Earth Finds

Earth Finds

MTN Group Ventures Into Micro Insurance After Partnering With MMI Holdings

MTN Group and MMI Holdings on Wednesday announced the launch of a micro insurance joint venture, branded aYo. The joint venture will benefit from the scale, combined expertise and market access of both companies, to provide a strong basis to compete in a changing mobile financial services industry. 

Insurance penetration is low in many countries across Africa, and utilising the resources and capabilities that each of MMI Holdings and MTN provide, aYo will be able to improve this to offer relevant, accessible and easy to use insurance solutions to consumers. 

Commenting on the partnership, Herman Singh, Group Chief Digital Officer of MTN said that “as MTN, we are excited about this partnership as it gives us an opportunity to further expand our bouquet of mobile financial services offerings across our footprint. Working with MMI, and harnessing the rapid growth of mobile on the continent, we will be able to leverage our core competencies, strong brands and scale to deliver much-needed insurance solutions to our customers.” 

Danie Botes, Group Chief Operating Officer of MMI Holdings remarked that “the partnership with MTN will create new revenue streams for MMI, help achieve significant scale, explore opportunities in new markets and segments, and capitalise on the growth of micro insurance on the continent. The partnership will also allow us to further extend our client-centric vision of financial wellness across the Africa continent.”  

The aYo offering will be rolled out in a number of African countries from the end of 2016.

How The Film Industry Is Showcasing Uganda To The World

The Ugandan film industry has been striving for years to stay afloat, though most of the companies opted for television shows at the start since they were easy to make. Over a span of years, several production houses have sprung up, technology has improved and art schools have come up yet the industry still struggles with very few being able to create a well edited film that viewers away from Uganda can enjoy too.

Yet, they still strive and keep rising by year like a Phoenix from the ashes with more interesting projects being made for the people to enjoy. With technological growth came the availability of free access to the rest of the world, making it easy for the production houses to showcase their films online through channels such as Youtube to the rest of the world.

The industry has churned out movies, tv shows and documentaries ranging from short movies and series and that have had a cult following for some years. One of those series would be Kigenya Agenya, a show that ruled a higher number of DVD sales as much as being watched on a popular television station.

Phillip Luswata, one of the most celebrated actors in Uganda and one of the team on Kigenya Agenya says; “We have remarkably grown as an industry from exclusively 'development' driven films funded by NGOs, to the realization that we can now make exclusively commercial films for sale on DVD. Though we are not yet profitable in terms of quality and content to achieve acceptable commercial dividends, we are nonetheless crawling in the right direction.”

The Ugandan film industry has created a space for some of the best actors in the country, some of them have made it to hollywood blockbusters; actors such Cleo Kyoheirwe, Abby Mukiibi and Ntare Guma among others. These actors create a buzz about their country when they are interviewed by foreign media and which in this case show the world that Uganda is more than Idi Amin and Kony.

Uganda has an array of talented producers such as Mira Nair whose new film “Queen of Katwe” starring award winning actress Lupita, will premiere  on the 30th of September to audiences all over the world and the Wakaliwood famed Isaac Nabwana who's “Who Killed Captain Alex” has had over 600, 000 views on youtube and a cult following of fans from all over the world.

Isaac explains that: “First of all, since Uganda has been known for violence over the world, the movies we have been making are helping people see beyond what was in the media before. When they visit our country just because of their interest in our films, they get to see that Uganda is full of very warm and welcoming people. An example would be when some of our foreign fans are looking for directions to our base, of course they will need to ask someone in the area about how to reach there and Ugandans being as welcoming as we are, they will be brought to Wakaliwood.”

He goes on to explain that “what we have done as a team, is using passion past the search for money and when you add creativity in that, everything else falls into place…” With all the passion, what is holding back our film industry from growing and amassing worldwide viewership? 

“Our set back, as I have always pointed out, lies in our over concentration on the means of production and less on exhibition and distribution. Few of us are investing in these two latter areas yet this is where our market lies. Once we understand how to respond to these two areas, I believe we will better appreciate demanded quality, content and marketing. Now we are effectively making stories that appeal to us as film producers but may not necessarily respond to the aspirations of our target.”

Further describing Uganda as a country in self betrayal, Phillip Luswata who is working on a new tv show called “The Campus” is concerned that

“We sit back and watch as an industry we should be harnessing goes under. Cinema houses have continued to close. Bibanda which used to be really popular and would have been exploited to grow local film making also continue to reduce. Even the cultural centre that would have allowed for the development of new talent is non effective.”

According to Patrick, if government can’t come up to protect this huge potential to cause employment, economic and cultural growth, Uganda’s film industry will remain troubled. He believes that while setting the house right, there is need to continue growing marketable talent, taking advantage of the increase in broadcast potential that came with digital migration

Yet the industry stakeholders strive on with hopes of showcasing how much talent Uganda has. So many TV shows with scripts and actors have been airing on popular television stations in the country with some getting majorly good reviews due to paytv services such as Multichoice’s DSTV that is used in several countries in Africa. These services incorporate channels that show local content as well as that from other countries on the continent which Nigeria is still leading.

The biggest market for the film industry are Ugandans themselves since most of the films appeal to them are lately becoming aware of what the industry has to offer and offering effort where possible. With the growth of social media, sharing clips and titles of what they have been watching makes it easy for the rest of the world to know what is in the industry. 



MTN Uganda Launches Cost Effective Roaming Solution

MTN Uganda has this week launched HelloWorld, a roaming service that enables MTN customers to enjoy discounted calling, SMS and internet rates while travelling to their favorite destinations around the world. 

