MTN Group’s Foundations boost efforts to combat COVID-19

MTN Group has boosted its MTN Foundation’s contribution to support efforts in combatting the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic across its footprint. The initiatives include contributing towards Government Relief Funds, the procurement and sourcing of vital Health Care Resources, Food and Water Security through the provision of food packages and water points to meet basic needs, and the Economic Upliftment of SMMEs and local market value chains.

The COVID-19 global pandemic is already the most severe human tragedy of our generation. While the exact consequences, including those of a socio-economic nature, cannot be accurately estimated at this stage, we know that the health emergency is to be followed by social and economic emergencies, both globally and across our markets.

The vulnerable in our societies will suffer the most during this crisis, both in the short and in the long-term, and we have identified food insecurity to be the most pressing as well as the most disruptive risk to our societies.

Across the continent and beyond, national governments have set up relief funds aimed at supporting those in the greatest of need. MTN Group has contributed a monetary value of R42 million in a number of markets for Government Relief Funds in response to COVID-19 efforts. The funding is for the support of the unemployed, small and large businesses and the procurement of essential goods such as food and medicine which positively impacts the economic upliftment of societies.

In line with MTN Group’s commitment towards minimising the spread of the virus, MTN has supported the provision of 130 500 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and 10 000 virus testing kits. Through the donation of food packs and the provision of water points, approximately 46 000 people have access to vital food and water during these trying times. Through these efforts and our support for Government Relief Funds, we have invested R70 million towards ensuring communities are supported.

Nompilo Morafo, Group Executive Corporate Affairs, says: “MTN, as a leading brand in the markets in which we operate, believes that we have a  key role to play in assisting to minimise the likelihood of transmission and its impact on society. We are incredibly  proud of the level of resilience that the communities have demonstrated across our operations as they fight against the challenges that COVID-19 brings.

Africa and the Middle East have always been cultures defined by ingenuity, entrepreneurship, and positivity. We believe the more we can do to address our communities’ essential needs, the more time they can use to focus on this resilience and innovation potential that will be at the heart of social and economic recovery.”

Since COVID-19 has transformed the world we live in there have been countless inspiring stories of ingenuity as people find new ways to operate and contribute to the recovery. African laboratories and tech companies have developed rapid testing kits, mobile tracking apps and medical drones. In some countries radio, web solutions and apps are delivering education to students who would otherwise be cut off from school and across the continent businesses are redesigning their production lines to manufacture much needed ventilators, sanitizers and PPEs. As we rebuild and reshape our economies, innovation will be the game changer.

We are committed to leveraging our core capabilities to enable this process, underpinned by our core belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern, connected life and that connectivity can play a unifying role.

The COVID-19 pandemic as a global health and societal emergency requires effective and immediate action by governments, individuals and businesses. It is critical that we collectively respond with one unified voice and take the necessary measures to make a meaningful contribution to society.

MTN Group Announces R250m Relief Package to Tackle COVID-19 Pandemic across its operations

MTN Group today announced details of its R250 million relief package in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Operating across 21 markets MTN Group has customised its response to recognize its responsibility to contribute both in its home market South Africa as well as in many other markets facing enormous challenges managing the pandemic. Comprising five key intervention initiatives, the Group has focused on employees, customers, vulnerable groups, contributions to the South African Government’s Solidarity Fund and participating in industry interventions.

“We believe it is the responsibility of all organisations to assist where they can during the pandemic.  MTN plays a vital role in the mobile and telecommunications industry across Africa and the Middle East and it is vital that we assist our employees, customers and stakeholders during this difficult time,” said Mcebisi Jonas, the Chairman of MTN Group. Believing that charity “begins at home”, the Group plans to raise R40 million for the MTN Global Staff Emergency Fund for employees in need.

The funds will be raised by contributions from the Group’s directors, managers and general staff. The Chairman, Group CEO, Group CFO and a number of MTN Group directors have pledged 30% of their board fees and salaries for the next three months. The executive teams of both MTN Group and MTN South Africa have also contributed to the fund. In addition, other staff members can also contribute by making salary sacrifices.

