Category: Spotlight stories

MTN and Ericsson today announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at advancing sustainability, digital skills, and education across Africa. The announcement was made at the Mobile World Congress Barcelona 2024, Spain.

This partnership underscores both companies’ dedication to driving positive change across the continent. Under the MoU, Ericsson and MTN Group will collaborate on sustainability initiatives in line with principles of United Nation’s (UN) Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 17. This partnership builds on Ericsson’s and MTN’s unique experience and resources within the telecoms sector in leading digital solutions for Africa’s progress.

Aligned with Ericsson’s Net Zero ambitions and MTN’s Road to Zero pledge under its Ambition 2025 strategy. The companies will explore opportunities to develop and promote innovative Information and Communications Technology (ICT) solutions for the decarbonization of their value chain ecosystem, enabling sustainable practices and contributing towards achieving their Net Zero commitments. This supports the UN SDG 17 target “promote sustainable technologies to developing countries” which encourages the development, transfer, dissemination and diffusion of environmentally sound technologies to developing countries on favourable terms.

Ericsson will provide its industry-leading and sustainable products and solutions that optimise network efficiency, reduce energy consumption and minimising network waste. Additionally, Ericsson and MTN Group will leverage their expertise in skills development through Ericsson’s Connect to Learn program and the MTN Skills Academy, respectively to boost digital and ICT skills development, enhancing competitiveness and employability. 

Sustainability is at the core of the MTN’s Ambition 2025 strategy,” says Nompilo Morafo, Group Chief Sustainability and Corporate Affairs Officer, MTN. “This partnership with Ericsson reiterates our commitment to driving meaningful change. By adopting a cooperative approach working together, we will create a positive impact on the environment, empower communities through digital skills development, and contribute to a more sustainable Africa.

Fida Kibbi, Vice President and Head of Marketing, Communications and Sustainability & Corporate Responsibility at Ericsson Middle East and Africa, says: “Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility underpins everything we do. We are thrilled to partner with MTN Group on their ambitious journey towards Net Zero and digital inclusion. The Memorandum of Understanding underscores our long-standing partnership and builds upon our shared commitment to creating a more sustainable future. Together, we are empowering a sustainable and connected Africa aligning with Ericsson’s #AfricaInMotion vision.”


MTN Group is pleased to welcome 25 bright young minds to develop software solutions for our operations and contribute to delivering on our strategy of ‘leading digital solutions for Africa’s progress’. 

15 enthusiastic young people in Johannesburg and 10 in Cape Town have joined MTN Software Solutions, an entity established to bring software delivery inside the MTN organisation in a centralised way.

The interns join MTN from the not-for-profit organisation, WeThinkCode_(WTC), where they were trained extensively as software developers. WTC was founded in 2016 as both a social impact venture – recruiting previously disadvantaged youth, and a solution to a pressing business problem – a shortage of tech talent.

Their energy, talent and diversity are not just an addition to our team, but an important step in our commitment to innovation, inclusivity and leading digital solutions for Africa’s progress,” said Marcin Waligora, MTN Group Executive: Software Engineering.

Marcin Waligora, a seasoned information technology executive with more than 20 years’ experience, joined MTN in March 2023 to lead MTN Software Solutions. Under his guidance, the interns will help MTN accelerate the time to market of software projects, and to improve the customer experience and productivity at the Group.

Among the interns is 27-year-old Venus Chappie. “I’m delighted to share that I’m starting a new position as a software engineering intern at MTN! As part of the company’s COE (Centre of Excellence), I plan to hold my head up high and stand as living proof that you can do ANYTHING you put your mind to,” she posted on LinkedIn of her expectations of being part of the programme, which is aligned to MTN’s efforts to promote more women in technology roles. Of the 25 interns, three-quarters are women.

MTN Group is pleased to announce its partnership with Legs4Africa, an organisation dedicated to providing prosthetic limbs and comprehensive support to amputees across Sub-Saharan Africa. Announced during the “Doing Good for Africa’s Progress” segment at MTN’s Global Group Leadership Gathering.

