The first cohort of 185 youths will graduate today, armed with practical skills in digital technologies to provide innovative ICT solutions for their communities.

MTN Uganda through its charity arm, the MTN Foundation has launched the  MTN Skills Academy. This innovative online platform is designed to empower Uganda’s youth and bridge the digital divide.

In partnership with key stakeholders, including the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance, the National ICT Innovation Hub, American Tower Cooperation (ATC), and Huawei, the MTN Skills Academy which is aligned with Uganda’s National Development Plan III, Digital Vision 2040 and the National Digital Transformation Roadmap aims to provide access to digital and financial skills training for youth in Uganda and across the African continent as a catalyst for job creation and increased employment opportunities.

Speaking at the launch event held at the ATC Digital Community in Mukono District, MTN Uganda Chief Executive Officer, Sylvia Mulinge, emphasized the programme’s importance in addressing the critical gap between digital skills training and job placement.

“As MTN, we are committed to driving digital solutions for Africa’s progress. With the launch of the MTN Skills Academy in Uganda, we aim to equip the country’s youth, who are at the forefront of digitalization, with the necessary skills to advance the digitalization agenda and drive the nation’s progress,” She said.

She also noted that the MTN Skills Academy would play a pivotal role in addressing the challenges faced by Uganda’s youth, who make up the majority of the population and yet remain one of the most vulnerable groups in the country.

The latest statistics from the World Bank shows that over 75% of Uganda’s population is below the age of 30. The nation also grapples with one of the highest youth unemployment rates in Sub-Saharan Africa, currently standing at 13.3%.

Furthermore, the International Finance Corporation estimates that by 2030 approximately 230 million jobs will require digital skills.

Joyce Nabbosa Ssebugwawo, the Minister of State for Information, Communications and Technology, commended MTN for its ongoing commitment to innovation and its role in driving Uganda’s sustainable development through ICT.

“We acknowledge that progress can only be achieved collaboratively. I extend my gratitude to MTN for continually seeking and implementing innovations that propel our digitalization agenda forward. This project will enable our youth to tap into the vast resources that MTN offers for our nation’s development,” said Minister Ssebugwawo.

The launch event also saw the participation of renowned digitalization partners, including Huawei and ATC, who welcomed the innovation and pledged their support for the programme.

MTN Group Chief Sustainability and Corporate Affairs Officer, Nompilo Morafo, emphasized that the MTN Skills Academy would not only address the digital skills shortage but also contribute to sustainable economic growth in Uganda.

“In a world where digital literacy is as crucial as reading and writing, the MTN Skills Academy serves as a testament to our commitment to Uganda’s sustainable development. We believe that this platform will be pivotal in providing Ugandan youth with the essential skills required to flourish in the digital economy. Not only will this help alleviate the shortage of digital skills, but it will also reverberate positively across the nation’s economic growth trajectory, aligning to the newly launched Digital Transformation Roadmap. This initiative is a key component of MTN’s ongoing efforts to foster both economic growth and social progress in Uganda and across the African continent”, Morafo stated.

MTN’s commitment to empowering youth extends beyond Uganda, as the company plans to roll out the MTN Skills Academy across all its operating companies in Africa, targeting the empowerment of at least one million youths by 2025.

It is worth noting that MTN Uganda has complementary initiatives under the MTN ACE programme, aimed at empowering youth to leverage ICTs for Uganda’s socioeconomic transformation.

The first cohort of 185 youths will graduate today, armed with practical skills in digital technologies to provide innovative ICT solutions for their communities.