CEO, MTN UGANDA
October 2022 saw Sylvia Mulinge’s appointment as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MTN Uganda, marking a historic milestone, making her the first woman to lead the largest telco in Uganda in terms of assets and subscriber base.
MTN Uganda, established in October 1998, has steadily grown its market share to an impressive 55.3 percent in Uganda’s competitive telco market, serving over 9.7 million customers. Pioneering initiatives, such as the first mobile money service in 2008 and the launch of 4G LTE in 2013, have positioned MTN Uganda as a leader in providing high-speed data and broadband services, positively impacting businesses and individuals across the country.
MTN’s massive investment in fibre optic networks, with over 3,200 kilometres (km) already installed, demonstrates its dedication to offering widespread and reliable telecommunications services, even in rural areas. MTN Mobile Money has revolutionised financial transactions in Uganda, allowing customers to send and receive money conveniently on their phones, and the company continues to invest in the country’s ICT infrastructure and corporate social responsibility (CSR).
With an unwavering focus on customer feedback and a commitment to delivering a bold new digital world, MTN Uganda is poised for a bright and promising future ahead.
Ms Mulinge’s distinguished journey to MTN Uganda showcases her industry leadership, dedication, and impact in the corporate world and beyond.
Boasting a remarkable 16-year career at Safaricom, Ms Mulinge brings a wealth of experience to her role. In her most recent position as Chief Consumer Business Officer at Safaricom, Ms Mulinge held a crucial responsibility of defending and expanding market share while driving revenue and profitability growth. Her commitment to customer excellence, brand management, and sales operations played a pivotal role.
Ms Mulinge’s distinguished approach to business leadership revolves around understanding and meeting the needs of customers comprehensively, not only the known but also the unknown, ensuring mutual success for both the customer and the company.
While at Safaricom, she challenged stereotypes by proving that women leaders are not risk-averse. Her instrumental role in establishing profitable new business lines, including Enterprise and Fixed Data, earned her the reputation of a champion of digital transformation, showcasing her impactful and purpose-driven leadership.
Ms Mulinge’s career journey began in 2004 at Unilever where she served as the Assistant Regional Brand Manager in South Africa. Her trajectory would soon lead her back to Kenya, where she managed the Sunlight brand. Subsequently, joining Safaricom in 2006, she embarked on an upward trajectory, culminating in her promotion as the Head of Retail in 2007. Her leadership roles continued to grow, with appointments as Head of Safaricom Business and later as General Manager for Enterprise Business and Director of Consumer Business, solidifying her position in Safaricom’s senior leadership team.
Raised in Nakuru, Ms Mulinge pursued her academic journey at the University of Nairobi (UoN), graduating with a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree with first-class honours in Food Science and Technology in 2000. In her pursuit of excellence, she furthered her education, receiving Executive Training in Entrepreneurship from Harvard Business School (HBS) and Leadership Training from Strathmore Business School (SBS). Notably, she is also a licensed executive coach, having completed her practitioner Diploma in Executive Coaching from The Academy of Executive Coaching.
Ms Mulinge’s impact in leadership has been widely recognised, earning her coveted commendations, such as her appointment as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. In acknowledgment of her impressive achievements, she was featured in Business Daily’s ‘Top 40 Women Under 40’, a testament to her ascension to the C-suite in her thirties. Additionally, she was recognised as one of the 100 Most Influential African Women by Avance Media, showcasing her significant contributions to the continent’s progress.
Beyond her corporate responsibilities, Ms Mulinge actively serves on various boards and platforms aimed at empowering women and promoting gender equality. Her passion for driving visible and impactful leadership among women and youth has led to her involvement in organisations such as Shofco, Endeavor Kenya, and The President Award, along with her role as Vice Chairperson for Unstereotype Alliance, a United Nations (UN) Women-convened platform for gender equality.
In her personal life, she finds inspiration in her parents, with her father instilling a strong work ethic and discipline, and her mother teaching her the value of prayer and dependence on a higher power. As a loving and devoted mother of two, she prioritises family and her Christian faith while striving to maintain a balance between her executive career and personal life.