Furthermore, over R150 million will be invested in the Y’ello Hope Package for customers – that includes free SMS services, the waiving of fees for certain mobile money transactions, discounted calling during off-peak periods, zero-rating of certain health, social services and educational sites and payment concessions to our business customers. “Utilising our services and technologies for the greater good is key at the moment.  We can positively impact millions of lives and our main focus is on keeping our network in good working order and enable our customers to connect with their loved ones during this most difficult time for all,” said Rob Shuter, MTN Group President and CEO.

MTN is also mobilising the work of the MTN Foundations across the markets to reach those most vulnerable through contributions towards tackling health emergencies to minimise the spread of COVID-19 (Disease Commodity Packages and ICT services needed for Health Ministries and Health professionals); and enabling students to remain productive by accessing vital school and university content with a total contribution of at least R50 million.

MTN was born at the dawn of South African democracy and owes its heritage to the place of its birth.  MTN Group will also contribute R10 million to the South African Government’s Solidarity Fund. MTN will also leverage its knowledge and infrastructure in the continued participation in the many forums that have been set up to assist those in need.

 

COVID-19: MTN Cameroon

It is with sadness that MTN Cameroon confirms the death of one of its employees, who passed away at the Douala General Hospital on 30th March 2020, following a short illness.

The exact cause of his illness is not yet known. However, given the current extent of the health crisis we are facing, COVID-19 tests were conducted but not concluded at the time of his death. The hospital recommended an immediate burial as a precautionary measure and we can confirm that the deceased was not in contact with colleagues, customers or partners of the company at the time.

The health and wellbeing of our employees, their loved ones, our customers and business partners remains a key priority for MTN. Most of our employees have been working from home over the last few weeks as a precautionary measure to flatten the curve.

MTN would like to express its condolences to the family and loved ones and requests that the privacy of the family be respected at this difficult time.

MTN ramps up efforts to support customers and communities as COVID-19 spreads across markets

As business and society, we are seeing a concerning increase in the transmissions of COVID-19 cases across multiple countries. The virus has had a far-reaching impact on our societies and is testing the resilience and tenacity of businesses and individuals alike. Globally, governments and companies are ramping up efforts to help mitigate the spread of the virus. In MTN’s footprint 17 of our 21 markets have COVID-19 infections.

“MTN’s priority is keeping people connected during this period.  We need to play our part in the alleviation of the economic, social and educational impact through the support of key institutions such as Health and Education.  Driven by our belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life, we have started rolling out a series of mobile connectivity, digital and mobile fintech solutions for communities across MTN’s markets,” said Rob Shuter, President and CEO of MTN Group. The solutions are aimed at achieving the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals and to ensure that the macro impact of COVID-19 does not hinder people’s ability to stay connected.

Social distancing amongst other precautionary interventions undoubtedly increases the importance of communities staying digitally connected, particularly to news about the latest developments of COVID-19.  Now more than ever, MTN will play its part in using its capabilities and technologies for the good of humanity.

We are also ramping up the roll-out of relief products under our Y’ello Hope package including the supporting of governments and other stakeholders to convey vital information via mobile & digital platforms to keep people safe. Offering the zero-rating of school and university sites to enable learners to access core curriculum and facilitate distance learning and zero-rating some transactions on our Mobile Money platforms in a number of our markets.

MTN operations have already implemented measures aimed at curbing the spread of the disease and easing data costs for communities, examples below:

MTN South Africa:

  • Has zero-rated a USSD line for reporting infections and for other critical information.
  • There are also two zero-rated Ayoba COVID-19 channels that are already live and are sharing updated news and information.
  • As part of MTN SA’s response to the Competition Commission’s Data Service Market Inquiry, the company also announced that with immediate effect, concerned family members and friends can stay in touch through a free 20MB Ayoba Data Lifeline that can be accessed via the Ayoba app.
  • The Mobile Money (MoMo) app, will allow for free peer-to-peer cash payments under R200 effective 24 March 2020.

MTN Nigeria:

  • In the coming days, MTN Nigeria will introduce its Y’ello HOPE package – several new measures as part of a concerted effort to support customers. These include further amplifying governments sensitisation efforts – using more channels to deliver health and safety information.
  • Suspending fees for all money transfers using their Momo Agent network.
  • The company also plans to announce the temporary closure of some of its stores.
  • MTN Nigeria continues to engage and is actively pursuing new ways to leverage its core expertise, technology and infrastructure to support the Nigerian Government’s efforts to keep citizens safe.

