasha’s development and growth to the next level.”

Mastercard’s activities with Kasha directly support the company’s pledge to bring 1 billion people and 50 million micro and small businesses into the digital economy by 2025, with a direct focus on providing 25 million women entrepreneurs with solutions to help them grow their business. 

“Mastercard works with governments, businesses, and entrepreneurs to help them achieve their ambitions and is committed to applying its resources to drive sustainable and inclusive growth.” said, Raghav Prasad, Division President, Sub Saharan Africa, Mastercard. “Through our activities with Kasha we are leveraging Mastercard’s innovations, expertise, and partnerships to help drive the empowerment of women and small businesses. This partnership is a major step in our journey to support the fundamental needs of women and drive growth across African communities.”

Mastercard’s investment will help Kasha expand its current platform offering, reaching more women, communities, and small businesses than before and build’s on Mastercard’s efforts to bolster support for micro-entrepreneur and women-owned small business in Africa through the Mastercard Track Micro Credit Program, known in Kenya as “Jaza Duka” (fill up your store in Swahili).   By leveraging Mastercard and Kasha’s combined capabilities, in collaboration with global consumer goods and banking partners, the partners aim to positively impact historically underserved communities across Africa and beyond.

www.kasha.co