Tag: COVID 19
As part of our commitment to protect the health and safety of our people and workplaces, as well as contribute towards the rate of COVID-19 vaccinations across our markets, MTN Group will be implementing a mandatory vaccination policy for staff from January 2022.
“The science is clear. Vaccination against COVID-19 reduces rates of serious infections, hospitalisation, and death. As an employer, we have a responsibility to ensure that our workplaces are guided by the highest standards of health and safety, and that has informed our decision to make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for our staff,” said MTN Group President and Chief Executive Officer Ralph Mupita.
“Our new COVID-19 policy recognises that some of our markets don’t have adequate access to vaccines. It also recognises some low-risk roles that will be accommodated with full-time work-from-home or alternate arrangements, but this will be a small population within our workforce,” he added.
Both the World Health Organization and the Africa Centres for Disease Control advocate for vaccines – saying that they are an important measure to protect people. The global rollout of vaccinations since 2020 has clearly contributed to the containment and management of the virus in many countries.
“Vaccine equity continues to be a major issue for African countries. As MTN, we add our voice to the calls for more vaccines to be made available to African countries, as herd immunity will only happen when the whole globe has reached a sufficient level of COVID-19 vaccination,” said Mupita.
“The latest travel bans on African countries by developed nations are not based on science, are unjust and add to the lack of support for Africa that is much needed for an effective global response to the pandemic. African countries are being punished for the very transparency that’s actually needed to successfully combat the impact on lives and livelihoods of the COVID-19 virus,” he added.
The latest data shows that across the continent, only 7% of Africans have been fully vaccinated. This compares with a global population vaccination rate of 55%. “The fight against COVID-19 needs a global, comprehensive and equitable allocation of vaccines,” he added.
MTN Group’s new vaccine policy is a measure to meet MTN’s legal obligations in regard to providing a safe workplace and shall be subject to risk assessment and local laws that apply to the MTN Group and our operating companies and subsidiaries.
It also recognises the right of employees to apply to be exempted from the policy and/or refuse vaccination on certain clearly defined grounds. For those staff who are not exempt from vaccinations either through risk assessment or agreed exclusions but still refuse vaccination, MTN will not be obliged to continue the employment contract.
The new mandatory vaccination policy follows the Group’s US$25 million donation to the African Union’s COVID-19 vaccination programme.
The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and pan-African operator MTN Group today launched a joint campaign – “One More Push” – to encourage people across the continent to not give up in the fight against COVID-19, and to continue to wear their masks, wash their hands and practice social distancing.
“With third and fourth waves of COVID-19 sweeping across parts of Africa, we cannot overstate the importance of everyone doing their best right now to keep the virus at bay,” says Africa CDC Director, Dr John Nkengasong. “This campaign aims to encourage people to keep practising the preventative measures we know can limit the spread of COVID-19.”
The awareness campaign is an extension of the African Union’s ‘Adapted Africa Joint Continental Strategy for COVID-19 Pandemic’ endorsed by Africa’s Health Ministers and aligned to the ‘Prevent, Monitor and Treat’ approach. It is also an extension of the partnership between the Africa CDC and MTN, which includes the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines to health workers across the continent through the Group’s US$25 million donation.
“One More Push” is a renewed drive to encourage the public not to give up now. It asks that all of us keep our masks on, wash or sanitise our hands, and maintain a physical distance from each other until it is safe to no longer do so. In this way, we will be able to get back to the ‘old normal’ (or the best possible version of it) sooner rather than later.
The “One More Push” campaign is about encouraging the people of Africa to remain vigilant in fighting COVID-19, at a time when we are experiencing new waves of infections, and vaccination progress towards herd immunity is still some time away for our people.” says MTN Group President and CEO Ralph Mupita, noting that MTN’s fortunes were closely tied to the health and prosperity of the continent.
A key part of the campaign is onemorepushafrica.com, a digital content hub of credible and authoritative third-party content covering all things related to COVID-19. This includes facts around getting vaccinated, advice from leading healthcare bodies and medical experts, and important information from the Africa CDC.
“As we continue with the distribution of vaccines across the continent, we all need to keep focused on overcoming COVID-19,” said Dr Nkengasong. “We implore all of Africa’s people to keep it up – let’s all give it one more push.”