This collaboration underscores the company’s enduring commitment to leveraging its vast resources for meaningful societal impact, bridging the digital divide, and fostering a more inclusive, empowered, and connected society. Legs4Africa has made significant strides in addressing the critical shortage of prosthetic care and rehabilitation services in Sub-Saharan Africa, a region home to over 1.7 million amputees in need of artificial limbs to regain their independence.

Speaking at the event, Tom Williams OBE, Technical Director: Legs4Africa said:“Our work is not possible without the support of generous organizations like MTN. To be your chosen sponsor for this year’s GLG ensures that those with limb differences are afforded the opportunity to thrive in their community, – and that is incredible. Your donation has also gone towards ensuring that individuals get access to holistic rehabilitation, and a second chance at life.”

Nompilo Morafo, MTN Group’s Chief Sustainability and Corporate Affairs Officer, expressed her enthusiasm for the initiative, stating, “Our partnership with Legs4Africa is a testament to our unwavering commitment to making a real difference. It showcases our focus on utilizing our technology and resources to create a more inclusive society where every individual has the opportunity to thrive.”

In a concrete manifestation of its commitment, MTN Group has pledged £15,000 to support the distribution of prosthetic limbs across several African countries. This contribution will directly support amputees in six countries in which MTN and Legs4Africa operate – Ghana, Uganda, Rwanda, Liberia, Benin, and Zambia providing them with the prosthetics needed to regain mobility and access to comprehensive rehabilitation services to support their emotional and physical recovery in aftercare.

Furthermore, the partnership enables opportunities for integrating beneficiaries into digital platforms and leverages accessibility technologies to allow for access to all. Through initiatives like the MTN Skills Academy, the collaboration further aims to offer digital and financial skills training opportunities, preparing beneficiaries for their future economic participation.

This collaboration emphasises the importance of partnerships in achieving lasting social and economic impact. By uniting with Legs4Africa, MTN amplifies its capacity to tackle complex social challenges, fostering inclusive and sustainable change in the lives of individuals and communities throughout Africa.

MTN Group has announced the winners of the 2023 Y’ello Care Awards, recognising the work done by more than 5 000 MTN volunteers across our operations to nurture grassroot entrepreneurs during the annual ‘21 Days of Y’ello Care’ campaign.

Y’ello Care is an opportunity for MTN employees to volunteer their time and resources to support their communities. The Y’ello Care Awards showcase the power of collective effort and affirm MTN’s role as a catalyst for positive change and inclusive growth in Africa.

MTN Uganda was named the overall winner of the 2023 campaign, themed “Empowering entrepreneurs to unlock growth and job creation for communities”. This theme was chosen because of the role that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) play in driving economic development, particularly in Africa, where they contribute up to 45% of employment and 33% of GDP[1].

At MTN, we know that real progress is made through collaboration, innovation and a shared commitment to empowering others,” MTN Group Chief Sustainability & Corporate Affairs Officer Nompilo Morafo said.“The Y’ello Care Awards are a celebration of this and a tribute to the dedication of our employees who volunteer their time and expertise to make a positive difference.”

In line with MTN’s strategic intent of ‘leading digital solutions for Africa’s progress’, MTN Uganda provided tech infrastructure, connectivity, and training to SMEs to enhance digital and financial literacy and equip entrepreneurs with the skills they need to navigate the digital marketplace.

MTN Cameroon won the West and Central Africa (WECA) region award for its work to empower female entrepreneurs and people with disabilities. Key initiatives included workshops, the provision of adapted co-working spaces, and assistive technologies. These efforts were aimed at creating an inclusive environment conducive to business growth.

MTN Eswatini received the Southern and East Africa (SEA) region award for a five-project campaign, including the ‘Trash to Treasure’ initiative focusing on waste management and entrepreneurship training for disadvantaged youth, and a greenhouse project supporting women farmers.

