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Sylvia Mulinge

Who is Sylvia Mulinge? Flash Uganda Media looks at her biography, age, husband, family, tribe, achievements, and relationship with Safaricom Limited, Sunlight, Safaricom Business, Food4Education, Vodacom Tanzania, Meta EMEA Client Council, the early life and education of the current the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MTN Uganda

Sylvia Mulinge also known as Sylvia Wairimu Mulinge is a Kenyan businesswoman and corporate executive. 

Sylvia currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MTN Uganda.

In her personal and business lives, Sylvia is also a trained executive coach and mentor.

Early Life and Education

Sylvia Mulinge was born in Kenya on February 16, 1977. She is a mother of two children; a boy and a girl. 

She began attending St. Xaviers Primary School in Nakuru in 1983 and completed her Primary Leaving Examinations in 1990.

She then enrolled in Mary Mount Secondary School in 1991, where she graduated in 1994.

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She attended the University of Nairobi, earning a First-Class Honours Bachelor of Science in Food Science and Technology in 2000.

Career and Professional Work Experience

Sylvia Mulinge family

Sylvia Mulinge began her career in August 2004 as an Assistant Regional Brand Manager in the laundry division at Unilever, a European consumer product multinational situated in Durban, South Africa. 

She was sent to Kenya as the brand manager for Sunlight, a Unilever brand, after nine months in South Africa. She stayed for another nine months, from May 2005 to January 2006, and was based in Nairobi.

In February 2006, she was hired by Safaricom Limited, Kenya’s largest telecommunications company, as the manager in charge of the company’s pre-pay product, where she remained until November 2007, when she was promoted to the position of Head of Retail, where she remained until August 2009. 

She was the Head of Safaricom Business, responsible for sales, for 21 months, from August 2009 to April 2011.

Sylvia was elevated to General Manager for Enterprise Business in May 2011, a position she held for the next four years. 

She was then promoted to Director of Consumer Business at Safaricom in May 2015. She ascended through the ranks at Safaricom to join the company’s senior management team.

Sylvia acted as the Director, of Special Projects at Safaricom from 1 October 2018 to 2 November 2018 before becoming the Chief Customer Officer at Safaricom from November 2018 until September 2022, reporting directly to the telecommunications company’s CEO.

Sylvia was appointed chief executive officer of MTN Uganda on October 1, 2022, succeeding Wim Vanhelleputte, who was promoted to regional executive responsible for operations in Congo-Brazzaville, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea-Conakry, and Liberia.

Achievements and Awards

Sylvia Mulinge

Sylvia is a purpose-driven and impact-driven leader who is enthusiastic about altering customers’ lives via the use of technology as a positive change enabler that improves communities and empowers women.

Sylvia Mulinge is Uganda’s first female CEO, leading the country’s largest telecommunications company in terms of assets and user base.

She drove the rise of Consumer Business revenue at Safaricom PLC as Chief Consumer Business Officer, culminating in an 86% increase in revenue market share between 2018 and March 2022.

Sylvia has a solid track record in strategic thinking, brand building, new business development, commercial execution, and people growth and development in the Telecommunications and Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) industries over the previous 22 years.

Sylvia is one of a group of leaders from major businesses and agencies across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa that represent Africa on the Meta EMEA Client Council.

Sylvia has won numerous honours, the most recent of which was the Moran of the Order of the Burning Spear 2022.

In 2020, she was named one of the 100 Most Influential African Women, and in 2019, she was honoured as one of Kenya’s Top 25 Women in Digital. 

She has three years in a row been named one of Kenya’s Top 40 Under 40 Women, and she is a 2015 Young Global Leader (YGL) recipient.

Sylvia now serves on several boards, most notably as Chairperson of the Maasai Mara Wildlife Conservancy Association in 2022. 

She was named to Kenya’s Presidential Award Scheme, a self-development project, in 2019. 

She is also a member of the Food4Education and SHOFCO boards. Sylvia has also been on the board of Endeavour Kenya and one of the four Global Vice Chairs of the Unstereotype Alliance since 2019.


Sylvia Mulinge

Sylvia Mulinge was named chief executive officer-designate at Vodacom Tanzania in April 2018, succeeding Ian Ferrao. The post is headquartered in Tanzania’s Dar es Salaam. The appointment took effect on June 1, 2018. 

Vodacom Tanzania said in September 2018 that Tanzanian officials had refused to give Sylvia Mulinge a work visa. At the time, the corporation stated that it would look for another candidate for the role. Sylvia was instead reassigned as Safaricom’s director of special projects on October 1, 2018.

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