Month: October 2019

MTN Group today announced sustained momentum in its results for the 9 months to September 2019 with service revenue growing 9,6% and its EBITDA margin improving by 0,6% to 35,1%. During the quarter the group added 3,5m subscribers and now serves 244 million customers across its 21 markets.

Commenting on the update, MTN Group CEO Rob Shuter said: “Service revenue growth and improvements in our EBITDA margin continued into the third quarter. We remain committed to driving access to internet and financial services and in Q3 we added 4.7 million active data users and 2.2 million Mobile Money subscribers across the portfolio. Our Ayoba messaging platform is now available across five markets and is already recording 515,000 active users per month.”

Overall, solid performances in Nigeria and Ghana offset the headwinds in South Africa, which was impacted by the weaker consumer demand and changes in ICASA’s End User Subscriber Service Charter Regulations which have impacted out-of-bundle (OOB) usage. Notwithstanding these pressures, in the third quarter MTN South Africa saw an improving trend in both prepaid and enterprise service revenues. Consumer post-paid in South Africa remained strong in a competitive market with service revenue growing at 5,8%.

At June 2019 MTN had not recognised R393 million of unpaid revenue from its roaming agreement with Cell C and an impairment of R211 million had also been raised. Since the end of June 2019 to date, Cell C has made payments amounting to nearly R750 million, in line with an agreed payment plan.  MTN has continued its conservative accounting for the Cell C roaming contract and only payments receive during the third quarter were processed, and all against the outstanding balances as at June 2019. We continue to work with Cell C on an expanded network deal and are seeing good progress to date.

Providing an update of the asset realisation programme (ARP) MTN Group CFO Ralph Mupita said: “As at June 2019 we had achieved R2.1bn of the 3-year R15 billion target announced in March this year. We continue to make steady progress in this regard and, following American Towers Corporation’s announcement of its acquisition of Eaton Towers, we are in advanced discussions to dispose of our 49% holdings in ATC Ghana and ATC Uganda which we value at between R7bn and R8bn.

The post IPO lock up period of Jumia, in which we have an 18.9% stake has expired and, as at 29 October, this stake is valued at approximately R1.4 billion. We also continue to await regulatory processes for the redemption of MTN Nigeria preference shares that have a value of $315 million for MTN Group. Finally, Econet’s unsolicited offer to acquire our 53% stake in Mascom has been terminated following certain conditions of the sale not being met.”

The Group expects an improved performance in South Africa in 2020 as the effects of the End User regulation on OOB usage moderate, the enterprise division returns to growth and the Cell C situation stabilises. We are confident that in Nigeria we will maintain service revenue and EBITDA growth in line with the medium-term guidance. This will be delivered as we improve our data revenue performance with increased 4G coverage as we utilise our 800 Mhz spectrum. We are also pushing ahead with our mobile money strategy through the super-agent licence, with 66,282 registered agents currently and a target of 100,000 by year end.

Shuter concludes: “Although conditions have been tougher in the year, we have sustained our performance in 2019 and looking forward, we are focussed on executing our BRIGHT strategy to deliver sustainable growth in our operations and to simplify our portfolio to reduce risk and improve returns. We remain resolute and committed to building our digital operator strategy and delivering on our medium-term targets and dividend policy.

In pursuit of its goal to contribute to bridging the financial divide, MTN Group has granted third parties access to its Mobile Money (MoMo) Access Programming Interface (API) platform.

The open API enables developers and programmers to innovate on the platform and develop products and other solutions that will create a wider range of digital financial offerings for MTN’s customers.

To further foster innovation and enhance financial inclusion, MTN is inviting developers and entrepreneurs, across five countries, to participate in the MoMo API Hackathon. The Hackathon, run in partnership with Ericsson (MTN’s MoMo technology partner), will give app developers based in Ghana, Uganda, Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroon and Zambia the opportunity to create innovative financial and transactional applications using the MTN MoMo API platform.

“Enhancing financial inclusion through digital technology is an essential element in supporting the continent’s realisation of some of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. We also see this as an opportunity for more tech developers, entrepreneurs and businesses to work with us in bridging the financial divide, whilst also creating ample opportunities for themselves,” said Serigne Dioum, MTN Group Executive for Mobile Financial Services.

