Archives: Case Studies

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) form the backbone of economies worldwide, particularly in developing and emerging markets. These enterprises contribute significantly to employment, income generation, and economic growth. In Africa, SMEs employ an estimated 80% of the continent’s workforce, both in formal and informal sectors, making them pivotal to economic prosperity and societal well-being.

However, small businesses and startups encounter various challenges that impede their growth and sustainability. These challenges include limited access to finance, markets, skills, technology, and infrastructure. Moreover, traditional banking services often fail to provide SMEs with the tailored solutions they need, leading to inefficiencies and frustrations.

Recognising the vital role SMEs play in Africa’s economic landscape, MTN is committed to empowering these enterprises through innovative financial solutions. At the forefront of this endeavor is MTN’s MoMo platform, a mobile financial service that caters to people across Africa and businesses of all sizes.

Since its inception, MoMo has evolved into a comprehensive ecosystem offering a myriad of services, including payments, e-commerce, personal insurance, lending, and more. One of the groundbreaking developments within this ecosystem is the MoMo Business Wallet, designed to streamline operations and optimise efficiency for businesses. The platform enables businesses to accept payments directly from customers for various transactions, from prepaid services to shopping vouchers, without incurring transaction fees. This not only enhances profitability but also grants businesses access to a vast customer base that has embraced MoMo wallets.

Moreover, MTN has democratised access to its mobile money platform through open application programming interface (API) solutions. Our open API software platform allows developers and programmers to integrate MoMo into their applications seamlessly, unlocking new possibilities for SMEs. MoMo APIs are available to facilitate all key use cases, including consumer to business payments (C2B), business to business payments (B2B), collections, and disbursements, cash in, cash out, refunds, notifications, and more. SMEs can even easily integrate a collection widget on their websites using the MoMo API, enabling customers to make payments by scanning a QR code.

MTN’s MoMo APIs represent a game-changer for SMEs seeking secure payment solutions and efficient transactions. Through these APIs, businesses can leverage innovative solutions for a range of financial and operational needs, propelling them towards growth and success.

Medhi Matovu, an entrepreneur from Uganda, has used MoMo APIs to boost his business, Lusuku, to new heights. Medhi explained that “Before integrating the MoMo API, we encountered challenges with cash transactions, including cases where drivers disappeared with funds. The API transformed our payment process, making it seamless and secure. Now, our drivers only focus on delivering products, while the API takes care of the monetary transactions.”

“The transition was remarkably smooth, thanks to the comprehensive documentation available on the MoMo website and an active developer community. With the API, we’ve experienced improved accuracy and speed in processing payments. The MoMo API not only boosted conversion rates but also increased customer confidence. The ease of making payments without extensive verifications has positively impacted user behavior. The return rate has surged compared to cash transactions, as customers have a clear record of their interactions.”

Moreover, Medhi emphasises the scalability and flexibility of the MoMo API, noting its ability to handle any volume of orders and adapt to dynamic user requirements. He credits MoMo APIs with increasing revenue and minimising losses, heralding it as a game-changer for developers seeking reliable and scalable solutions in the e-commerce landscape.

Success stories, such as those of Medhi Matovu, inspire MTN to amplify our efforts to empower SMEs by providing them with the necessary tools, resources and support to thrive in a competitive business landscape. As MTN continues to expand its partner ecosystem and fintech capabilities, we remain committed to supporting SMEs on their journey towards growth and success. Through MoMo and our comprehensive range of SME services and solutions, we aim to be the go-to brand for African entrepreneurs seeking success in today’s digital economy.

MTN’s commitment to supporting SMEs through MoMo APIs has garnered global recognition, winning prestigious awards such as the Global Telecom Award (Glotel) and the MEA Finance Banking Technology Award. These accolades underscore MTN’s leadership in fostering digital innovation and financial inclusion across Africa.

In today’s digital era, the tech industry stands as a cornerstone of economic development and innovation. Yet, it grapples with a significant challenge—the underrepresentation of women in digital and IT sectors. Despite comprising 13% of STEM graduates in South Africa, women face post-graduation hurdles in accessing digital exposure and career guidance, leading to a stark gender gap in technology-related fields. Only 23% of tech jobs in South Africa are held by women out of 236 000 available ICT & Tech roles, highlighting the urgent need for industry intervention to bridge this representation gap.

