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MTN Rwanda CEO named joint winner of top GSMA award

By , Africa editor
Africa , Rwanda , 27 Feb 2023
Mapula Bodibe, MTN Rwanda CEO.
Mapula Bodibe, MTN Rwanda CEO.

Mapula Bodibe, MTN Rwanda CEO, is joint winner of this year’s GSMA Chairman’s Award, a reward bestowed on her and others, for their efforts to drive digital inclusion and bridge the connectivity usage gap.

Other winners of award who will be celebrated today at the opening of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona are Doreen Bogdan-Martin, director of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU); Rwanda ICT minister Paula Ingabire; and Diane Karusis, CEO of the Bank of Kigali.

The GSMA Chairman’s Award annually recognises the outstanding achievements of individuals or organisations from across the mobile industry.

The GSMA, which is an industry organisation that represents the interests of mobile network operators worldwide, established the award in 1996.

This year’s award acknowledged the importance of collaboration between organisations, governments and the industry in driving digital inclusion.

“It’s time to make a more concerted effort to bring connectivity to the billions of people who are not yet able to use broadband or maximise digital services worldwide. Bridging these gaps will not only boost the economy, but have been proven to improve social mobility and, ultimately, transform lives,” comments José María Álvarez-Pallete López, chairman of the GSMA.

“Each of the winners of the 2023 GSMA Chairman’s Award were chosen for their amazing work in this area, leading the way in closing the digital divide and broadband usage gap. They truly embody the power of what can be done when organisations and governments alike come together, and their work will hopefully inspire other industry stakeholders to follow suit”.

Bodipe, who took control of MTN Group’s Kigali operations in September, was recognised working together with Karusis, for their “commitment to connecting the unconnected and to increasing access to digital financial services through device financing”.

“Under the leadership of Ms Bodibe and Ms Karusis, MTN Rwanda and the Bank of Kigali partnered to launch Macye Macye’, a device financing program funded by the Bank of Kigali that will allow MTN Rwanda customers to purchase smartphones and tablets on credit from any MTN retail distribution points,” says GSMA.

“The program represents part of the #ConnectRwanda Initiative, which MTN Rwanda launched in collaboration with the Rwandan Ministry of ICT. The initiative was created to change the fact that approximately 75% of the population in Rwanda does not own a smartphone.

“To date, 26,599 devices have been given to beneficiaries, who also receive MTN SIM cards with 1 free GB of data per month for the first three months as well as basic digital skills training through MTN’s Digital Ambassadors program”.

Minister Ingabire earned the award for her role in the Partner2Connect (P2C) commitments made on behalf of the government of Rwanda, while the ITU boss, Bogdan-Martin, was recognised for creating Partner2Connect (P2C).

P2C is a global leadership platform bringing together stakeholders from across the digital ecosystem to facilitate partnerships and make use of resources aimed at expanding digital inclusion.

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