The development of small to medium enterprises contributes significantly to the GDP of African economies. For example, in South Africa, SMEs contribute about 40% to the country’s GDP. Our footprint across emerging economies provides us with the opportunity to support the growth of small enterprises in emerging economies.
Our aim is to provide support up to the point where they are profitable and sustainable. We achieve this through the provision of mentorship, support, advice and procurement from emerging entrepreneurs. To address the need for cost-effective communication solutions, MTN Business’ MTN4SME offers a range of discounts to small businesses with between 2 and 200 employees.
In Nigeria, MTN’s Village Phone project operating since 2007 has helped 4 500 mainly women-owned vendors increase their incomes and expand their business skills. Beneficiaries receive recharge cards, a mobile phone, an antenna, a solar charger, MTN promotional materials and basic accounting business training. The vendor then uses their handset to allow customers to make and receive calls, hence the term ‘village phone’. MTN Nigeria’s Bizlift programme supports more than 53 000 retailers, by providing a source of business ideas, access to finance and sales material. We are pleased to count disabled people and youth-owned enterprises as part of this scheme. In Uganda, a trial using solar and kinetic (bicycle) power to recharge community phones has seen MTN enable users to earn an average of US$60 per month, increase sales of electric lights by 12%, improve commission for dealers and reduce the use of petrol-powered generators.
Anecdotal feedback from dealers indicates an improvement in their living standards and an improved ability to save money. In Liberia, MTN employed 300 community members to assist with subscriber registration. In Iran, purchasing 100% of our recharge vouchers and SIM cards locally has helped develop the local economy. MTN South Africa has for more than two years met its targets with respect to enterprise development, spending more than R117 218 389,87.