This Hackathon further illustrates the essence of the company’s ‘We’re Good Together’ initiative, which celebrates the role that collaboration can play in ensuring that more people enjoy the benefits of a modern connected life. The range of solutions to narrow the financial services gap can only be achieved through various partnerships with entrepreneurs, developers, financial services providers, regulatory authorities, other mobile network operators, merchants, distributors, businesses and technology providers.

About the challenge

MTN Group is pleased to announce the appointment of Djibril Ouattara to the position of MTN Ivory Coast CEO, effective 1 November 2019. The appointment follows the departure of former CEO, Freddy Tchala in September.

Djibril is a seasoned executive with experience spanning more than 15 years in telecoms. In his most recent role as CEO of MTN Congo Brazzaville, he made significant strides in delivering on the company’s BRIGHT strategy.

He has implemented a successful turnaround including a network transformation which won MTN Congo Brazzaville the award for ‘best network’ in the country for two consecutive years, and an aggressive Supply and Distribution transformation leading to significant value share growth. Additionally, he led the operation’s mobile money development, achieving 53% penetration rate in two years.

Djibril has worked across Africa, the USA and Europe. Prior to joining MTN he held CEO roles at Canal Plus Ivory Coast and Etisalat-Atlantique Telecom Togo. He holds an MBA from MIT-Sloan School of Management (USA), as well as an Engineering Degree from ENSIA-INSET in Ivory Coast.

Effective 1 November, current MTN Congo Brazzaville Chief Technical and Information Officer (CTIO), Ayham Moussa, will undertake the position of acting CEO for MTN Congo Brazzaville until a permanent appointment is finalised.

MTN Group is supporting AfroChampionssecond conference on Sustainable Green Growth and Industrialisation, taking place in Kigali, Rwanda. The conference which started on 8 October, and concludes on 11 October, aims to encourage collaborations and partnerships that will accelerate the transformation of Africa under the selected topic.

Speaking about this partnership MTN Group President and CEO, Rob Shuter, said: “Since inception 25 years ago, MTN has had the opportunity, together with our host countries and communities, to build a legacy of changing lives within the markets that we operate. Our We’re Good Together initiative celebrates this partnership approach and partnering with AfroChampions is another way in which MTN can play its part in harnessing economic growth in Africa.”

MTN believes in the potential of an Africa whose nations pursue deeper trade, integration and cooperation. Looking forward, the African Continental Free Trade Agreement as well as interventions such as AfroChampions will ensure that the continent operates as a single Africa, building easier trading conditions for businesses and easier movement of goods and services and therefore stimulating economic activity across the continent,” added Shuter.

Celebrating 25 years of Being Good Together

MTN Group today launched its “We’re good together” initiative. This is aimed at demonstrating how, in partnering with our host countries, we can change lives by improving digital access, driving financial inclusion, empowering and enabling SMEs, creating jobs and broad community development, among many others. As a pan African company with roots that are deeply anchored in the continent, MTN is telling its story that doing good business extends far beyond corporate social investment initiatives.

Speaking about the role of MTN on the continent, Group CEO and President Rob Shuter said: “To harness the potential of Africa and ensure our youth are productively employed we need affordable, safe and relevant digital services which are matched with the required digital skills. This in turn will support the global development agenda and national priorities. As one of the major infrastructure investors across Africa, MTN through partnership and collaboration, can accelerate this digital inclusion.”

The global telecommunications industry has made significant progress on the Sustainable Development Goals but more still needs to be done to bridge the digital divide and MTN is prepared to do its part. Since inception 25 years ago MTN has been a significant contributor to the economies and communities within which we operate. A lot of this has been with respect to the infrastructure that is the backbone of the economies that we operate in, and often, that enables connectivity of people in the most remote areas. Our operations have also increasingly become a broader part of the economy through varying efforts including employment creation as well as Mobile Money.
MTN Group Media release

“Over the last 25 years MTN has built high-speed networks covering 560 million people, created jobs for over 5 million people and through MTN Mobile Money connected 30 million people to the benefits of easy, cost-effective mobile financial services across the continent,” said Shuter.

MTN has also worked to use this extensive mobile reach and technology to enable access to education with the goal of promoting and enabling digital teaching and learning. This has been driven by our aim to empower students with the knowledge required to seize opportunities, improve their quality of life and realise their ambitions.

