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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