MTN has categorized various countries into price-based zones, “Zone One” and “Zone Two”, when you dial *160*55# from your MTN line. In countries under Zone One, customers can subscribe for HelloWorld at UGX. 1,000/- per day, while the subscription rate is UGX. 500/- per day in Zone Two.

All a customer needs to do is subscribe to the zone with the partner network in their selected country, for the number of days they will be travelling; after which they will be able to enjoy discounted calls within that country, to any network in Uganda or anywhere else in the world. MTN HelloWorld subscribers can also send SMS at discounted rates, receive SMS for free and best of all enjoy affordable internet straight from their smartphones while roaming.

“In addition to affordable roaming rates, MTN HelloWorld offers peace of mind and convenience to travelling customers. We are delighted to have introduced a solution that will allow customers to keep their MTN number on to stay in touch without the need to get a new SIM card or buy a calling card in every country visit,” said MTN Uganda’s Chief Marketing Officer, Mapula Bodibe.

“A customer doesn’t always have to subscribe every time they travel to a different country. If your trip covers countries within the same zone, you do not need to subscribe again. However, if your trip covers countries in more than one zone, you will need to subscribe to the two zones to enjoy the service,” added Ms. Bodibe.

For customers subscribed to MTN HelloWorld, data is charged as low as 0.4/- per KB (about 400/- per MB) to 2/- per KB (about 2000/- per MB), a much more favorable alternative to other roaming solutions. Furthermore, subscribers do not have to depend on Wi-Fi hotspots to keep their internet connections active.

This service is not available with Kenya, Rwanda and South Sudan partner networks due to the availability of the already discounted One Network Area roaming service, that enables you to enjoy special tariffs on calls, SMS and internet within East Africa.

Zone One includes countries like South Africa, Zambia, Nigeria, Tanzania, DRC, USA, UK, China, Canada, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Cote D’Ivoire, Liberia, Ghana while Zone Two covers USA, UK, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Portugal, France, Romania, Hungary, Croatia, Austria, among others. The full list is available on MTN’s website.

To subscribe for as littles as UGX 500 per day, dial *160*55 or call +256 771001000 and visit  for more details. 

How to Subscribe:

  • Simply dial *160*55# to subscribe
  • Choose a zone with your destination country. A list of countries and partner networks is available on:
  • Choose the number of days according to your trav​el plans
  • Subscribe for the maximum number days if you are a frequent traveler
  • You can subscribe to more than one zone at the same time
  • Make sure you are connected to the specified partner network whenever you use the service
  • You can load airtime from MTN Mobile Money by dialing *165#
  • Check status or stop your subscription at anytime

Crane Bank Offering Life Insurance Scheme With Maisha Saving Accounts

Ever since it was opened 21 years ago by Sudhir Ruparelia, Crane Bank has continued to lead the financial sector with incisive innovation.  This has position the Kampala Road headquartered bank as the leading indigenous bank in the country.

This also shows in the way they package their financial products to benefit local people. At a time when government is championing financial inclusion including promoting insurance uptake, Crane Bank started a product that both serves as a saving tool and an insurance product.

The bank introduced Crane Maisha Saving Products from which customers can choose three saving methods. Crane Maisha Products are available as an upgrade to existing customers without having to change their account numbers or Crane Access card.

Crane Maisha Access Account

The Crane Maisha Access Account Is a basic banking account that facilitates first time bankers with an efficient way to receive electronic transfers of funds as well as making payments to third parties.

Crane Access is an ATM based transactional account. The account can be opened with minimum balance of Shs10, 000. You get a Free Visa Card for the first year. And you can monitor your account through personal internet banking.

With a monthly charge of Shs2, 000 the account holder will be covered under a life insurance scheme during the period the account is maintained. The account holder uses the savings to keep a safety net for a loved one in the event of a death or disability of the account holder. 

In the event of death or disability of the account holder, Crane Bank through its partners will pay the nominated beneficiaries an amount of Shs5, 500,000 directly into their account in Crane Bank as insurance compensation.

Crane Maisha Savings Account

This is an account that facilitates flexible short, medium and long term saving with the benefit of earning interest. The bank customer earns an interest of 5% p.a. with minimum balance Shs50, 000. The customer savings can be accessed at any time through various deposit and withdrawal banking channels.

Like the Crane Maisha Access Account, with a monthly charge of Shs2, 000 the account holder will be covered under a life insurance scheme where in the event of death or disability of the account holder, Crane Bank pays the beneficiaries an amount of Shs5, 500, 000.

Maisha Fixed Deposit Account

This is a type of savings account where a deposit is made for a specified period of time that pays out a fixed rate of interest and safeguards your loved ones through a life insurance scheme.

This account encourages a savings habit as the money you deposit needs to be in the account for a period of time without you making any withdrawal. Investing in a fixed deposit account earns you a higher interest rate and can act as a fall back for your business in the event of a cash flow squeeze.

With this type of account, you get to choose how long you want to invest your money in a fixed deposit account ranging from 1 month to 2 years. It comes with life insurance cover equivalent to principal amount with maximum limit of Shs100 Million to safeguard your loved ones in the event of a death or disability.

Crane Maisha Fixed Deposits can earn you interest of about 14.5% in a period of two years. To open Crane Maisha Fixed Deposit, a minimum amount of Shs1, 000,000 is required. There is no maximum amount you can deposit.

Accessing your savings

To open any of the Crane Maisha Saving Accounts you need to have a beginners deposit amount which varies. You will also need a Local Council letter, valid ID preferably a National ID, passport, driver’s license or verified employer’s ID. You can access your savings at any of the 46 Crane Bank branches, personal internet banking, Crane Bank ATMs, SMS & Email alerts. Various minimal fees might apply in the course of operationalizing your account.

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