MTN Sudan scooped the special recognition award for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, acknowledging the operation’s commitment to maintaining connectivity for communities even under challenging circumstances. Sudan remains home to the largest child displacement crisis in the world, with over three million children fleeing the war. MTN Sudan’s connectivity centres are playing an instrumental role in supporting child-friendly safe learning spaces.

MTN’s commitment to supporting SMEs extends beyond our dedicated 21 days of Y’ello Care initiative to a broader strategy to empower businesses through technology and connectivity solutions. Recognising the critical role we play in an increasingly hyper-connected world, MTN leverages our Enterprise Business to cater to the evolving communication and ICT needs of SMEs.

Whether its equipping entrepreneurs with the latest technologies, supporting women-led businesses, or fostering sustainable agriculture practices, MTN’s support goes beyond connectivity. It’s about building relationships, understanding needs and offering tailored solutions that empower businesses to chart their own course.

Looking ahead, we remain steadfast in our commitment to social responsibility, hand-in-hand with communities, as we build a more prosperous and equitable future for Africa.

[1] World Bank, 2020

Basic internet access is the gateway to the digital world, creating opportunities to transform individuals’ lives, companies’ prospects and society’s sustainability.

In the telco industry, the major obstacles to ubiquitous broadband access are well understood: they range from gaps in coverage, to expensive handsets, to data unaffordability, to low levels of digital literacy.

In the past few years there has been notable progress to address these barriers to internet access for all. For example, the GSMA says the coverage gap in sub-Saharan Africa narrowed to 17% in 2022 from 50% in 2014.

This is no doubt encouraging, except if you are one of the 17% of people still without access. These people – mostly living in remote areas far from cities – must despair and feel that they really are being left behind. We owe it to them to do better. It is incumbent on us all to come up with a solution, and to do so quickly.

No time to lose

At MTN, we are inspired by our belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life. We are driven to deliver on our Ambition 2025 strategic intent of ‘Leading digital solutions for Africa’s progress’.

Time is of the essence, so we recognise that we cannot do it alone. Partnerships are essential. In recent years we have helped narrow coverage gaps in rural areas by collaborating with several rollout partners and by deploying new technology using OpenRAN.

To complement our terrestrial network – where the terrain can be difficult for radio sites and backhaul transport and sparse population distribution often makes regular cellular rollout uneconomical – we are now exploring the skies. Specifically, we are partnering for low earth orbit (LEO) satellite connectivity to connect the unconnected, extend mobile connectivity to more rural and remote areas and improve resilience.

In this way, we are working to achieve our goal of 95% broadband population coverage across our footprint by 2025, from 88% in 2022. And in the longer term, we are determined to achieve universal access.

LEO satellites typically orbit the Earth at altitudes of between 160 and 2 000 km, making for shorter orbital periods (of between 90 minutes and a few hours) which is good for applications that need rapid data communication or frequent re-visits of specific areas.

The lower altitude contributes to lower signal travel times, resulting in lower latency. This is crucial for real-time communication, video conferencing and online gaming. And the sharp fall in the cost of launching 1kg of payload into space (from US$85 000 in the 1980s to around US$1 000 now) has added to the attractiveness of using LEO satellites.

Distinct yet complementary solutions

Central to our approach are two distinct yet complementary LEO-based solutions. The first employs direct-to-cellular technology to augment network access in traditionally under-served regions. Importantly, this technology is device-agnostic, ensuring compatibility with existing mobile units and requiring no special modifications.

The second solution uses LEO satellites to provide critical fixed connectivity for enterprise customers and efficient backhaul connectivity for MTN cellular sites. This is particularly relevant in remote and rural locations, where it offers a more affordable and efficient alternative.

In advancing this work, multiple initiatives are underway, including upcoming direct-to-cell trials with Lynk Global in South Africa and Ghana. Discussions are also taking place with providers like AST SpaceMobile for trials in Nigeria and South Sudan. Concurrently, there are ongoing engagements with SpaceX’s Starlink, with enterprise-grade trials underway in Rwanda and Nigeria. In parallel, we are advancing discussions with Eutelsat OneWeb for a planned pilot in South Africa.