Angie Maloka, Senior Manager of Youth & Women Programmes at the MTN SA Foundation, highlights the importance of addressing this disparity, stating, “Removing barriers hindering women from entering STEM fields is crucial to closing South Africa’s ICT skills gap and reducing high unemployment rates.”

In response, the MTN South Africa Foundation launched the MTN Women in Digital Business Challenge, committing R1 million to enable innovation, entrepreneurship, and job creation for women in the digital economy. This initiative, now in its second year, is an extension of MTN’s SME accelerator programs, specifically focusing on fostering an entrepreneurial mindset among women.

The Challenge provides successful candidates with R100 000 each to support their working capital needs, business development, tangible assets, mentorship and access to business-advancing technology and software.

The Women in Digital Business Challenge goes beyond financial support; it creates a supportive ecosystem that nurtures talent, fosters innovation, and cultivates leadership among women in the digital space. A mentorship component pairs participants with seasoned professionals, offering personalised guidance to overcome challenges and seize opportunities. Moreover, comprehensive training equips participants with essential technical and business management skills, essential for navigating the digital landscape successfully.

Networking opportunities provided by the challenge facilitate meaningful connections with peers, industry experts, and potential collaborators, offering invaluable support and access to resources.

The impact of the MTN Women in Digital Business Challenge is evident in the success stories of participants like Mamello Mofokeng, Khathu Maphari, Aasiyah Adams, and Elizabeth Booi.

Following her four-month mentorship journey, Mamello expanded her team and reengineered her sales strategy, resulting in new market opportunities for her business. She also gained exposure and recognition when her success story was featured on Business Day TV to showcase the impact of the Women in Digital Business Challenge.

Khathu used her prize money to rebrand her business and address office aesthetics, compliance, and debt settlement. She has subsequently proposed a teacher training program, demonstrating a strategic expansion of her business’s offerings.

Aasiyah’s company has also grown significantly, with plans to expand into new markets. She is gearing up to teach 4 000 students in various courses, demonstrating substantial scalability and impact following the challenge’s financial and strategic support.

After being selected as a top 10 finalist in the 2023 MTN Women in Digital Business Challenge, Elizabeth’s business has expanded its impact to over 1 000 individuals. She is developing a learning management system and accreditation processes, focusing on empowering women and youth in IT and Data Analytics.

As the MTN Women in Digital Business Challenge continues to grow and evolve, its impact will only continue to expand. By providing women entrepreneurs with the resources, support, and opportunities they need to succeed, MTN is not only empowering individual women but also driving broader social and economic transformation. The challenge serves as a catalyst for change, underscoring our commitment to empowering women, fostering diversity, and building an inclusive digital economy for all.

MTN’s dedication to empowering women extends beyond empowering women in tech to succeed. We are committed to advancing women’s equality and diversity across our operations, promoting an inclusive environment free from gender bias.

Imagine a world where the digital divide no longer separates communities, where every individual has the power of connectivity at their fingertips, regardless of their location. This is the vision that propels MTN’s tireless efforts to extend mobile network coverage deep into rural Africa. 

Sub-Saharan Africa is not only the fastest growing region in the world, but also has the world’s largest population percentage that does not have mobile coverage. Many rural areas in sub-Saharan Africa have no telecom infrastructure or power grid, leaving an estimated 210 million people with no usable mobile network service. 

At MTN, we believe everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life. Connectivity more than just a network; it is a lifeline that can change lives. For entrepreneurs, it means reaching online buyers; for farmers, it’s accessing market information; for healthcare workers, it’s calling for urgent help. The potential is immense, but the challenge of reaching all communities is daunting due to the significant costs of erecting mobile towers in an isolated rural context.

That is why MTN Zambia has teamed up with Africa Mobile Network (AMN) to extend mobile network coverage to rural communities across Zambia. AMN’s innovative approach optimises sites for rural environments and harnesses solar power to create self-sustaining stations that bring 2G, 3G, and 4G connectivity to rural villages.  Leveraging the AMN Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) model, MTN is able to reach more remote areas without the need for upfront investment or operational risks. 

In partnership with AMN, we not only establish network infrastructure but also offer heavily subsidised mobile phones to the people living in newly connected villages, ensuring accessibility for all. Additionally, we support the establishment of airtime dealers and mobile money agents, enabling villagers to easily access mobile money services for deposits and withdrawals. 