Visit onemorepushafrica.com for trustworthy content around vaccinations and the virus and to let us know what you are keeping your mask up for. Follow the #OneMorePushAfrica conversation on social media.
MTN Group’s brand is growing from strength to strength, evidenced by its top rankings in two separate independent brand surveys released this week.
MTN remains the ‘Most Admired African Brand’ in the Brand Africa 100: Africa’s Best Brands 2021 survey published on Tuesday. The survey covers 28 countries representing 80% of the continent’s population as well as 80% of its GDP.
For the 10th year running, MTN was also named as the most valuable and strongest South African brand by Brand Finance, which gave the Group a brand value of R44.8 billion in its South Africa 50 2021 survey released on Monday.
“MTN’s work to achieve the best brand in our markets is part of ensuring that we offer the leading customer experience. This is a vital enabler of our Ambition 2025 strategy,” said MTN Group President and CEO Ralph Mupita, adding that 15 of the Group’s 21 operations boasted their market’s highest net promoter scores.
“ I would like to thank every one of our 278 million subscribers for trusting us to deliver the communication and digital services they need. We take seriously your customer experience, and strive every day to live our core belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life. I would also like to acknowledge MTN’s 19 300 people who work tirelessly to further digital and financial inclusion across our markets.”
This year, Brand Africa’s survey included a new category – brands which were perceived to have been helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic. MTN was named the number one private sector brand in this category and followed the World Health Organization in the overall rankings.
During COVID-19, the Group worked to keep people connected and informed. In a unique public/private partnership in early 2021, MTN donated US$25 million to the African Union’s vaccination programme to secure COVID-19 vaccines for the continent’s health workers.
The Group also worked with host nations to support the Africa COVID Communications and Information Platform and launched the #WearItForMe mask campaign to encourage people everywhere to protect each other.
In a unique public/private partnership, MTN, Africa’s leading mobile network, has announced a donation of US$25 million to support the African Union’s COVID-19 vaccination programme.
The donation will help secure up to seven million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for health workers across the continent, which will contribute to the vaccination initiative of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).
“The devastating impact of COVID-19has been unprecedented and profound. Public and private partnerships are needed if we are to succeed in the fight against the pandemic and restore social and economic norms for our continent and our communities,” says Ralph Mupita, President and Chief Executive Officer of MTN Group.
On 14 January 2021, President Cyril Ramaphosa, Chairperson of the African Union, announced that the African Union had secured a provisional 270 million COVID-19 vaccine doses on behalf of its Member States, through advance procurement commitment guarantees of up to US$2 billion to the manufacturers by the African Export-Import Bank.
This was an important milestone in efforts to ensure equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine for Africa’s people. However, with a population of about 1.3 billion, Africa requires many more doses to achieve at least 60 percent herd immunity. Contributions by private organisations, like MTN, are therefore essential to help the continent reach its target.
“Our goal is to ensure that all those who need the COVID-19 vaccine have access to it very quickly, but the biggest hurdle in Africa has been financing of the vaccines, and the logistics of vaccinating at scale. We therefore welcome the right partnerships, like the one with MTN, to achieve our minimum 60 percent vaccination target,” says Dr John Nkengasong, Director of Africa CDC.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, MTN has made significant contributions to help limit the spread of the disease and save lives and livelihoods within its African market.
This donation is another example of MTN’s efforts to help find lasting solutions to solve the challenges facing the continent and to guarantee a healthy Africa, for all Africans.
“We believe ongoing collaborations with key stakeholders across sectors are essential as vaccines are deployed in all our markets, with communication tools, technology and digital services being vital support infrastructure for a successful mass vaccination programme,” concludes Mupita. “In the coming months, MTN Group will look at similar support commitments for the markets in which we operate in the Middle East.”
Since COVID-19 started to spread throughout the world in early 2020, social media has been abuzz with speculation linking 5G technology to the pandemic. However, scientists and health experts across the globe have discredited this as misinformation spread by people seeking to make sense of a virus over which they feel they have little control.