While the typical financing model would be a revenue-sharing one (where the customer is MTN’s and the satellite infrastructure belongs to the LEO satellite vendor), our agreements with various vendors are negotiated on a case-by-case basis.

We have also approached each partnership with a profound sense of purpose. Each collaboration, each pilot, and each successful trial and commercial deployment represents a deliberate step toward narrowing the digital divide, enriching lives, and empowering the communities we serve.

Tapping into the transformative power of satellites

The transformative potential of this satellite approach has been demonstrated in MTN’s recent ‘proof of concept’ trial with Lynk Global in the remote village of Gowehn, Liberia. During the demonstration, about 25km from the nearest mobile coverage, a standard mobile phone was able to connect directly to Lynk Global’s satellite mobile base station in orbit.

Using MTN’s spectrum and Lynk’s network, the device successfully received a cell broadcast message and illustrated the capacity to send and receive text messages. The text was an initial use case; we have plans to carry out proof-of-concept trials for voice and data in some key markets.

We are also collaborating with Omnispace to explore the use of S-band for satellite services to expand MTN’s portfolio of wireless service in both MTN and Omnispace’s markets. This initiative underscores both companies’ commitment to develop cost-effective global connectivity solutions beyond existing cellular land-based networks.

The companies will explore combining MTN’s terrestrial mobile networks with Omnispace’s non-terrestrial network, leveraging 3GPP standards to service consumer mobile and enterprise IoT services. We will also consider opportunities to work together in developing and growing an ecosystem of devices and software.

As excited as we are by the LEO opportunity, it is important to note that most LEO satellite providers will be offering 4G as the mainstream technology, which means that we need to continue our work to get affordable 4G devices to customers.

By exploring new ways to connect the unconnected using innovative yet accessible technology, we are paving the way for an ‘always-on’ future where a modern connected life is accessible to everyone.

By Mazen Mroué, MTN Group Chief Technology and Information Officer

In the ever-evolving landscape of technology, MTN is committed to ensuring that women and girls have equal opportunities to participate in the digital economy. We understand that in this era, providing girls with equal access to digital training and education through our CSI initiatives is pivotal in shaping a digital future.

As a company, we are steadfast in our dedication to connectivity, inclusion, and skills development for all, with a specific focus on women and girls. We are actively engaged in initiatives aimed at kindling girls’ interest in STEM, with the aim of inspiring them to pursue careers in these future-oriented fields where women are often underrepresented. Every day, we see girls taking on incredible challenges that may seem impossible, and every day, we witness more and more evidence supporting the fact that they are unstoppable.

In Congo Brazzaville, our partnership with Chevron has given rise to the “One Woman = One Training in ICT” program, designed to cultivate digital skills among selected women. This initiative encompasses essential modules like automation, computer graphics, and community management. Similarly, in Cote d’Ivoire, our “STEM GIRLZ” project seeks to equip girls and young women with the ICT skills and knowledge they need to participate in the digital economy.

Most recently, we celebrated a significant milestone in MTN Uganda with the graduation of 70 young talents in Computer Applications through our MTN Girls in Tech program. The partnership with Smart Girls Foundation and their state-of-the-art training centre underscores our commitment to practical skills training. This achievement reflects our unwavering commitment to breaking down gender barriers in the digital domain.

Inclusion of girls is not just a moral imperative, but rather a necessity to secure the future for all. The force of collective responsibility cannot be underestimated; each of us has a role to play in this global endeavour, and the time for action is now.

What are you doing today to be part of the change?

MTN Group will be participating at Mobile World Congress (MWC) Kigali next week, when we look forward to engaging with African policymakers and industry leaders to advance the continent’s digital economy and extend financial inclusion.

MTN is a founding partner of MWC Kigali and the MTN delegation will be led by MTN Group President and CEO Ralph Mupita.

The need for innovation, digital transformation and financial inclusion has never been greater,” he said. “MTN is committed to collaborate with stakeholders who share our vision of finding solutions that empower communities, restore dignity and foster shared prosperity.”

