Bugembe returns to Uganda as new MTN chief finance officer

Andrew Bugembe is the new MTN CFO

Andrew Bugembe is the new MTN CFO

MTN Uganda appointed has Andrew Bugembe as the telecom's new chief financial officer (CFO). Bugembe started work on April 1, replacing Mike Blackburn who retired early this year having served as the company’s CFO since 2011. In his position, Bugembe is part of the dynamic leadership team of MTN Uganda that boasts of 16 members, four of whom are women.

After being away from Uganda for almost 10 years, Bugembe says he's extremely happy to join the great, experienced and strong management team back home at MTN Uganda. He brings to board more than 21 years of telecom experience having worked at in at least five countries in various capacities - holding executive and senior management roles in finance departments, including holding the CFO position at MTN Liberia and MTN Congo Brazzaville.

Some of the key highlights of his career at MTN include concluding a $300m syndicated medium-term facility, in a project finance deal that won an award for the best telecoms deal in Europe Middle East and Africa (EMEA) in 2012.

Although Bugembe is taking over office at a difficult time when many company revenues are getting slashed by the global Covid-19 pandemic, the seasoned accountant is no stranger to operating amidst disasters like this one.

He spent a lot of time resizing the cost structures for a couple of MTN operating companies (OPCOs) to align with changing macro-economic trends especially during the Ebola crisis in West Africa and the drop in oil prices while in Central Africa. 

As CFO of the country’s highest taxpayer, Bugembe’s key roles will be to drive the company profitability mandate, to ensure effective and efficient capital allocation, and to support service revenue growth through data analytics with focus on non-voice revenues.

He will also support key transformation initiatives, build internal capacity, support digitization with focus on fintech in addition to continuous cost optimization and improving working capital management among others.

According to Bugembe, there are still growth opportunities for telecoms in Uganda, given that mobile penetration is barely over 51 per cent. The data penetration is still low driven mainly due to lower smartphone penetration, customer education and relevant digital content.

This, he says will be key for the future growth of telecoms in Uganda. He also notes that Uganda’s youthful market coupled with the many SMEs, steady GDP growth and low inflation is a great opportunity for any business.

With the telecom trends indicating the customers’ needs are changing towards data, fintech (mobile money) and digital, Bugembe believes these will drive the future of telecoms, especially in Uganda with emphasis on financial inclusion as the country moves towards a cashless economy.

In addition to the 21 years of telecom experience, Bugembe is a chartered accountant (FCCA-UK) with a Masters degree from the University of Wollongong in Australia and he holds a Bachelors of Commerce degree from India.

Bugembe describes himself as a passionate, curious and adaptive person, having lived, studied and worked in seven countries. He enjoys travelling to different countries to explore various cultures and have time to himself and his family away from work.

He is married with two sons aged 11 and 8 years. Outside work, he will be found reading books or a couple of journals. He is a huge fan of the Mercedes-Benz team in Formula 1 and a loyal Arsenal supporter.

© 2016 Observer Media Ltd