“MTN only succeeds if Africa succeeds. Being a partner in development also means that we have a responsibility to enable the youth to unlock economic opportunities in every country we operate in. We have therefore enhanced our focus on more actively demonstrating what can be achieved if we work together to enable a shared value system and drive a prosperous Africa,” added Shuter.

Ever since mobile phones could connect to the internet, it seems that almost every job has the potential to go beyond the typical 9 to 5.

A quick text to a colleague, an important email from a client, a video call with people across the world – these tasks no longer require office hours. Mobile technology has altered the way we work forever. While we marvel at (or bemoan) our extended workdays, farmers have been doing it for centuries. Neither crops nor livestock are concerned about the numbers on a clock or the public holidays on a calendar. The farmer’s day does not end when the sun sets; because when the sun sets the farmer has to worry about whether his or her livestock is safe and secure, or whether that cow might give birth at midnight, among a range of other concerns. In an innovative world, this is where technology comes in to ease and optimize the workload.

Innovation for farmers comes in the form of cloud-based technology and the Internet of Things. This pillar of Industry 4.0 has led to the creation of smart collars for livestock.

When an animal wears a smart collar, the farmer can track its location and health in real-time.

Rather than wondering whether a predator or a thief is going to get away with an animal in the middle of the night, smart collars minimise the guesswork. If, for example, a predator enters the territory of farm animals, the heart rate of the farm animal will increase and the farmer will be alerted about the distress immediately. Naturally, alerts from the smart collar are sent straight to the farmer’s phone in the event of a potential incident. The ability to prevent rather than react to incidents results in fewer animals lost, and more money saved in the long run.

smart collar infographic

In countries like South Africa, smart collars are helping to prevent the theft of livestock as well as the ability to identify an animal if it wanders over to a neighbouring farm. The combination of a smart collar, cloud-based management and a user-friendly digital interface also enables farmers to gather data and identify behaviour patterns, which lead to more informed decisions about managing livestock.

Similarly, in Nigeria we launched an animal identification management system to monitor cattle location, send emergency alerts in cases of distress and create grazing areas through solar powered GPS geo-fences.

Smart collars have made an impact on Africa’s rhino poaching problem as well. MTN partnered with IBM, a university in the Netherlands called Wageningen, and a game reserve called Welgevonden to create and deploy smart collars for animals in danger of being poached. Whenever the behaviour of an animal in the game reserve changes (as they do when hunters approach), game rangers receive alerts and are able to act quickly.

With more than 1000 rural sites installed by MTN in Africa, more livestock farmers have the ability to use smart collar solutions. When connectivity becomes the enabler to solve age-old problems, technology becomes so much more valuable than answering a late night email.

If you enjoyed this article, read about how crop farmers are using IoT solutions here.

Like a snowflake or a fingerprint, we are all so different. We have different likes and dislikes, different habits, live in different countries and continents. The human race is a fantastic mix of individuals born into the world with their own unique path to follow. As different as we are, we are also all the same in so many ways.

It doesn’t matter who you are, where you are, or what you do – the need to feed our human bodies is one of life’s great equalizers. Food is something that some of us take for granted, and that others have in such minimal amounts that they can barely stay alive. We have a food problem. According to an organization called Future Agenda, the world will need 60% more calories per day to feed 9 billion people by 2050. And yet the world wastes 2 billion tonnes of food every year. A large portion of that food is wasted at an agricultural level – before it even reaches a factory or your dinner table. If ever we needed a reason to use technology to solve a global problem, this is it.

The UN reports that almost half of the African population relies on agriculture to make a living. Imagine the potential to solve our food problem if we could enable half the African population, 530 million people, to farm more efficiently? It all starts with a connection. When farmers are connected, Internet of Things solutions become a reality.

MTN has over 1000 rural sites, taking us closer to a truly connected continent.

