KAMPALA – MTN Uganda has signed a three-year agreement to support think tank body, African Strategic Leadership Centre (ASLC) to do research in various sectors that affect Africa.
ASLC chairman Robert Mwesigwa Rukaari said in a statement that MTN will contribute Shs500 million annually towards research being conducted to inform deliberations such as the Africa Now Summit.
ASLC is the organizer of the African Now Summit slated for March 12 to 13 at the Speke Resort Munyonyo.
The summit is co-chaired by Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni alongside other heads of States and business leaders on the continent.
Other heads of states include the co-chair of the conference, President Mohammed Abdulahi Farmajo of Somalia, Cyril Ramaphosa (South Africa), El-Sisi of Egypt, who is also African Union Chairman and Tanzania Deputy President Samia Suluhu.
“This is very important for the Africa Strategic Leadership Centre as we sign a very key understanding with MTN, the leading telecommunications company in Uganda and arguably in the whole of Africa,” Dr Rukaari said.
He said that the partnership with MTN is strategic since it positions ASLC on the front to tackle some of Africa’s major challenges among which, he noted, were youth unemployment, ICT and environmental conservation among others.
“This understanding is very important because it places the forthcoming Africa Now Conference in a pivotal role to shape the growth of digital media in Africa, while placing ICT at the centre of Africa’s development agenda,” said Dr Rukaari, adding: “Working together with MTN, we look forward to creating the future for Africa’s youth.”
He noted that ASLC’s role in organizing the Summit is an indication of growth for the private sector.
“It is a very good sign of showing how Uganda’s economy is on a good trajectory knowing that a private sector-led think tank has organized such a conference and government only supports. With these kinds of interactions, Uganda will develop much faster.”
According to Dr Rukaari, the speakers at the Summit are strategic thought leaders in their own right and have been carefully selected from across sectors to enrich and contribute to delivering the Africa Now summit theme which is building “Towards a secure, integrated and growing Africa”.
Effective public engagement
The African Now Summit is expected to drive effective public engagement which reflects and inspires the dream of a better Africa, with a background to Nelson Mandela’s belief in the realization of the unity of Africa, where its leaders combine in their efforts to solve the problems of the continent.
According to the statement, the conference seeks to discuss and propose solutions to Africa’s development challenges and the outcome of the discussions is to influence policy reform which enhances public and private sector development in Africa.
The Summit will also explore how to strengthen private sector collaboration so that this can continue to support Africa’s development. It will mobilize resources required to address Africa’s critical challenges.
Earlier, ASLC Board Member, Betty Bigombe said that the summit seeks to build a secure, integrated and growing Africa amid challenges witnessed such as rising levels of unemployment, economic inequality, biting effects of climate change and pockets of political instability.
“The Africa Now Conference seeks to explore new growth opportunities which promote the socio-economic growth of the continent. With the advent of the digital revolution, Africa is more connected than ever. This is an opportunity for the continent to leapfrog its growth. We must leverage the demographic promise of its youth at the centre of Africa’s development initiatives,” she said.
By David Sseguya