Digital transformation opening investment in Africa


MTN in Rwanda offers popular mobile money services, but reports hold that traders are not satisfied with the commission charges on payments affecting digital transformation.

The popular mobile money services are branded MoMo-pay, and traders get their commission after trade through momo-pay codes, which comes with a slight charge that the trades are not happy about and wish to revert to cash-in-hand payments.

MoMo-pay, an MTN Rwanda’s FinTech subsidiary, is now working to reverse the situation, including the potential lowering of the 0.5 per cent commission on payment received through this platform.

Despite these challenges, Rwanda’s cashless economy is coming to life led by telecommunication companies that allow easy transactions over mobile phones. In fact, telecoms in Rwanda made well over USD 42 million in 2020 from mobile money transactions alone that MoMo-pay provides.

In that same year (2020), the Rwanda telecommunication industry averaged USD 10 million a month two years later and in the first quarter of 2022, MTN Rwanda reported a 64.6% increase in mobile users and subscribers for MoMo-pay, the mobile money transaction service.

Speaking to the press, the MTN Rwanda CEO, Mitwa Ng’ambi reassured stakeholders that the company had seen an increase in mobile subscribers growing at an unprecedented rate of 5% year-on-year (YoY) and as of March 2022, it clocked 6.5 million.

Overall, MTN Rwanda is enjoying an expedited increase of active data users by 26.3% YoY to 2.2 million, and MTN Mobile Money (MoMo-pay) users increased by 12.1% to 3.8 million.

With this impressive increase in customer base, MTN Rwanda’s service revenue also increased drastically by 24.5% YoY to US$49.7 million, and gross income went up 15.7% to US$24 million and that was just in the first quarter of 2022.

  • MTN Rwanda CEO, Mitwa Ng’ambi says mobile subscribers reached 6.5 million as of March 2022
  • MTN Rwanda active data users have reached 2.2 million and MTN Mobile Money (MoMo) users are now 3.8 million
  • Rwanda telecommunication industry was averaging USD 10 million a month as of 2021

Also Read: MTN Rwanda Rewards Subscribers

The remarkable performance of Rwanda telecommunication industry is a mirror to the general performance of the Rwanda economy as local media quoted MTN Rwanda CEO, Mitwa Ng’ambi; “In the first quarter, Rwanda’s economy made a rebound as domestic conditions improved following the easing of mobility restrictions. Latest figures from Rwanda’s National Institute of Statistics show a forecast of 7% growth for 2022.”

“We grew our subscriber base by 1.7% YoY to 6.6 million in H1 2022 against the backdrop of new SIM registration guidelines, which were introduced in September 2021,” the CEO said.

“We are pleased to have maintained our leadership in customer market share, which increased by 2.7pp to 65.6%,” added the charismatic and very successful Ng’ambi.

Digital Africa, a media outlet that covers ICT news in Africa is of the view that such trends spell well for Africa’s cashless future. According to the outlet, the capacity of Africa to go cashless is enormous thanks to the widespread penetration of mobile telecom services across Africa and to date, mobile services can be accessed in the remotest parts of the continent.

This also translates to financial inclusion because, owing to mobile and internet penetration, financial inclusion has increased in bankless areas of rural Africa. In these remote hard-to-reach places, the cell phone is the king, and mobile transactions are not only the preferred method of payment but the only cashless option available.

Also Read: MTN withdraws Mobile Money from South Africa

“MTN delivered a solid Q3 2022 performance, with sustained service revenue and subscriber growth supported by the focused execution of our Ambition 2025 strategy – MTN CEO Mitwa Ng’ambi. Photo/MTN

MTN Rwanda performance on the stock exchange

Celebrating only one year anniversary on the Rwanda Stock Exchange (RSE), MTN Rwandacell PLC is outperforming every other entity. Notably, MTN was very impressively the first mobile network operator to list its shares on the Rwanda Stock Exchange (RSE).

In the words of the very inspiring CEO Mitwa Ng’ambi, the company “…delivered a solid Q3 2022 performance, with sustained service revenue and subscriber growth supported by the focused execution of our Ambition 2025 strategy.”

Ambitious yes but realistic nonetheless, Ng’ambi was very somber when she pointed out that this achievement did not come easy but rather it was delivered in a very challenging macroeconomic environment. She is right, this past year has seen many East African countries suffer very pressing inflation that has placed tremendous pressure on consumer
spending and Rwandans are no exception.

So for MTN to delver such impressive results despite these tough conditions speaks a lot to the visionary leadership, teamwork and quality of service.

“Additionally supply chain experienced disruptions which has placed a further strain on the late of productivity. In order to mitigate the risks of network rollouts, we accelerated capital expenditure over the 3 quarters of 2022,” the determined MTN CEO Ng’ambi explains.

The numbers speak for themselves,  MTN total revenue grew by 20.6% YoY supported by growth in voice, data and mobile financial services segment.

In the move to a cashless society, Rwandans are also showing appreciation for this leadership and quality of service, again the numbers say it all, MTN customer market share increased by 2.9pp to 65.7%.

Rwanda, as most all  of the rest of Africa, is experiencing continued increase in demand for data. This demand puts pressure on delivering the needed services at affordable rates, especially giving the increasing cost of data. So it is worth noting and a lesson for  the rest of the East African bloc, that the government of Rwanda has taken a bold but very visionary move in changing its Broadband policy.

Rwanda has shown its commitment to accelerate broadband coverage by adopting such measures as the introduction of wireless technology neutrality, which has significantly allowed for improved  efficiency. On the ground, this is translated in the form of rolling out of next generation technologies like LTE and 5G all of which help create a cashless society.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to value proposition for the end user, the customers be they individuals, businesses, institutions or government agencies, digital transformation is changing lives in Rwanda. increasing

With such successes, it is imperative to give back by creating shared value. MTN Rwanda commits to Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) and in Q3 alone, through the ongoing commitment to #ConnectRwanda, the company donated laptops and subsidized data to Rwanda schools as part of its nationwide school digitization project.

To sum it all up, the confident yet humble MTN CEO Ng’ambi extends her gratitude and that of MTN to alll stakeholders; “…we are grateful to our customers, partners and stakeholders and look forward to this new chapter. Listing on the RSE is a major milestone for us and the platform for even better and bolder things to come.”

Read: Africa’s Cashless Payment Revolution

Giza Mdoe is an experienced journalist with 10 plus years. He's been a Creative Director on various brand awareness campaigns and a former Copy Editor for some of Tanzania's leading newspapers. He's a graduate with a BA in Journalism from the University of San Jose.

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