Author: Rene Carter

MTN Group has retained the top spot in the annual ‘Brand Africa 100: Best Brands’ survey, also continuing to lead the list of African brands ‘doing good for society, people and environment’ in recognition of our ESG efforts to create shared value and a sustainable business, society and world.

This Africa Day, we take heart from this accolade and would like to acknowledge and thank our partners everywhere for their support,” said MTN Group President and Chief Executive Officer Ralph Mupita.

“MTN is committed to meeting our customers’ current and future needs, leveraging digital capabilities for a more sustainable future, and fostering strong partnerships to drive meaningful change. These awards inspire us to keep focused,” he added.

The Brand Africa awards are the result of independent research in more than 30 markets which account for 85% of the continent’s population and economic activity.

MTN Group has mobile operations in 17 countries on the continent. Since 2021, our strategy has been ‘Ambition 2025: Leading digital solutions for Africa’s progress’.

Among our ESG commitments are those to eco responsibility and achieving Net Zero emissions by 2040; driving digital and financial inclusion and a diverse society; being a committed partner to stakeholders to create and protect value; and boosting inclusive economic growth across the continent.

In April, Brand Finance ranked MTN as the most valuable South African brand, as well as the top South African brand by ‘sustainability perceptions value’, assigning MTN a brand value of R68.2 billion and a sustainability perceptions value of R5.7 billion.

Brand Africa Recognition

Reinforcing MTN’s commitment to accelerating digital transformation across the African continent, MTN Group Chairman Mcebisi Jonas and President & Chief Executive Officer Ralph Mupita engaged with the leaders of a number of countries on the sidelines of the annual Africa CEO Forum in Kigali, Rwanda last week.

“Discussions with national leaders centred on those topics that support the national development goals of our host nations and of Africa as a whole,” Jonas said, adding that these included regulatory and policy harmonisation; investment in digital infrastructure; broadband access; and skills development.

MTN is urging governments to streamline regulations and policies to support the increased investment in digital infrastructure required to accelerate the continent’s economic development.

Africa’s largest digital operator is also working with partners to ensure that the continent has the quality broadband access required to enable a thriving digital economy. We also support the skilling and re-skilling of people across Africa to meet the demands of the digital age.

“These initiatives are crucial to foster an environment conducive to innovation, economic growth and sustainable development across Africa,” Mupita said, adding that they also align with MTN’s strategic intent of ‘leading digital solutions for Africa’s progress’.

Among those leaders with whom the MTN Group leadership duo met were Rwandan President HE Paul Kagame, Kenyan President HE William Ruto and Côte d’Ivoire’s Prime Minister HE Robert Beugré Mambé.

“Digitalisation and the Fourth Industrial Revolution are changing Africa’s prospects,” Jonas said, adding that this was provided that the continent takes a number of steps, including strengthening governance, sustaining policy reforms, investing in infrastructure and skills, and navigating geopolitics.

“We should have a special focus on entrepreneurship and innovation in order to shift towards higher productivity growth,” he said. Partnerships and clear rules and transparency to protect them were also key.

MTN Group subsidiary MTN Côte d’Ivoire is the market leader in the West Africa country, with 16.2 million subscribers. MTN Rwanda also leads the market, with 7.4 million subscribers. Although MTN Group does not have a GSM operation in Kenya, MTN wholesale fibre business Bayobab operates in the East African country, where an MTN internet service provider business also operates. MTN Group has mobile operations in 17 countries in Africa and is working to extend digital inclusion in line with UN goals for universal broadband access.

MTN Group President and Chief Executive Officer Ralph Mupita urged governments across Africa to consider harmonising regulations, particularly in the tech sector, to support the increased capital investment in digital infrastructure required to accelerate economic development.

He was speaking at the opening of the Africa CEO Forum in Kigali, Rwanda, where the theme of the gathering of some 2 000 business leaders, CEOs, investors, heads of state and ministers was ‘At the table or on the menu? A critical moment to shape a new future for Africa’.

I would argue that the thing we do need to think about is harmonising regulatory developments, particularly in the technology space,” said Mupita, referencing the numerous different regulations that apply across Africa, where the population is of a similar size to that of India – a single country where only one set of regulations apply.