The impact is palpable. Gertrude Banda from Mawanda Village in Zambia reflects, “A long time ago we used to write letters to Lusaka. Now MTN thought of us and gave us phones so that we can communicate with people in Lusaka. When money comes, we are able to collect from MTN Mobile Money. Things are much easier because of the phones MTN has provided. So we are very grateful to MTN for bringing us phones here in our village.”

Stanley Kaluba, a Clinical Officer in Mawanda, echoes Gertrude’s sentiments: “We use the MTN network to make referrals for patients that need to go to the hospital and to call an ambulance in emergencies. MTN is a very good network, and since the time they installed this tower, it has really helped us.”

But connectivity isn’t just about enabling access to networks and affordable phones; it’s about economic empowerment. David Phiri, a mobile money agent, shares, “People come to my shop to withdraw money or open mobile money accounts. They can buy airtime through MTN MoMo or receive money from Lusaka. There are so many things I am able to do for a living now. I am very thankful.” The benefits of digital transformation extend beyond individuals to entire communities, where daily activities such as transferring money, taking and repaying credit loans, subscribing to an insurance policy, or paying school fees for their children can now be conducted via mobile phones. 

MTN remains deeply committed to playing a transformative role in Africa’s mobile internet revolution.  While the road ahead is filled with challenges, our resolve remains unshaken and we are working hard to close the coverage gap in rural and remote areas. With each village brought online, lives are transformed, communities thrive, and the promise of a more connected Africa becomes a reality.

We know that achieving this, and doing so quickly, would not be possible without the active collaboration of our partners. Each partnership we form, whether with a government, industry peer, innovator, community member, or employee, contributes a unique piece to a tapestry of positive change that transcends individual efforts.  We look forward to continuing to work with all these key role players as we go forward together into the future.

Nkululeko Nkosi, co-founder of Saturated, envisions a world where businesses seamlessly embrace innovation and transformation. Launched in January 2020, Saturated specialises in web and app development, software solutions and digital consultancy for cloud computing. The onset of COVID-19 highlighted the imperative for small businesses to pivot online, motivating Nkululeko to enter Saturated into

MTN’s Xlerator programme, a year-long initiative supporting business growth and development. Through Xlerator, Nkululeko developed a holistic approach to business enhancement and gained the resources needed to flourish. “The programme assisted us in improving the business elements that we were not aware and offered us insight into running a successful digital business. MTN provided resources to support us in every facet of our business, from legal, HR and accounting skills.”

In South Africa, as in many developing nations, access to digital technology remains a hurdle for a large segment of the population, with only 44% owning smartphones in 2023. This stark statistic widens the digital divide, particularly as a result of device affordability issues, limiting South Africa’s full participation in the modern economy. 

The country’s ongoing migration to 4G networks aims to impend 3G and 2G networks by December 2027. Consumers are therefore required to upgrade their devices to those compatible with 4G networks, which can be prohibitively expensive for many individuals and households, particularly those already facing financial constraint. This requires targeted initiatives like device financing to address smartphone access and affordability. “South Africans are leveraging financial inclusion education to embrace improved consumer lending practices, effectively navigating economic challenges by positively utilising credit products and prudently managing debt, leading to recorded improvements in credit scores,” as stated in the TransUnion Credit Landscape report of 2023,which creates an opportunity for successfully rolling out device financing initiatives and addressing the smartphone access gap.

MTN South Africa partnered with the FoneYam device financing programme in 2023, with MTN capturing 37% of device sales through the FoneYam initiative at Pep (a South African low-cost retailer). FoneYam introduces flexible financing options tailored to the needs of low-income consumers ranging from instalment payments spread over flexible periods, with minimal or no interest, making devices more accessible without imposing a significant financial burden on consumers. MTN South Africa plans to partner with co-financing partners to add value to the consumer to increase uptake and promote our customer relationship.

Device financing solutions play a crucial role in narrowing South Africa’s digital divide by addressing affordability issues. These initiatives empower individuals to fully participate in the modern economy, leading to improved connectivity, expanded educational and job opportunities, and enhanced social inclusion. Continued investment in sustainable device financing programmes is key to driving economic growth and societal advancement in South Africa’s digital transformation journey. “Before I got help to buy a phone, I felt a bit left out because I couldn’t afford one. But now, I have the internet all the time, which has changed everything. I can talk to my family whenever I want, look for jobs online and even learn new things. It feels like a whole new world has opened up for me, and I’m really thankful for that.”