The Internet of Things has become a major contributor to a concept called precision agriculture. The objectives in combining technology with farming include higher yields, reduction of operating costs and an overall increase in efficiency. One example can be found in Kenya. A company called UjuziKilimo installs sensors in farm soil which send data to farmers’ mobile devices. This data includes weather updates which helps farmers decide when to plant seeds in our ever-changing climate, and even information about soil quality. Farmers only need to send a text message to UjuziKilimo for the team to come out and begin with a farm-analysis. And when farmers are connected, they are able to share the data they receive with their neighbours – spreading the knowledge, and amplifying the impact so that everyone is maximizing the potential of their own farms. In South Africa, farmers are also making use of mobile apps to send alerts about pest problems and receive weather updates and other farming related advice.

[vimeo 219679989 w=640 h=360]

A sustainable farm is a successful one which makes a far-reaching impact. More people can be employed in the agriculture sector when farming is efficient, and more food is produced to feed our growing global population.

All of these solutions are only possible because of our natural eagerness to innovate, and the ability to do so with technology and connectivity as a solid foundation. Technology and people truly can be good together – and that’s food for thought!

Global Farmer Network – Rwanda Leadership Honoured
Farmers Weekly – New Smartphone Apps to Help Farmers
Brookings – Foresight Africa 2016

The ripple effect of mobile money is changing the lives of people in Africa and beyond.

Cause and effect. It is the backbone of science, and the reality of our daily lives. Sometimes, the effect is minimal and even unremarkable. Other times, the effect is big enough to change the trajectory of entire lives.

We see examples of cause and effect in technology all the time. A single tweet, a new invention, a simple app, can change the future. One example worth noting, is mobile money. Mobile money is changing the way millions of people manage their finances, and it has led to the creation of a new ecosystem. We estimate that the MTN mobile money ecosystem has contributed to the creation of 400 000 jobs across our footprint.

Consider how different your life would be if you didn’t have access to financial services. Is there a safe place for you to put your salary, in cash, every month? How would you purchase a home or pay school fees? Would you be able to stand in a queue every month to pay your bills in cash? Would you ever have a chance to get a loan? For the majority of people living in Africa, this is reality. The rise of mobile money is not just convenient, it is life changing. And it has created a ripple effect across an entire continent which goes much further than convenience.

The GSMA reports that more than a decade into the creation of mobile money, transactions to the value of $1.3 Billion per day were done in 2018.

A typical active mobile money user transacts to the value of $206 per month. This number is expected to grow as the adoption of mobile money is growing by 20% every year. MTN is proud to play a part in financial transformation on the continent, ensuring that our subscribers have access to a mobile way of managing money where traditional institutions are unable to assist.

Mobile Money Gives 400 000 people Jobs

Imagine yourself as a talented entrepreneur living in an African country, selling products to people in your community. A laptop and a mobile phone may enable you to build an online store and market your products to the world, but without a bank account, how would you make transactions beyond your physical reach? Mobile money is giving entrepreneurs a chance to start and grow their businesses. With more successful businesses, come more opportunities for employment.

Mobile Money provides two streams of financial empowerment. The first, is that with a small sum of cash and a mobile phone, the youth which make up the majority of Africa, can become Mobile Money agents. Today MTN Mobile Money is working with 400,000 agents . The second stream is for innovative entrepreneurs who leverage mobile money to collect payments. The ability to collect payments digitally is a step toward digitizing a business and being truly innovative. For example, prepaid solar power and water providers have been able to reach remote areas of the continent while insurance companies have been able to disrupt their commercial models by creating products for consumers that previously had no access to insurance services – all by leveraging the mobile money platform.


The Ripple Effect of Mobile Money

120,000 Mobile Money Merchants

With the rise of mobile money, came the demand for merchants. There are 120 000 MTN mobile money merchants in Africa which implies 120 000 businesses have been able to increase their revenue. By accepting digital payments and bringing a digital element to traditionally brick-and-mortar businesses, Mobile Money can play a central role in empowering entrepreneurs. Becoming true drivers for economic and social growth, entrepreneurs can grow their businesses and employ people. This has a direct effect on the bottom line for people who have previously been ignored by traditional financial institutions.

A simple app, a few organisations working together, a continent full of talents and entrepreneurs and millions of people in need of financial services have contributed to the creation of 400 000 jobs. Could you think of a better example of technology making a meaningful impact?


Millions of people on the continent have been excluded from financial services. However, with technology and innovative business models, we have simplified access to financial services.