How do we create regulatory systems that are common across Africa?” he asked delegates to the Africa CEO Forum in Kigali, Rwanda, adding that harmonisation would help investors better anticipate their own returns and in turn encourage investment.

MTN Group has mobile operations in 17 countries in Africa and is working to extend digital inclusion in line with UN goals for universal broadband access.

Only around 500 million of the 1.2 billion people in Africa subscribe to mobile services. Just over half (57%) use 2G. This means only a quarter of Africans have access to the Internet. Most do not have smartphones, cannot afford them, and are digitally excluded.

MTN Group announces the release of our suite of annual reports for 2023, providing stakeholders with a comprehensive view of our resilient performance, strategic execution and contribution to society against a challenging macroeconomic and geopolitical backdrop.

“In 2024, we at MTN celebrate 30 years of working to give Africans hope, dignity and opportunity,” said MTN Group President and CEO Ralph Mupita. “We acknowledge the key role played by our stakeholders in the journey so far and invite you all to read our 2023 reports for a clear understanding of our strategic progress and priorities.”

The 2023 Integrated Report tells the overall MTN value-creation story, reflecting integrated thinking at the Group and its 19 operations. It is published alongside essential sustainability and financial reports as well as other important information for our shareholders. It highlights many 2023 milestones, among them:

With the acceleration of digital technologies, MTN sees the broad adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) as a material matter. “AI has the potential to drive innovation and efficiency across various sectors, but ethical implications and societal impact need to be carefully managed,” said Mupita, adding: “At MTN, we recognise the need to harness the power of digital technologies responsibly, ensuring our actions contribute positively to economic and social progress.”

As we reflect on three decades of impactful operations, our Sustainability Report pays tribute to the incredible individuals who have been integral to our success – from our dedicated staff and valued partners to the supportive governments and communities we serve. Their stories resonate throughout the report, highlighting our commitment to creating shared value across the continent. 

This year also marks the publication of our 20th consecutive annual Sustainability Report. We are honoured to look back on our journey of growth, innovation and commitment to creating a more sustainable future. This comes at a time where there is widespread adoption of the new investor-focused standards – IFRS S1 and IFRS S2, by the International Sustainability Standards Board. MTN is pleased to have taken proactive steps to begin implementing these standards.

As stewards of the digital age, we are dedicated to fostering a safe and transparent online environment. Our Transparency Report outlines the shifts in digital human rights driven by heightened security concerns, challenges in regulating privacy and growing awareness of digital rights protection. The landscape continues to evolve, reflecting the dynamic interplay between technology, law and societal values.

Climate change continues to leave its mark on Africa with record-breaking climate events across the continent in 2023. Our Climate Report highlights not only our work to reach Net Zero by 2040 but also our efforts to provide access to early warning systems for all through strategic partnerships such as that with Tomorrow.io and Microsoft. This helps ensure we continue to lead digital solutions for Africa’s progress.

Faced with reduced fiscal revenues and the need for greater public spending to support economic activity, many African governments have sought new ways to generate revenue, among them broadening the tax base and increasing tax types and rates.

Our Tax Report shows how we are playing our part in supporting the socioeconomic development of our host nations, with a total contribution of R61.7 billion in taxes across our markets. These are not only corporate taxes but also indirect taxes, withholding taxes, payroll taxes, operating licence fees and other payments to government authorities.

“We recognise the important role our tax contributions play in uplifting communities across our footprint. Our voluntary Tax Report is an effort to explain our tax affairs in a comprehensive and transparent way, thereby underpinning the trust of our many stakeholders,” said MTN Group Chief Financial Officer Tsholo Molefe. “In supporting the attainment of sustainable societies across our markets, we take seriously our responsibility to be a compliant and transparent taxpayer.”

The Notice of Annual General Meeting (AGM) was issued on 25 April 2024. The AGM will take place virtually on Friday 24 May 2024 and provides an excellent opportunity for shareholders to participate and discuss the resolutions that will be presented. We encourage shareholders to attend the meeting.

Link to the website: https://mtn-investor.com/reporting-suite/index.php

The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector thrives on innovation and fresh perspectives. At MTN, we believe a diverse and inclusive workforce is the key to unlocking these possibilities. Leaders like Titilope Fakuade, Chief Technology and Information Officer at MTN Benin, embody this philosophy.

