Category: Media releases

MTN marks three decades of operations, celebrating a legacy of connecting people, changing lives, and driving economic growth across South Africa and the African continent.

“As we reflect on this significant milestone, we express our sincere gratitude to all our stakeholders, past and present, across multiple jurisdictions, for their support,” said MTN Group President and Chief Executive Officer Ralph Mupita. “We couldn’t have achieved this remarkable success without you.”

Since its inception in 1994, MTN has evolved from a small South African start-up with 20 employees into a global telecommunications leader, employing over 17,500 individuals representing more than 70 nationalities across 18 diverse markets.

In South Africa, MTN’s impact has been profound. The company’s network now reaches 97% of the population, providing a foundation for digital inclusion and economic empowerment. By investing in cutting-edge technologies like 4G and 5G, MTN has ensured that South Africa remains at the forefront of technological advancement. A recent study by KPMG showed that MTN South Africa’s contribution to the country’s GDP is substantial, making it a key player in the national economy.

The evolution of handsets and the proliferation of apps have democratised access to information and essential services, from financial solutions to healthcare, education, and entertainment. This has been a game-changer for individuals and businesses alike.

MTN’s influence extends far beyond South Africa. In 2023, the MTN Group recorded over R220 billion (more than US$11 billion) in revenue, a testament to its market leadership and the growing demand for digital services across Africa. This success has driven the company’s market capitalisation to over R150 billion, solidifying its position as one of the continent’s most valuable companies.

Across Africa, MTN connects millions, empowering them with essential communication tools and access to vital services. More than 149 million people rely on MTN’s network for data access, fuelling a digital transformation that is reshaping industries and societies. Additionally, MTN Mobile Money (MoMo) provides over 65 million individuals with access to financial services, driving financial inclusion and economic empowerment in underserved communities.

MTN’s commitment to socio-economic development is evident everywhere. In 2023, the Group’s total tax contribution to governments across markets was nearly R62 billion (over US$3.3 billion), supporting vital public services and infrastructure development. MTN’s operations also generated some R159 billion in economic value, creating jobs, stimulating economic activity, and fostering digital innovation.

From the outset, the Group has been driven to make a social impact. Launched in 2001, the first MTN Foundation had an annual budget of R22 million. In 2023, MTN spent ten times that – R220 million – in corporate social responsibility across markets, with a special focus on developing digital skills to enable the digital economy.

Furthermore, both MTN Group and MTN South Africa have achieved Level 1 Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment status, underscoring their commitment to diversity, inclusion, and social transformation.

MTN’s dedication to giving back is embodied in the annual “21 Days of Y’ello Care” initiative, which has been extended to 30 days this year to commemorate the 30th anniversary. Kicking off on 01 June 2024 under the theme “Learn Today, Lead Tomorrow: Education for Rural and Remote Communities,” this initiative mobilises MTN employees across the continent to dedicate their time and resources to enhance educational opportunities. This year, the focus is on bridging the educational divide in rural and remote areas, providing digital learning tools, and supporting educational infrastructure to empower the next generation of leaders within these communities.

MTN’s 30-year journey is a testament to the transformative power of technology and the unwavering spirit of innovation. Looking to the future, MTN remains dedicated to bridging the digital divide, empowering individuals and communities, and driving Africa’s sustainable and inclusive progress through cutting-edge digital solutions.

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

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.

MTN Group, in partnership with Huawei, officially inaugurated the Technology Innovation Lab at MTN Group’s headquarters. This milestone marks a significant advancement in their ongoing collaboration across diverse digital fields. Initially announced during MWC 2024, when the parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding, the establishment of the lab aims to further deepen their collaboration, accelerating digital transformation and sustainable development across Africa.

The Technology Innovation Lab is poised to be a catalyst for digital progress in Africa. By fostering cross-regional collaboration, it will stimulate the African digital ecosystem and promote the rapid development, deployment, and adoption of cutting-edge innovative solutions.

This lab plays a crucial role in MTN’s evolution, moving beyond the traditional telecommunications operator role to become a leading provider of comprehensive technology services. Research and development within the lab will concentrate on vital areas including 5G and 5G-A technologies, artificial intelligence, big data analytics, cloud computing, FTTH, automation and digital financial services – all catalysts for Africa’s digital future.

During a tour of the facilities at the launch event, visitors were treated to several world-class technology use cases across Network, Fintech, Information Technology (IT) and Security (IS).

Ralph Mupita, President and Chief Executive Officer of MTN Group, stated: “This lab further demonstrates our commitment to developing relevant, sustainable, and transformative solutions designed specifically for the African context and signifies a strategic investment in Africa’s future – It’s about solutions born in Africa, for Africa. It will catalyse the growth of the digital economy, fostering innovation and generating long-lasting opportunities to empower communities and advance the continent’s development.”

Mazen Mroué, Chief Technology and Information Officer at MTN Group emphasised during the ceremony: “The Technology Innovation Lab is more than just a hub for tech; it’s a platform for collaboration, demonstrating our technology capabilities resulting from the continuous investment made by MTN during the last 30 years. It is a space where the best minds can come together, share ideas, and push the boundaries of what’s possible. By working closely, we can leverage each other’s strengths and the collective brilliance of Africa’s innovators to create solutions that will transform lives. This collaborative spirit is what will unlock the true potential of this lab.”

Cao Ming, President of Huawei’s Wireless Solutions, stated: “We will collaborate with MTN to create leading products and solutions for the African market, and together explore new business models to lead the industry forward. We believe that the establishment of the innovation lab will accelerate the development of Africa’s digital economy and build a more prosperous and sustainable African continent.”

The Technology Innovation Lab will serve as a hub for experimentation, demonstration, and skill-building. It is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and resources designed to support cutting-edge research and development initiatives. The Lab is open to MTNers, partners and other stakeholders based on prior reservation to access the facility. This stands as a testament to MTN and Huawei’s dedication to the future of Africa. It will pave the way for unparalleled innovation, digital inclusion, and economic progress across the continent.

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