  MTN Ghana:

  • MTN MoMo customers can now send money transfers values up to GHS100 daily to MoMo wallets and other networks for free.
  • The company has zero-rated a number of education sites to support online learning. It has also zero-rated the Ghana Health Service’s website so that users can access information about the virus free of charge.
  • They also use their digital channels to provide hygiene tips and update customers on the virus and the company’s response to it.
  • MTN Irancell has reduced data costs by 60 % for educational websites, it sends awareness messages via SMS and provides access to value added service content at discounted prices. The company also supports health care workers by providing them with free calls;
  • MTN Sudan, in collaboration with their Ministry of Health, has sent awareness messages to customers via SMS;
  • MTN Uganda has waived fees on its mobile money transfer service for every transaction below UGX30,000 for 30 days;
  • MTN Rwanda has waived fees on mobile money transactions for the next 90 days;
  • MTN Zambia has waived fees on mobile money transfers up to K150, has doubled the mobile money transaction limits and will give an allocation of FREE SMSs to customers;
  • MTN Cameroon has suspended the payment of fees on money transfers between MTN MoMo accounts, for amounts of up to 20, 000 FCFA, for the next 30 days.

These initiatives are ones that have been activated thus far. We expect more momentum over the coming weeks with other affected markets rolling out similar initiatives aimed at addressing their communities’ needs during this period. We will continue to update our stakeholders accordingly as and when additional activities go live.

Access to information is a priority and we remain committed to providing all our 251 million customers and stakeholders with superior products and services in the face of adversity.

COVID-19: Keeping you informed

Regrettably COVID-19 or “Coronavirus” has become a global pandemic.

This is new territory for all of us. We are navigating this together – summoning all the information we have, sharing what’s new in real-time and asking everyone in our global community to recognise that we will get through this together – with resolve, compassion and care. This is an extraordinary time, a time when as MTN we need to stand up and be counted on to do the right thing. COVID-19 is affecting nations and citizens all around the world.

We have taken a series of precautionary measures to ensure the safety of our stakeholders

Unfortunately, all indications are that it is going to continue to spread across the world and in our markets – and we need to be prepared for that. We have taken a series of precautionary measures to ensure the safety of our stakeholders including employees, customers, communities and suppliers from the pandemic. Furthermore, we have and continue to develop communication to keep our various stakeholders informed of how we are responding to the pandemic.

MTN COVID-19 communication

Message from the MTN Group President and CEO
COVID-19: MTN precautionary measures for stakeholders
Frequently asked questions

COVID-19: Frequently asked questions

Below are some frequently asked questions about how MTN is responding to COVID-19.

Workplace

Has MTN Group recorded any employees with COVID-19?
– MTN has 31 reported cases of employees who have been infected with the virus.

If so, which region is the hardest hit in terms of MTN’s operations?
– Iran is the most affected MTN market.

Has MTN closed any of its offices?
– The company has implemented a work from home plan for employees across the footprint.

What measures is your company taking to prepare for a potential coronavirus outbreak within your markets?
– Various preventative measures have been put in place to protect our employees:

  • Work-from-home plans
  • Provision of hand sanitizers
  • Temperature screening at some of our offices
  • Restrictions on international and domestic travel.
  • A mailbox has also been set up for employees to submit queries or concerns they may have.

As the possibility of employees working from home grows, what are MTN’s solutions for customer service call centres?
– MTN will ensure that our customer service call centres remain operational.

How long will travel restrictions be applied?
– The duration will be determined by international health bodies such as the World Health Organisation and the Ministries of Health in all the countries in which we operate.

 


 

MTN operations

What has been the impact on your operations? How have customers been affected?
– MTN’s operations have not been affected to date. It’s important that we ensure the reliability and sustainability of our network during this pandemic.  Furthermore, we have developed robust products and services to assist our customers.

How has your inventory/critical spares stock up progressed given that everyone would be trying to do the same?
– We have also made a concerted effort to ensure business continuity.  Our services over this time will be even more critical, so a priority is ensuring network continuity, availability of spares and equipment and the upgrading of capacity.