Titilope’s journey in ICT underscores the importance of embracing diverse backgrounds. “My background in physics laid the groundwork for my career in technology,” she reflects, emphasising the transferability of skills from diverse academic backgrounds. This insight reinforces the idea that success in technology isn’t confined to a single educational path. It encourages individuals from all disciplines to see the potential for valuable contributions in the world of ICT.

Early in her career, Titilope encountered gender disparities common in the field. “In the physics class, as an undergrad, we were about 56/57 students and out of that less than 10 were females,” she recalls. Rather than dwell on these challenges, she remained steadfastly focused on building her expertise and delivering impactful work. Her drive, along with the inspiration provided by female leaders like Linda Saint-Nwafor, former CTO at MTN Nigeria, fuelled her determination to excel in technology. “Seeing women in leadership roles showed me what was possible,” she affirms.

Mentorship has played a pivotal role in Titilope’s career, a value she champions at MTN. Her advice for young women in Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) echoes her own journey: “You’re capable of achieving much more than you know. Challenge yourself and push beyond your self-imposed limitations.” She also stresses, “If you believe you can do it, then that is a great step in getting it done.” Titilope’s words are a reminder that confidence and resilience are essential for girls aspiring to careers in ICT. These challenges can be met with a growth mindset and a determination to succeed.

As a leader, Titilope advocates for practical strategies that empower women in technology. “There is a need to expose, educate, and create some level of growth for women in different positions and opportunities,” she states. Through targeted recruitment initiatives, flexible work arrangements, and programs that support professional development, MTN actively fosters an environment where women can thrive in the technology sector.

MTN’s commitment to inclusivity goes beyond internal policies; it is reflected in how we engage with and inspire the next generation of leaders in ICT and across all facets of our business . Through initiatives that elevate the visibility of female role models in ICT, we seek to affirm that leadership positions are attainable for women who set their sights on them. This is exemplified by our efforts to organise workshops and seminars, as well as creating platforms for influential women in technology, such as Titilope, to impart their experiences and perspectives. In a recent event during Women’s Month in March 2024, we initiated a focused discussion on Male Allyship led by our Group President and CEO Ralph Mupita, and our most senior leaders from across our business exploring how men can enhance their support for amplifying women’s voices within organisations and the broader community.

The focus on mentorship is particularly strong at MTN, recognising its crucial role in professional development. We motivate our leaders to proactively mentor emerging talents, aiding them in navigating the intricacies of the ICT industry. This mentorship is not only about reinforcing the importance of their contributions but also includes offering practical advice on career advancement, addressing workplace challenges, and achieving a balance between professional and personal life—key elements for building a sustainable career in technology.

Titilope’s advocacy for creating opportunities for women in technology is matched by MTN’s dedication to this cause. By implementing targeted recruitment initiatives that ensure diversity in hiring, MTN not only enriches its workforce but also strengthens the tech ecosystem as a whole. Flexible work arrangements are another area where MTN leads by example, recognising that accommodating the diverse needs of our employees promotes a healthier, more productive workplace.

MTN’s efforts to build bridges and break barriers in the ICT sector are embodied by leaders like Titilope Fakuade. Her journey and leadership not only inspire women to pursue careers in technology but also highlight the transformative impact of inclusivity in fostering innovation. At MTN, we remain committed to advancing this cause, ensuring that our workforce reflects the diversity of the communities we serve and that our leadership drives the change needed for a more inclusive future.

Next week, we will spotlight stories from our Global Graduates and highlight their journey within ICT and the STEM sector.

MTN Group and major subsidiary MTN South Africa (MTN SA) each retained a Level 1 Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) contributor status in 2023, for the fourth and fifth years in a row respectively.

We recognise that our success is intertwined with the success of local businesses and people in the markets in which we operate,” said MTN Group President and CEO Ralph Mupita after the release of MTN’s annual B-BBEE compliance report. “We work to make a tangible contribution towards the growth of local enterprises, driving job creation and fostering economic resilience.”

Notable improvements in the year were recorded in the categories of Management Control and Skills Development. The gains in Management Control reflect our work to promote equality in the workplace, creating a gender-inclusive environment and reflecting fair representation of South Africa’s demographics.

Despite the tough macroeconomic environment, MTN continued to drive skills development to meet growing demand for critical and specialised skills in the ICT sector and the economy at large. We increased spending on skills development for people living with disabilities and continued to provide opportunities for unemployed learners.