MTN Nigeria’s Foundation is delivering essential healthcare through the Y’ello Doctor Medical Intervention Scheme across six states. The Y’ello Doctor initiative provides free primary healthcare services to individuals in underserved communities in Lagos, Kano, Kwara, Gombe, Anambra, and Rivers State, through a mobile medical clinic platform. The initiative focuses on information dissemination through health talks, diagnosis and treatment of common communicable and non-communicable diseases such as malaria, pneumonia and sexually transmitted infections, screening for tuberculosis, blood pressure, diabetes and referral of patients to secondary healthcare facilities. This initiative was carried out in collaboration with participating States Ministry of Health and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency with emphasis on women and children.

Dr David Edwin, leading the Gombe team, expresses gratitude for the opportunity and highlights the project’s profound impact. “The Y’ello Doctor project left an indelible mark on the people of Gombe. It brought medical care to remote areas where doctors were scarce; a cause close to my heart having grown up in a village without medical services. This initiative delved deep into the lives of beneficiaries, offering services ranging from wellness checks to maternal kits and screenings. Through Y’ello Doctor, I honed my skills in community entry, team and stakeholder management, areas I hadn’t explored before. It was a departure from my work in government hospitals, yet immensely fulfilling, given the vast number of people we reached. Particularly gratifying was witnessing people receive medical care for the first time.”

Transforming challenges into environmental Opportunities

Uganda’s economic growth over the last two decades has led to increased population growth, stressing the existing water and sanitation services. Over 80% of the Ugandan population lacks access to clean, drinkable, or usable water.

In a country where water services and sanitation are stressed, the MTN Uganda team recognised the significance of tapping into a natural water resource at its disposal. The expansion of the MTN Uganda facilities, during COVID-19, resulted in a water management issue with an existing spring in the path of the building plan. MTN Uganda reframed this challenge. They redirected the excess spring water to the reserve water tank, utilised the resource for onsite irrigation of the property, and increased their ablution facilities, which were then supplied with water from the spring. This initiative saves approximately 20% of
water costs.

MTN Uganda also participated in the MTN water baseline assessment and, in line with recommendations, has commenced with water consumption monitoring across our buildings, data centres, and stores. Monitoring our water consumption is the foundation for responsible and sustainable water management. It will empower informed decision-making and promote our conservation efforts, benefiting the environment and cost containment. Water conservation is vital for ensuring a sustainable future.

Africa’s rising temperatures and resource scarcity pose a significant challenge but also an under-explored strategic opportunity. Young Africans, particularly vulnerable and innovative, are key to a ‘just transition’ – one that tackles climate change while fostering socioeconomic development. By supporting youth-led climate ventures, we can secure a resilient future for Africa, establish ourselves as a sustainability leader, and unlock new markets driven by innovative solutions.

MTN is supporting and encouraging young climate entrepreneurs through our Africa PachiPanda Challenge. This initiative encourages SMEs and youth to create new ideas that tackle current environmental challenges and promote sustainability using digital innovations. We are replicating and scaling the PachiPanda Challenge in 2022 held by MTN Zambia which was delivered through a partnership between MTN Zambia and the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF). The Group is scaling a similar programme across the continent for MTN markets to engage, as part of our climate entrepreneurship mandate and in line with the Group-wide sustainability strategy. The first round will include South Africa, Nigeria, Cameroon, Uganda and Zambia, followed by an African final.

Africa’s climate entrepreneurship scene presents a compelling strategic opportunity. These innovative ventures are at the forefront of tackling the continent’s environmental challenges, developing cutting‑edge solutions with the potential to transform Africa’s sustainability landscape. Through strategic partnerships or investments in these ventures, we can support emerging technologies specific to local market needs and contribute to a more resilient and sustainable Africa that reinforces our commitment to responsible business practices.

Top honours in the PachiPanda Challenge 2023 went to Isaac Mwanza, a visionary student at Mulungushi University and founder of EcoBuild. His initiative converts copper slag to stronger and cheaper cement. The second prize was awarded to New Tech, a venture promoting community recyclable material collection, while the third prize recognised generating renewable electricity and byproducts from waste.

