MTN Uganda to Invest Shs 4.5B in The Second Phase of MTN ACE Program

Following the outstanding success of the initial phase of its youth empowerment flagship initiative, MTN Uganda’s corporate social responsibility arm, MTN Foundation, has launched the second phase of the MTN ACE program to continue equipping youths with digital skills. This initiative underpins the company’s ambition of leading digital solutions for Uganda’s progress based on the belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life.

The three-year initiative, with an investment worth UGX 4.5 billion, aims to equip 8,000 youths and create 150 startups, transforming Uganda’s population into a digitally skilled workforce as the country positions itself to reap its dividend from the ongoing Fourth Industrial revolution.

MTN Uganda is collaborating with key partners including the Ministry of ICT & National Guidance, the National ICT Innovation Hub, Centenary Technology Services, MUBS Entrepreneurship Innovation and Incubation Centre, and Engage Consult. These partnerships are instrumental in ensuring the program’s success and sustainability.

Speaking at the program launch event held at the Nakawa Innovation hub in Kampala today, Sylvia Mulinge the MTN Uganda Chief Executive officer said that:

“At MTN Uganda, we believe that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected world, and access to digital skills is a critical avenue to achieving that aspiration. As the second phase of the MTN ACE program takes shape, MTN Uganda is more committed than ever to empowering the country’s youth to become innovators, entrepreneurs, and leaders in the digital age.”

Mulinge further noted that the program seamlessly aligns with MTN’s Ambition 2025 of leading digital solutions for Uganda’s progress and supporting the government’s development goals in the National Development Plan III and Vision 2040, especially in addressing the high youth unemployment rate—a challenge projected to grow as the population expands.

The first phase of the MTN ACE program, which has been running since December 2022, saw 185 youths graduate across three distinct programs: 51 from MTN ACE Tech, 47 from the MTN ACE Career program, and 87 from the MTN ACE Skills program. Additionally, 20 enterprises were selected for ACE Tech acceleration, and 15 enterprises for incubation, demonstrating the program’s significant impact on nurturing youth skills and enterprises. MTN sank UGX 1.5 billion in the first phase of the program.

Now, with UGX 4.5 billion earmarked for the second phase of the program, there is a promise of a bigger reach. MTN will set up four regional ICT and innovation hubs in main national public universities across the country namely; Makerere University in Kampala, Gulu University in Northern Uganda, Kabale University in the Western, and Busitema University in the Eastern part of the country. These hubs will be established in close collaboration with the program partners.

“As we embark on Phase Two, we are more committed than ever to empowering our youth to become innovators, entrepreneurs, and leaders in the digital age. We deeply appreciate the efforts of our partners whose marvelous effort in developing a digitally experienced and empowered generation is invaluable. Together, we are encouraging innovation and productivity across people, organizations, businesses, and government,” Minister of State for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and National Guidance, Hon. Joyce Nabbosa Ssebugwawo said at the launch.

The MTN ACE program focuses on three key areas remain the same and they include; the MTN ACE Tech that focuses on upskilling youth interested in tech-related innovations, the MTN ACE Career which empowers fresh graduates with workplace skills and internship placements and lastly the MTN ACE Skills which is tailored for youths in or out of school, equipping them with entrepreneurial skills to start businesses.

Beyond the MTN ACE program, MTN Foundation is involved in several other youth empowerment initiatives. These include the MTN Skills Academy and MTN Internet Bus, which provide young people with essential digital skills, enhancing their employability and entrepreneurial capabilities in Uganda and beyond.

MTN Uganda remains dedicated to fostering digital literacy and innovation as a means to drive economic growth and development. The second phase of the MTN ACE program is a testament to MTN’s commitment to empowering the youth and transforming Uganda’s digital and subsequently, economic landscape.

Charity Mbabazi