Themed ‘Velocity: Unleashing Tomorrow’s Technology – Today’, the second annual instalment of MWC in Africa starts on Tuesday 17 October and runs until Thursday 19 October. It will bring together government officials, regulators, and representatives of all facets of the industry from across the continent and across the world.

In our rapidly evolving digital age, technology has seamlessly integrated into our lives, especially those of our children, spanning from early childhood to adolescence. While it offers a plethora of educational and entertainment benefits, it also triggers concerns regarding its influence on mental health. A concern that holds particular significance in the African context where one in five Africans grapple with mental health disorders[1]. As a responsible Mobile Network Operator (MNO), MTN has firmly committed itself to championing online safety. As parents, educators, and caregivers, it is also imperative to grasp the intricate relationship between technology and the mental well-being of our youth.

Acknowledging these nuanced challenges and opportunities, on World Mental Health Day, MTN aims to raise awareness about the potential risks associated with technology, along with emphasising the need for education and awareness surrounding these issues. Researchers concur that when technology is utilised appropriately, it can augment cognitive, emotional, and social development.

The evolution of educational media harnessing technology to help children understand and address mental health challenges in an accessible, trustworthy, and comprehensible manner has significantly contributed to enhancing mental well-being.

However, the inappropriate use of technology can have detrimental effects. Researchers argue[2] that excessive technology usage can lead to social isolation, sleep deprivation, and anxiety. Telecommunications technology can also foster a sense of “FOMO” (fear of missing out) and contribute to social media addiction, ultimately increasing anxiety levels and diminishing self-esteem.

While increased access to the internet and technological advances has brought numerous advantages, it has also introduced new online threats, such as cyberbullying, privacy breaches, sexting, the dissemination of child sexual abuse material (CSAM), and other forms of sexual exploitation. To mitigate these risks, it is crucial to implement safeguards.

MTN has consistently been at the forefront of the ongoing battle for online child safety. In 2022, we initiated the “Help Children Be Children in 2022” campaign. This campaign seeks to raise awareness about CSAM and educate the public in targeted countries about reporting such content. Furthermore, the campaign has facilitated the training of law enforcement and child helplines across the continent, positively impacting policy through roundtable discussions and encouraging key stakeholders, including industry leaders, to join the global effort against child sexual abuse material.

MTN has also actively supported the development of an Africa-wide online child safety portal. This portal, a pioneering endeavor, serves as a reporting mechanism for instances of child sexual abuse imagery online. MTN has collaborated with the IWF to bring this portal to fruition, and it is accessible at: Help Children Be Children MTN Group.

As we continue to lead the way in digital solutions for Africa’s progress, MTN firmly believes that we bear a critical responsibility in ensuring the online safety of every African child within our markets. The Online Child Safety Africa Portal represents one of our initiatives to create a secure online environment for our children.

In alignment with World Mental Health Day, MTN pledges to heighten awareness of the potential adverse consequences stemming from the inappropriate use of technology. We are committed to playing our part in establishing a safer online space for all.

For tips on how to keep children safe online visit MTN’s website.



The challenge of providing affordable and clean energy is a global imperative, especially in regions where energy access is considered a luxury. The absence of reliable energy sources does more than darken homes; it stifles hospitals, hampers education, and hinders economic development. The ripple effects of this multidimensional issue touch everything from public health to job creation. In this context, United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG 7), which advocates for Affordable and Clean Energy, serves as a cornerstone for environmental stewardship and is a fundamental requirement for sustainable development and social equity.

In countries like Nigeria, the situation is acute. According to the World Bank, roughly 47% of the population lacks reliable access to electricity. This energy deficit could be described as both a symptom and a cause of broader developmental challenges, making the need for immediate and sustainable solutions more urgent.