MTN continues to work to raise awareness of the fact that there is no reliable scientific evidence of any link between 5G and COVID-19 and we remain focused on our efforts to combat the pandemic and support customers and society in these uncertain times.
We continue to prioritise the resilience and capacity of our networks, which provide the telecoms services that are vital in the fight against the novel coronavirus as well as the connectivity that customers need to remain economically active despite renewed lockdown restrictions in many markets.
In recent years, 5G mobile technology has undergone extensive research, with numerous studies finding that it has no negative impact on the environment nor people. This fact has been confirmed by leading global experts, independent professional groups and public health agencies, including the World Health Organization.
The United Nations’ International Telecommunication Union (ITU) says there is no scientific basis for the statements that link 5G to COVID-19. The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) says that claims that exposure to the electromagnetic fields generated by 5G devices can cause COVID-19 are “not supported by any evidence”.
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says that there is no correlation between 5G and COVID-19, adding: “5G is an advancement on today’s 4G technology, designed to transform the world positively”. MTN Nigeria Chairman Ernest Ndukwe has also added his voice to efforts to debunk the misinformation (Read more).
The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has condemned theories linking 5G to COVID-19, saying: “The Authority would like to urge all South Africans not to be swayed by these conspiracy theories that are hell-bent on bringing instability and fear”.
University of Johannesburg Vice Chancellor Professor Tshilidzi Marwala has also added his voice, saying: “There is no causal connection between 5G technology and any biological virus, including COVID-19” and that 5G will positively and fundamentally transform communication (Read more).
The GMSA mobile industry organisation has condemned acts of arson against mobile phone masts, calling on internet giants, content providers and social media platforms to accelerate their efforts to “remove fake news linking 5G to the spread of COVID-19”.
MTN continues to act to address the challenges brought on by the disruption to economic activity and the restrictions on people’s movements that have accompanied the spread of COVID-19. We continue to prioritise people, customers and communities, as well as looking after our network and our business.
We remain driven to deliver on our belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life. The rollout of 5G into the future is key to our work to bring more people into the digital world and allow Africa to reap the benefits of the Fourth Industrial Revolution as the technology offers extensive network capacity; ultra-high-speed mobile connectivity; ultra-low latency as well as massive Internet-of-Things capabilities.
Hip-hop star and Grammy Award-winning producer Khaled Mohamed Khaled, aka DJ Khaled, on Wednesday added his voice to MTN Group’s efforts to raise awareness about the importance of wearing masks to fight the spread of COVID-19.
“DJ Khaled and MTN want you to know that we want you to wear your mask out there; it is so important,” the rapper and social media celebrity said in a video clip posted to his 21,5 million Instagram followers. In a message he felt was vital for Africa as well as for the rest of the world, he said: “If you love yourself, you love your family…if you love the WORLD, you will wear a mask.”
Wearing face coverings remains one of the most effective measures to slow the spread of COVID-19. However, many people refuse to wear them, wear them incorrectly or still underestimate their importance.
DJ Khaled, whose participation was enabled by his management company Roc Nation, urged everyone to get involved: “Tag somebody that you love so that they can wear their mask…I’m gonna wear mine; you gonna wear yours and we will make this world better, safer…and we are gonna come out this stronger, wiser and more powerful! MTN, DJ Khaled. One love.”
Earlier this month, MTN Group launched its #WearItForMe campaign, encouraging customers and the public at large not to be complacent, to wear their masks to protect themselves, and to protect and respect others.
#WearItForMe runs throughout September. Spread the message, not the virus. Visit www.wearitfor.me to send a message to someone to encourage them to do the right thing.
MTN is adding its voice to global efforts to raise awareness about the importance of wearing masks to fight the spread of COVID-19 with today’s launch of the #WearItForMe campaign across its markets.
As society navigates the “new normal” brought about by the pandemic, wearing face coverings remains one of the most effective measures to slow its spread. However, many people refuse to wear them, wear them incorrectly, or still underestimate their importance.
“COVID-19 has had profound health and socioeconomic impacts across the world. We empathise and mourn the lives lost to the pandemic. And even though the outbreak appears to be slowing in Africa, now is not the time to be complacent,” says MTN’s incoming group president and CEO Ralph Mupita.