Consider an ambitious woman who lives in a remote part of Zambia. She runs a small business, and starts using mobile money to accept payments from customers. With that same mobile money platform, she starts to send funds to family members in other parts of the country, paying for emergencies, health care and everything else her family may need. She may be hundreds of kilometres away, but her family still needs her, and she is able to meet their needs because of the technology in her pocket. Using mobile money to pay for her daughter’s school fees saves the woman from queuing to pay bills, buying her more time to increase her business revenue. When the sun sets, she uses mobile money to access solar power solutions so she can turn the lights on and keep going. And when she is ready to take her business to new heights, it is through mobile money that she can access a micro loan because mobile money has given her a financial history. This financial stability leads to stability in her business and in her home.

MTN now has 30 million active mobile money subscribers in 14 countries on the continent.

The range of solutions to close the financial services gap in the markets in which we operate requires partnerships with financial services providers, regulatory authorities, other mobile network operators, merchants, distributors, innovators and business associations. It is through working with our partners that MTN now has 30 million active mobile money subscribers in 14 countries on the continent – this has significantly improved the economic and social well-being of millions of Africans.


How Mobile Money Affects Social and Financial Inclusion

The World Bank defines social inclusion as the process of improving the terms for individuals and groups to take part in society. Participation in society comes in three forms; markets, services and spaces. Markets, specifically, refer to labour, housing and credit. Mobile money is giving unbanked people in Africa the opportunity to participate in local and global markets. When wages are paid digitally to a mobile wallet, people with no traditional ‘paper trail’ suddenly have a digital trail and proof that they are able to earn and spend, and most importantly, save. Creating or growing a business becomes a reality, because money can safely be put aside for future investments. Eventually, that growing business requires staff to operate and continue growing. So jobs are created, and the community benefits.

This is not the story of one woman who wanted to grow a business. It is the story of millions of people in Africa on a journey to financial transformation. We estimate that MTN Mobile Money has contributed to the creation of 400 000 jobs across the company’s footprint. If you’d like to read about the ripple effect of this phenomenon, click here.


OECD Library – Africa’s Development Dynamics 2018
The World Bank – Social Inclusion in Africa

If you want to see what the digital divide looks like, look at the children.

There are children who seem to be born with an iPad in their hands, and there are those who will not have access to a computer until they reach a certain grade at school. Both groups will grow up in a digital world, and both groups have a great chance of thriving in the digital world if they are provided with the skills, tools and mentoring required to become great at anything.
By investing in the digital education of children in Africa and the Middle East, we are levelling the playing field and preparing our youth to become innovators in the digital world.

How is a student meant to excel in a digital world when they have limited or zero access to computers and connectivity?

This is why part of MTN’s CSI funds are used to equip educational institutions with the digital tools needed to advance the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal of advancing the quality of education (UN SDG 4).

In Benin, where access to textbooks is limited, the MTN Benin Foundation created 50 digital classes for 50 schools. Digital literacy training was provided to the facilitators managing the classes, along with a donation of 1000 laptops and the necessary connectivity. Now, more than 15 000 students and 100 teachers have access to the learning materials required for a good education.

E-libraries, online journals and other digital learning and research materials not only fill the gap where physical books are lacking, they also give learners the opportunity to make technology the foundation of their education. Other initiatives include the donation of a digital library to an orphanage in Afghanistan, where 200 children now have access to 3000 e-books. In Ghana, MTN donated an ICT centre for university students who required online research materials. The centre benefits 10 000 learners and the lecturers at the university. Over the years, we have established more than 925 computer labs and ICT facilities, because we believe that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life.

MTN Ghana constructed a 24 unit classroom block which benefits 10 000 learners every year.

There is no point in introducing a school to computers when the school’s classrooms are dilapidated, so MTN first ensures that those without the basics get the help they need. Through a programme MTN established called Y’ello Schools, the MTN Cameroon Foundation has constructed 31 classrooms, and installed 16 potable water points, to improve the learning conditions of at least 16 400 students and 154 teachers. In Uganda, partnering with an initiative called Promoting Equality in African Schools, the Foundation has played a major role in constructing 10 schools.

By donating and installing smart boards in schools and computers in media centres, children in Africa get the chance to innovate just like those in developed countries. By working together, we are levelling the playing field, so that learners in Africa have the foundation required to innovate and bring real transformation to the continent.