Have African mobile operators received any information that there might be a tighter supply of smartphones?
– MTN’s smartphone vendors have indicated that COVID-19 has had an impact on the smartphone supply chain; we are working with them on a risk mitigation plan.

How has corona impacted your business?
– We have robust contingency plans in place to ensure the sustainability of our supply chain and anticipate a negligible impact on our operations.
There has been negligible impact on our operations thus far.

 


 

 MTN Customers and communities  

Will MTN’s network strength be able to support people that will be working from home / quarantine?
– Absolutely, the efficacy and bandwidth of our network is ensured.

Is MTN going to provide more cost-effective data and call rates, especially with more customers logging into their personal hotspots, to accommodate working from home and quarantine?
– We understand that customers will be constrained, therefore we are exploring ways to keep them connected.

Will MTN support schools and universities that have shut down with remote learning via online access?
– We are exploring various ways to support educational and other institutions during this period of uncertainty.

How will MTN support customers, communities and other stakeholders during this period?
MTN’s priority is keeping people connected during this period.  We need to play our part in the alleviation of the economic, social and educational impact through the support of key institutions such as Health and Education.  We have started rolling out a series of mobile connectivity, digital and mobile fintech solutions for communities across MTN’s markets.

We are also ramping up the roll-out of relief products under our Y’ello Hope package including the supporting of governments and other stakeholders to convey vital information via mobile and digital platforms to keep people safe. Offering the zero-rating of school and university sites to enable learners to access core curriculum and facilitate distance learning and zero-rating some transactions on our Mobile Money platforms in a number of our markets.

MTN has announced a R250 million relief package to tackle COVID-19 across its footprint. What will the funds be used for?
-MTN plays a vital role in the mobile and telecommunications industry across Africa and the Middle East and it is vital that we assist our employees, customers and stakeholders during this difficult time. Comprising five key intervention initiatives, the Group has focused on employees, customers, vulnerable groups, contributions to the South African Government’s Solidarity Fund and participating in industry interventions.

– The Group plans to raise R40 million for the MTN Global Staff Emergency Fund for employees in need.

– Over R150 million will be invested in the Y’ello Hope Package for customers – this includes free SMS services, the waiving of fees for certain mobile money transactions, discounted calling during off-peak periods, zero-rating of certain health, social services and educational sites and payment concessions to our business customers

-MTN is also mobilising the work of the MTN Foundations across the markets to reach those most vulnerable through contributions towards tackling health emergencies to minimise the spread of COVID-19 and enabling students to remain productive by accessing vital school and university content with a total contribution of at least R50 million.

-MTN Group will also contribute R10 million to the South African Government’s Solidarity Fund.

Where will the funds come from?
-The funds will be raised by contributions from the Group’s directors, managers and general staff. The Chairman, Group CEO, Group CFO and a number of MTN Group directors have pledged 30% of their board fees and salaries for the next three months. The executive teams of both MTN Group and MTN South Africa have also contributed to the fund. In addition, other staff members can also contribute by making salary sacrifices.

COVID-19: MTN precautionary measures for stakeholders

Following official confirmation of Covid-19 cases in some of our markets, MTN Group has taken a series of precautionary measures to ensure continuity of services and the safety of its stakeholders including employees, customers, communities and suppliers against the potential outbreak.

A key priority for MTN is to ensure business continuity.  Our services over this time will be even more critical, so a priority is ensuring network continuity, availability of spares and equipment and the upgrading of capacity. We wish to assure our stakeholders that the implementation of precautionary measures will have a negligible impact on our operations. We need to “keep the connectivity lights on for our customers at all costs.”

In our own environments we have installed thermal scanners at MTN office facilities, as an early detection method for testing body temperature and enhanced hygiene measures including hand sanitizers in all our offices.  The implementation of a work-from-home plan for employees has also been implemented. In addition, we have placed restrictions on all international travel and also reducing, wherever possible, domestic travel, as we continue to monitor the situation.

We encourage our employees, stakeholders and customers to remain calm and take the necessary precautions as outlined by the medical fraternity to minimise the spread of the virus.

COVID-19 is, unquestionably, testing our society. We continue to monitor the global situation closely and strictly adhere to the recommendations of relevant international authorities such as the World Health Organisation and the local departments of health.