Ultimately, by supporting African climate entrepreneurs, we not only contribute to a better future for the continent, but also solidify our market position as a leader in sustainable solutions.

With a commitment to achieve Net Zero GHG emissions within the value chain by 2040, and halve them by 2030, Ericsson is pioneering a sustainable future and leads the industry by example through its solutions. These targets are 1.5C aligned and validated by the Science-based Target initiative (SBTi). Signing the pledge supports MTN and Ericsson’s aims to achieve ambitious Net Zero goals and prioritises climate action for Africa’s socioeconomic future.

This collaboration can potentially address Scope 3 emissions, which are indirect emissions that occur in a company’s value chain outside their direct operations. Scope 3 emissions often comprise a substantial part of organisations’ footprints and are difficult to calculate and control as a result of limited operational influence and intricate supply chain involvement. Collaborations like Ericsson and MTN’s, where we potentially share upstream and downstream value chain suppliers, can improve opportunities to communicate with, engage and support supply chain partners, ultimately contributing to the goal of reducing emissions.

By leveraging Ericsson’s latest and most advanced sustainable technologies, MTN will be in a better position to realise its energy use and carbon management efforts in line with its commitment to reach Net Zero emissions by 2040. Implementing energy efficiency, network optimisation and sustainable practices throughout the value chain can help both companies contribute to a lower carbon footprint for the ICT sector.

Ericsson’s science-based approach to climate action will benefit the company, its stakeholders, and society. MTN is committed to protecting the planet and achieving Net Zero emissions by 2040. Our Net Zero goals are aligned, and together, we are working to contribute towards the sustainable development of society. To strengthen the collaboration, recently, Ericsson and MTN Group announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at advancing sustainability across Africa. Under the MoU, the companies will explore, among others, opportunities to develop and promote innovative ICT solutions for the decarbonisation of their value chain ecosystem, enabling sustainable practices and contributing towards achieving their Net Zero commitments.

Africa Fights Back: Early Warnings for 300 Million People

Millions in Africa face the brunt of extreme weather. But a powerful new alliance is changing the game. MTN Group, Tomorrow.io, and Microsoft are joining forces to deliver life-saving early warnings directly to mobile phones across the continent. This means over 300 million people will get critical weather information using cutting-edge technology like satellite monitoring and artificial intelligence.

Africa: Rising Climate Threat & Extreme Weather

Africa is bearing the brunt of climate change, experiencing a surge of extreme weather events. Since 2022, devastating floods and droughts have caused immense hardship. In Nigeria, the worst floods in a decade claimed over 600 lives, while Uganda grappled with drought and famine, leading to over 2,500 deaths.

The stark difference in disaster preparedness saves lives. According to the UN, countries lacking early warning systems experience an 85% higher death rate from disasters compared to those with robust systems. Alarmingly, 60% of Africa lacks such systems. The recent Kwa-Zulu Natal floods in South Africa illustrate the dangers.

Torrential rains caused casualties, destroyed homes, and crippled infrastructure, leading to severe economic losses. MTN South Africa’s network was heavily impacted by the floods, compounded by damaged roads and power outages. Despite limited access, their tireless efforts restored connectivity.

Early warning systems are crucial for saving lives, protecting infrastructure, and promoting long-term sustainability in the face of climate change and extreme weather events like the KZN floods.

Tech Alliance Aims to Save Lives in Africa with Hyperlocal Weather Alerts This partnership focuses on creating a system that delivers critical weather information directly to vulnerable communities across Africa. By combining cutting-edge technology, the initiative aims to:

The goal is to provide clear and timely notifications about severe weather events, allowing communities to take preventative measures like evacuation or preparation. This collaborative effort has the potential to significantly reduce the impact of disasters and save lives across Africa.

Beyond Early Warnings: Building Resilience in Africa

This collaboration between Tomorrow.io, MTN Group, and Microsoft goes beyond simply delivering early warnings. It aims to transform how African communities prepare for and adapt to a changing climate.

Empowering Communities:

Scaling the Impact:

A Leap Forward:

This partnership represents a significant advancement. By harnessing cutting-edge
technologies (satellite monitoring, AI, mobile networks, and cloud computing), it empowers
vulnerable populations and contributes to a more resilient Africa in the face of climate change