MTN Uganda has pledged to support local assembly and manufacturing of smartphones by purchasing one million handsets. Smartphone penetration is still below 40% in the country and lowering the cost of handsets will go a long way to improve overall penetration.
Speaking at the second Uganda – South Africa Trade and Investment summit in Munyonyo, Mcebisi Hubert Jonas, the MTN Group chairman said the telecom company will be supporting a local smart phone assembly factory. He said: “In the near future we will procuring a million handsets from that factory to ensure that it is viable and that it survives.”
He added: “So we can say without any fear of contradiction that this conference has been very successful. I think that there is a great appreciation of the institutional quality in Uganda. However, we must continue to improve the quality of institutions in Uganda and to drive down the cost of doing business.”
In the recent past, MTN has rolled out strategic device partnerships to make smart phones more accessible to Ugandans such as M-KOPA – dealing in Samsung and Nokia brands; and Take-Now – dealing in Tecno, Infinix and Itel brands.
Through these partnerships, MTN is taking smartphones as close to the last mile (customer) as possible.
By offering friendly repayment plans (up to 12 months), customers can now access choicy smartphones without having to break the bank.
During the summit it was agreed that Revenue Authorities of the two countries will hold regular meetings with the private sector to address challenges. It was also agreed for both countries to expedite pprocesses of reciprocal recognition of standards and compliances for goods and services.
Also during the summit, Senior Officials of both countries were directed to operationalize Joint Technical Committees (JTC) to implement all the signed memorandums of understanding and decisions of the Uganda – South Africa Joint Commission of Cooperation including free movement of goods, services, capital and people, harmonization and mutual recognition of standards.
During the summit, global giant, Tiger brands, agreed to export to South Africa, Ugandan produce such as ground nuts, tomatoes, potatoes and beans. South African broadcaster – SABC pledged to return to showcase success stories in Uganda to the South African market.