COVID-19: Message from MTN Group President and CEO

Regrettably COVID-19 or “Coronavirus” has become a global pandemic. This is new territory for all of us.

We are navigating this together – summoning all the information we have, sharing what’s new in real-time and asking everyone in our global community to recognise that we will get through this together – with resolve, compassion and care.

This is an extraordinary time, a time when as MTN we need to stand up and be counted on to do the right thing.  COVID-19 is affecting nations and citizens all around the world.  We know it is more contagious and has a higher fatality rate than the flu – and has a greater impact on the elderly and the immuno-compromised.

Unfortunately all indications are that it is going to continue to spread across the world and in our markets – and we need to be prepared for that.  Wisdom around the world is that the most important action at this stage is to slow down the rate of infection – this will save lives, buy time for vaccine development and ensure that healthcare systems are not overloaded. Experts describe this strategy as “flattening” the curve, which measures the rate of infection.

This strategy is why we see measures around the world such as the focus on hygiene, restrictions on travel, the closing of schools and universities, restrictions on gatherings and a focus on working from home. These are also the themes recently announced in South Africa.

As MTN, over this time, our core connectivity services will be even more critical, so the priority for our customers is ensuring network continuity, focusing on the availability of spares and equipment and the upgrading of capacity. We need to “keep the connectivity lights on at all costs”.

Our first priority for our people is the health and well-being of all of you and your families and friends. We are committed to protecting you so you, in turn, can help protect the important people in your lives — beyond the walls of MTN.

Here we need to take our cue from the global strategy to “flatten the curve”. That is why we are implementing the following measures across the group:

  • Continuation of our focus on hygiene and quarantine/containment wherever required;
  • A full restriction on international travel and also efforts to reduce domestic travel wherever possible;
  • Temperature screening at our office locations and support for our people who are ill;
  • All CEOs have been encouraged to urge and arrange “work from home” facilities for their people but bearing in mind local considerations;
  • We have set up an email address which you can reach out to for any concerns and questions you may have (covid19@mtn.com) – please speak to your line manager first.

There is no doubt that COVID-19 is challenging and testing our society.  But at the same time it is showcasing our collective strength and the strength of character of our colleagues on the frontlines.

2020 is the year of bolder, faster, together – although COVID-19 will impact the year enormously these are still good values for the year that lies ahead – so let’s take the decisive steps we need to in our MTN spirit of togetherness.

Please do everything you can to keep yourself, your families and your friends safe and healthy in our MTN spirit of togetherness.

Transcript:

A warm, MTN Y’ello to everybody.

As we navigate our way through the Coronavirus pandemic
I thought I would share with you, a few key themes
of what MTN has been working on.

I think the first is playing our part in reducing 
the transmission of the virus.

So this is all about working from home, self-isolation, hygiene.

I’m working from home this week, as are a number of my executives.
And I think that it’s really important that we lead by example.

The second theme is keeping our people safe.
So not only work-from-home procedures for MTN staff,
but we also have thermal scanners at our office facilities,
we’ve banned international travel, we’ve reduced domestic travel.
And most important that our people are safe over this time.

Third is about keeping the networks up and running.
You know, we have mission critical infrastructure
in the good times becomes even more important in difficult times like this. So it’s about spares, it’s about equipment, it’s about our engineers still going out there keeping the connectivity lights on.

I think the fourth theme is playing our part in tackling the difficulties in the society, so we have a Y’ello Hope Package.

We’ve increased the zero rating of key educational sites, like universities. We’ve reduced fees on a number of our 
Mobile Money transactions, to help people not transact in physical cash. And these are all, I think, very important initiatives.

I also wanted to touch a little bit on resilience…
For MTN, our businesses are in the best shape they’ve been in for a long time. Our balance sheet is strong, our gearing has come down,
we have our asset realisation programme. So, we believe we are well placed.

And yes, our share price has been under pressure, but so too has the share price of other telcos with exposure to oil dependent economies, and even the big European multinationals as well.

Finally, it’s about being Good Together.
So this is MTN’s theme for this year, and it recognises that if we work together…
Telco operators, civil society, governments, officials… 
In a spirit of partnership, that we’ll be able to get through this
as quickly and with as least effect as is possible.

So, I thank you all.

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