Themba Khumalo

MTN CEO Themba Khumalo said the Centre, at the newly-opened Forest Mall, will protect company investments in Uganda by attending to customer service issues ranging from hardware and software configurations, Mobile Money services, Data services, and general customer care queries.

Khumalo said MTN offers the largest suite of products and services, with a wide-reaching positive impact across many different sectors.

“MTN Mobile Money, for example, has to-date registered more than 1.7million subscribers in just over two years of operation, and now accounts for US$90million in money transfers a month. More importantly, though, MTN Mobile Money has introduced financial services to millions of Ugandans who were removed from banking due to remoteness. As an investment, MTN Mobile Money has changed the way people do business, and the way they live their lives for the better,” he said.

Khumalo added that to protect these investments, and therefore the quality of life that people have become accustomed to, MTN would continue to commit more and more resources into the country.

“These investments have been made from scratch and range from the infrastructure we have established to create the first truly countrywide cellular network in Uganda, to the more than 1,500 staff we have trained, developed, and employ both directly as MTN Uganda, and indirectly through our agents and suppliers. We take investment seriously,” he added.

“Our Service Centers stand out for their capacity to handle large numbers of customers at the same time, and the number of issues that are tackled and resolved in real-time. Here, as you can see, we have the floor space of a banking hall,” he said.

He added that continued connectivity will ensure that MTN customers have the assistance they require to support their communication needs.

“We have established eight fully fledged service centers to service the bulk of our urban based customers, on top of a network of more over 100,000 points of sale countrywide,” Khumalo said.


  1. Nice article Albert and I think you nail it on the head. A start-up is not an app (web, mobile or otherwise). A start-up does not succeed after 24 hours of hacking. A start-up traction is not good media but customers and revenue greater than costs. Its blood, sweat, failure , passion.

    However i disagree with your lessons. A start up does not guarantee success and if a startupper should be aware of this. The fact that you can fail should not deter your ambitions and aspirations. As someone who left my confy corporate job to focus on my start-up am well aware that the odds are against me and probability of failure is high (Probably 80%). But the way I see it , not trying would be an even greater failure. So i encourage all the young start-uppers to embrace the opportunities they have – learn about entrepreneurship and business. Failure s not the end of world. Like Edison said after inventing the light bulb – He knows 1000 ways it wont work.

  2. Nice one, from what we read and see in the media app development based start-ups hog all the news and credit especially in Africa. I mean they are the also the cheapest to initiate, I see very little on some mining or agro-based business on the continent getting funding of say $250,000+ such a business would need.

  3. Nice Article. The thing is that people are developing applications so as to get cash from the various organizations that sponsor app development instead of developing apps that solve a certain problem in society.
    We have many apps developed in EA but none has been successful enough to be solve our day to day problems/ needs.
    All we hear are nice success stories but no Practicability in terms of usage in this region.
    Also the definition of startups needs to be changed and may be customized to these region. Maybe we need our top researchers to define for us what a startup is in our region and what needs to be put in place to make the startups succesful.

  4. Re-posting (had sent this as a reply to your I-Network mail):

    I’m not sure anyone serious would say a mobile app == startup. But
    given that many app developers embark on trying to make a business out of their
    apps, yes – a lot of apps (mobile or otherwise) give rise to startups.

    Now, regarding the gist of the post, I think we need to look at
    the big picture.

    First of all, I think we can all agree that meaningful
    employment opportunities are in short supply in this country. That means a lot
    of young people (both those lucky enough to obtain a formal education up to
    college level and those that don’t progress so far) will struggle to get jobs.
    I don’t have concrete job statistics for this country but if we use NSSF
    subscriber numbers to give a rough (very rough) idea, you’re looking at less
    than one million formal jobs. I recall the 2011 voters register had some fourteen
    million names. Obviously, this means that many such people will try their hand
    at self-employment just because of the circumstances. Naturally, those with
    software development skills will gravitate towards doing stuff they’re
    conversant with – coding. Never mind that they may not have the requisite
    business skills. But let us not for one second think that this situation is
    unique to software developers. Not at all. Very many young people are venturing
    into all sorts of business – real estate, small-scale retail, car
    ‘dealerships’, secretarial bureaus, market stalls, farming, boda-bodas name it.
    It just so happens that all the media buzz (especially the media consumed by
    people on this list) is biased towards ICT business and so app based startups get
    a disproportionate amount of attention. Not just the regular mainstream media,
    but social media as well. If we’re to use the term ‘startup’ to apply to any
    small business started by (mostly young) inexperienced people with nothing but
    enthusiasm and a lot of hope, then you’ll find it applies to a lot of different
    businesses. Guess what? I can bet the actual success rate across all of them is
    similar i.e. a lot of them fail within a very short time while others scrape
    along barely breaking even.

    Secondly, in saying they are overrated and that you don’t have a
    lot of faith in them, is your attitude a result of seeing so many fail?
    Personally, I believe that for the majority of techies, being part of a tech
    startup is highly beneficial even if it ultimately fails. See – you get to
    actually develop a product (which is very different from the coding exercises
    and examples in class) and the experience (technical and business) you get is
    invaluable. I know I would much rather hire someone who has participated in building
    something real. Then, with all the competitions and forums, you cannot
    underestimate the value of networking thereof. Of course, if you win a few
    thousand dollars in a competition, so much the better.

    Finally, and I think this is probably the most important point,
    having many people learning practical development within startup environments
    (irrespective of the motives and/or immediate results) may ultimately help
    build this particular creative industry in this country to a level where it’s
    actually influential on the world stage. I believe Kenya is already on track in
    this respect. So, let’s not be too quick to label tech startups overrated. They
    may be the beginning of something big, not just for those involved, but for
    this country as well.

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