By Our Reporter
In the last days of 2020, MTN announced changes to the regional structure and the MTN Group executive committee in which Ms. Yolanda Cuba was appointed as the MTN vice president for the Southern and East African (SEA) MTN markets effective 1 January 2021.
Cuba’s appointment coincided with yet another woman rising to the position of US vice president; H.E Kamala Harris and similarly to her story of firsts, Cuba is also the first woman to be confirmed in this position in MTN history.
The SEA region covers the MTN markets in Rwanda, South Africa, South Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, and Zambia. Named one of the youngest CEOs of a JSE-listed company at the age of 29, Cuba has gone on to become one of the key business leaders in Africa today.
As a young group CEO of the publicly listed Mvelaphanda Group, she was selected as one of the Young Global Leaders in 2008, an initiative by the World Economic Forum and named one of the ’20 Youngest Power Women in Africa’ by Forbes Magazine in 2011.
As the new SEA MTN market vice president, Cuba brings to the role a formidable track record of over 20 years executive experience in telecommunications and finance that will see her steer the continued growth and strategic progress of the SEA region which is critical to MTN’s growth ambitions as it presents good opportunity for growth in mobile financial services as well as the largest potential for further expansion.
Prior to this appointment, Cuba was the chief digital and fintech officer at the MTN Group. In her previous role, the prolific telecom expert was charged with leading MTN Group’s strategic expansion of its financial services and digital solutions efforts and transformation into a digital operator across its footprint of 21 countries in Africa and Middle East.
Before joining MTN in July 2019, Cuba worked with the Vodacom Group Limited from 2013 as a non-executive director. She later became an executive member of the company in November 2014 and served as its Group chief officer of strategy, mergers and acquisitions and new business until her promotion to chief executive in the company.
The seasoned strategist led Vodacom’s mergers and acquisitions as well as its acceleration unit into telco adjacencies such as financial services among others. Subsequently, Cuba was in 2016, made the chief executive officer of Vodafone Ghana, a role she outstandingly performed resulting in her scooping the coveted title of ‘Telecom CEO of the Year’ in 2018.
The other notable awards under Cuba’s belt include; the ‘Top Empowered Business Woman of the Year’ by top companies in 2006 and the ‘Youth Excellence’ award by the Black Management Forum in 2007.
Cuba also previously served as an executive director of Strategy and Business Support at the South African Breweries (SAB) Limited since February 2012. She also previously occupied the position of executive director and chief executive officer at New Bond Capital Ltd.
Cuba has served on a number of JSE-listed boards: she was a board member of South African Breweries Ltd; Absa Group Limited where she served for 12 years before resigning in 2019 and has been a member of the Nelson Mandela Investment Committee since 2006.
She holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Statistics from the University of Cape Town, a Bachelor of Commerce Honors degree in Accounting from University of Kwazulu-Natal and a Masters of Commerce degree from the University of Pretoria. She is also an alumnus of INSEAD International Executive Program.
Cuba is passionate about education and inclusive social and financial development, has served on the advisory board of Stellenbosch University Business School and has founded Cuba Mtyi Foundation that focuses on empowering young girls through education.