Over the years, MTN has consistently prioritised the upliftment of previously disadvantaged individuals through our socio-economic development initiatives. Through the MTN Online School and MTN Skills Academy programmes, we have created an even broader enabling environment for disadvantaged individuals. More than 700 000 learners have accessed the MTN Online School platform, offering digital curriculum-aligned educational content for Grades R to 12. More than 900 unemployed youth have received training in digital skills programmes ranging from digital marketing and e-commerce to data science-related short courses.

To meet MTN Group’s strategic priority to create shared value, MTN SA launched the Xlerator enterprise and supplier development programme in September 2023. It aims to transform MTN SA’s supply chain by creating a platform for the growth of Black-owned suppliers through financial, developmental and training support.

As a significant player in the sector, we recognise our responsibility to foster inclusive and sustainable economic growth,” said MTN SA CEO Charles Molapisi. “Black-owned businesses are integral to the development of South Africa’s economy. Programmes like Xlerator make available more than R2.6 billion in financial support through MTN SA-enabled finance ecosystem partners.

As we celebrate 30 years of connecting people, over the years we at MTN, have transformed our supply chain by affording more opportunities to Black-owned SMMEs, increasing spend (which is independently verified in terms of the Codes of Good Practice) with targeted suppliers, as follows:

• >51% Black-Owned vendors – from R3.5bn in 2016 to R6.5bn in 2023;
• 30% Black Women-Owned vendors – from R9.2bn in 2016 to R14.2bn in 2023;
• ¹EMEs – from R326m in 2016 to R785m in 2023;
• ²QSEs – from R1.2bn in 2016 to R1.8bn in 2023; and
• ³Designated Groups – from zero in 2016 to R1bn in 2023.

*Notes:
1.EME: Exempted Micro Enterprise: an enterprise with an annual turnover of R10m or less; and
2.QSE: Qualifying Small Enterprise: an enterprise with an annual turnover of between R10m and R50m
3.Designated groups: comprise: Black People living with Disabilities, Black people living in rural areas and Black military veterans) including Black Youth;

MTN Group is delighted to announce the appointment of M&C Saatchi Abel and Group of Companies, a pan- African marketing services firm, as its new marketing services partner across all MTN Group operating companies, effective 1 January 2025. This partnership underscores our ongoing commitment to pioneering innovative and impactful marketing strategies across our diverse markets.

M&C Saatchi Abel was selected following a meticulous process for their expertise in fostering growth and enhancing brand value for multinational corporations. Their proficiency in digital transformation and customer engagement strategies perfectly aligns with MTN Group’s forward-looking vision.

We look forward to commencing this new chapter with M&C Saatchi Abel and their Group of Companies,” remarked Bernice Samuels, MTN Group Marketing Executive. “Their progressive perspective and achievements in the marketing domain are precisely what MTN requires to elevate our brand. We believe this partnership will not only redefine our brand presence but also enrich the experiences of our customers globally.”

Jacques Burger, Group CEO of M&C Saatchi Abel and Group of Companies, shared their excitement about the alliance, saying, “It’s a great honour to partner with MTN Group, a distinguished leader in the telecommunications arena. We are dedicated to applying our comprehensive industry insights and cutting-edge marketing strategies to support MTN’s growth ambitions and boost customer satisfaction. We are eager to achieve remarkable milestones together in the industry.

MTN Group would like to extend our deepest gratitude to TBWA Group – part of the OMNICOM network, for their service and significant contributions over the years. Their dedication and performance have been instrumental in shaping the MTN brand, and we wish them continued success in their future endeavours.

This partnership marks a new phase for MTN Group, focused on delivering unparalleled value to our customers and stakeholders.

ayoba is pleased to share the achievement of a significant milestone with the super-app reaching 35 million monthly active users across the African continent in December 2023. This growth is attributed to the heightened retention rates and organic adoption, fuelled by an enhanced user experience in the communication suite and a robust content offering that includes music, channels, games, and services. The expansion has been further propelled by the inclusion of users from new territories such as Kenya, Egypt, Mali, Tanzania, Burkina Faso, and Botswana.