MTN Nigeria has stepped up to meet this challenge through a strategic partnership with Independent Power Producers (IPPs), entities that generate electricity for sale to either the national grid or specific end-users. This alliance led to the deployment of a Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) power plant designed to supply MTN’s head office in Lagos and the Ikoyi Data Centre with a more sustainable energy source. The project incorporates an 11kV ring main unit – an electrical distribution component situated at the IPP vendor’s location, which helps increase the stability of power supply. This unit is connected to MTN’s facilities via a 2km 11kV underground cable, and the system is ingeniously designed with a two-input option to allow a seamless transition between the IPP-generated power and the national grid, ensuring a consistent and reliable power supply.

The forward-thinking initiative employs three 1.1MW gas generators, which produce a significant reduction in harmful emissions. Moreover, the cost per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of CNG is 60% lower than that of diesel, meaning this is a win for the environment and the wallet. This efficiency led to a substantial year-on-year drop in diesel consumption in 2022 – over 110,000 litres – translating to a financial saving of approximately 572 million Nigerian Naira in overall energy costs for MTN Plaza and Ikoyi Data Centre.

MTN Nigeria is making a meaningful contribution to a larger ecosystem of sustainability. The initiative serves as a compelling example of how private sector ingenuity can address immediate issues and contribute to broader societal goals. It underscores the transformative power of sustainable energy solutions in reshaping economies, uplifting communities, and safeguarding the environment for future generations.

The need for affordable and clean energy transcends technological challenges; it is a moral and social imperative that requires the collective efforts of governments, corporations, and communities. MTN Nigeria’s partnership with IPPs offers a viable and replicable model for addressing energy challenges, marking a significant step toward a more sustainable and equitable future.

It is said that the true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members. At MTN, we take this to heart and are deliberate in ensuring our customers experience our inclusive culture at various touchpoints, such as retail outlets and service centres. ‘Leave no one behind’ is the central, transformative promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and our drive to digitally include vulnerable members of society aligns closely with UNSDG 10: Reduced Inequalities.

 Driven by our core belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life, MTN focuses on driving digital inclusion of all, with particular emphasis on vulnerable and marginalized groups. This includes women, children, youth, persons with disabilities, refugees, and rural citizens.

Spotlighting our specific efforts to drive inclusion of persons with disabilities is more critical than ever, given that, according to the World Health Organization, an estimated 1.3 billion people, or 16% of the global population, experience a significant disability. Astonishingly, 80% of this demographic resides in low- and middle-income countries. Mobile devices and services offer life-changing benefits, enabling more independent living. Yet, GSMA research indicates that many persons with disabilities remain unconnected and digitally excluded. MTN is actively working across its markets to rectify this.

MTN Rwanda introduced a programme in partnership with the National Union of Disability Organisations of Rwanda. The aim is to make MTN’s service and products more accessible to persons living with disabilities and to find ways to raise awareness and support the initiatives of the different organisations. Through this initiative, MTN Rwanda included sign language communication in all its television advertisements and interpreters in its call centre to aid persons with disabilities via video calls.

MTN eSwatini has also joined this inclusive movement by training its frontline and contact centre staff in sign language. This training supports the government’s agenda to be more inclusive of people living with disabilities. Customers can directly reach MTN eSwatini at 76 061 954 and access special bundles designed for the differently abled. These services have led to a 62% increase in video-calling interactions at our contact centres in the latter half of 2022 alone.

In South Africa, MTN is piloting an innovative national relay service (NRS) to serve visually and hearing-impaired people. The system harnesses the power of technology to enable users to make and receive phone calls. The pilot project, in partnership with Convo South Africa – a deaf-owned company – aims to expand communication access for those who otherwise could not communicate via voice call, audio, or video. Depending on the type of call, an operator speaks, types, or uses sign language when facilitating calls for or between deaf, hard-of-hearing, or deafblind South Africans. This initiative has made contacting emergency services more efficient for over 2.8 million South Africans with hearing or speech impairments.

MTN Cameroon is increasing their efforts to employ people with disabilities, train and render technical support to ensure an inclusive retail experience.  This initiative is currently being scaled to our other operating markets.

As we forge ahead, MTN remains steadfast in its commitment to bridging the digital divide and fostering an inclusive society. Through these initiatives, we’re connecting communities and enriching lives, one individual at a time.