Selorm Adadevoh, MTN Group Chief Commercial Officer shares, “Empowering connections, fostering innovation, and charting the course for a digital future, ayoba is more than an app – it’s a transformative journey. Like the continent itself, ayoba has been resilient, dynamic, and forward-thinking. As we reflect on the milestones of 2023, it’s clear that our dedication to innovation and user-centricity has propelled ayoba to new heights. With gratitude for the past and a vision for the future, we embarked on 2024 with a steadfast commitment to continuing to evolve ayoba delivering enriched experiences for its growing user base in Africa. Our focus remains unwavering on empowering communities, driving innovation, and building a sustainable ecosystem for long-term growth, ayoba is not just an app; it’s a testament to the power of connectivity.

ayoba saw strong growth in 2023 in many areas of the service. Usage of Music continued to increase via ayoba’s popular playlist service* in collaboration with Boomplay, which ended the year in excess of 600 million streams.  Amongst many other growth drivers were improvements in the messaging vertical and popularity of the new ‘Explore’ landing page.

Looking ahead to 2024, Burak Akinci, ayoba’s CEO, expresses optimism, saying “We are very proud of our achievements in 2023, and we have a lot to look forward to in the coming year. We begin the year with a strong offering for Football fans including multiple daily news updates, games, themed playlists to name a few.  As we move into the year, our product and content teams have many updates coming across Messaging and Groups, User Stories, Music, Games and more. Our focus in 2024 will extend to the B2B front, introducing features to benefit our partners and leverage our growing ecosystem and traffic.

In 2023, ayoba successfully launched content marketing attracting partnerships with top brands such as Cadbury’s, Chappies. The year ahead will see a heightened focus on expanding partnerships with known brands, as new Ad Sales options are introduced to capitalise on the growing user base and engagement.

On the content front, ayoba has secured new high-profile partners, from international NGOs to the localised Dycoco offering, adding more French comedy to the highly popular Adamant Media series on the platform. In plans for 2024, includes the introduction of more podcasts, playlists, education, sports news, lifestyle updates and uplifting with a focus on short-form video.

ayoba is set to launch an updated range of services, including a communications API, new payment partners and improvements to its partner portal. The newly launched ‘Discover’ Page in the Services vertical offers new traffic drivers for partners, as well as a curated services offering.

Messaging has always been a core focus for ayoba. Following on the successful re-engineering of the messaging module in 2023 which included a design and features refresh; ayoba will turn its attention to commercial features in 2024.  This includes the introduction of business accounts with related support and a suite of business-oriented features.

*in partnership with Boomplay

MTN has again been ranked the most valuable South African brand, as well as the top South African brand by ‘sustainability perceptions value’ by Brand Finance South Africa 100 2024, which assigned MTN a brand value of R68.2 billion and a sustainability perceptions value of R5.7 billion.

“It is both encouraging and humbling that we retain our top spot after 30 years in the business and that – despite the significant macroeconomic challenges we are facing – our brand also has the strongest association to perceptions of sustainability,” said MTN Group President and CEO Ralph Mupita. “We would like to thank our customers and other stakeholders everywhere for their support and we’d also like to thank our people for their commitment.”

Brand Finance said: “While global operations can significantly enhance brand visibility and financial performance, they also introduce complexities that can affect brand strength negatively. These include navigating different regulatory environments, cultural nuances, and operational challenges including wars that can impact customer perceptions and loyalty.”

Brand Finance attributed MTN’s brand strength to “the company’s effective strategies in areas such as customer service, advertising, loyalty programs, and overall reputation management”.

The report also named Ralph Mupita the top ranked ‘Brand Guardian’ among South African CEOs.

For more information visit: Brand Finance

MTN Group Limited (“MTN”) wishes to confirm that its wholly owned subsidiary MTN Dubai Limited has entered into an agreement for the sale of its 75% shareholding in Areeba Guinea S.A. to Telecel Group. The sale remains in line with MTN’s portfolio optimisation focus within our Ambition 2025 strategy.

The sale has not reached completion and remains subject to conditions precedent being satisfactorily met, including the receipt of regulatory and other approvals from the relevant authorities in Guinea.

MTN will continue to work and cooperate with the relevant regulatory authorities, to ensure that all the appropriate requirements for transactions of this nature are addressed.

MTN wishes to reassure our customers in Guinea that the ongoing transaction will not affect the services offered to them.