“With increasing evidence that masks can limit the spread of COVID-19, and eventually eliminate the disease if worn by 80-90% of the population, we need to do what we can to make a meaningful difference. Wearing a mask is not only about protecting oneself, but about respecting and protecting others,” says Mupita.
To help drive this behaviour, MTN is committing its September 2020 marketing resources to encourage everyone to do more to save lives. #WearItForMe is the second phase of MTN’s Y’ello Hope COVID-19 response initiative. It is a powerful call-to-action using the voices of some of the most influential people in our communities: mothers and mother-figures. They will send heartfelt messages to all the children of Africa to wear a mask and “wear it for me’’.
The campaign will build on MTN’s work carried out under Y’ello Hope to brighten lives and limit the impact of the pandemic, including through providing free data lifelines, zero-rated access to educational sites and using technology for contact tracing and information dissemination through the Africa COVID Communications and Information Platform.
“Wearing a mask is, of course, not the only thing we all need to do to slow the spread of the virus: regular handwashing and strict social distancing are just as important,” concludes Mupita.
#WearItForMe will run throughout September. Visit www.wearitfor.me to send a message to someone to encourage them to do the right thing. #WearItForMe: Because when we all wear masks, we protect each other.
Together with host nations and strategic partners, MTN has supported in the establishment of the Africa COVID Communications and Information Platform (ACCIP) driven by the United Nations’ Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and Africa Center for Disease Control (CDC) to assist countries on the continent respond to the impact of COVID-19.
The Platform launched today, aims to support each country’s national COVID-19 taskforce to enhance its ability to analyse the situation and implement the necessary responses, as well as direct resources to mitigate the health and economic impacts of the pandemic.
Together with the other partners, MTN has played a key role in the development of the platform as well as the creation and operationalisation of the mobile platform templates and operating protocols.
“As a pan-African company, we are vested in the continent’s development and its ability to rise out of the COVID-19 pandemic stronger than before. Driven to enable digital and financial inclusion, we felt it important to use our technology, expertise and network for the good of Africa and its people,” said MTN Group president and CEO Rob Shuter.
“As we worked with the various partners to develop the platform, we were mindful of the realities faced in African markets where smartphone penetration and internet penetration are low. This platform offers free-to-use services using a combination of text and voice interactions,” he added.
Set to reach more than 600 million users across the continent, the ACCIP represents an impressive mix of high and low tech to take practical advantage of the richness of data generated by users of even simple 2G phones.
Anonymous user-generated survey data will be transmitted to an artificial intelligence-driven system which will then combine it with public information from social and other digital channels for targeted analysis.
The ACCIP platform will allow policymakers to share insights and harness data to inform decision making at a regional and national level for the benefit of local populations. National authorities will ultimately also be able to conduct community-level messaging for social welfare, facilitating cash distribution (including e-payments) or targeted information on local food distribution or the provision of clean water. When data shows emerging virus hotspots, authorities will be able to direct medical resources to those areas, as well as alert residents of their availability.
The spread of COVID-19 has touched every part of Africa. Governments’ lockdown restrictions to limit the spread of the virus have meant many people have felt isolated from their friends, families and colleagues. But Africans are increasingly turning to mobile tech solutions, including Over-the-Top (OTT) applications, to keep in touch and to stay informed about the pandemic.
MTN in partnership with the Ayoba app allows MTN customers to connect with loved ones with no data costs. MTN has been offering zero-rated data for Ayoba in most of the 16 markets where it has been launched. This translated into 6 144 terabytes of free data and ca. $147,7m value provided via Ayoba during the COVID-19 period.
“MTN’s is working to provide access to affordable communications so people in our markets can reap the social, economic and developmental dividends of being online,” says David Gilarranz, MTN’s executive for group digital services. “Leveraging our established customer base, MTN has built a digital ecosystem spanning OTT services in messaging, media and advertising that aims to bring more people into the digital world.”
With lockdown measures still in place in many markets, the need for reliable information on COVID-19 has never been more critical. MTN customers are also benefiting from four dedicated Ayoba COVID-19 channels that provide vital information from relevant authorities at no data cost. In addition, MTN has added six channels for education, self-help, jobs and skills development information.
Since the beginning of April, Ayoba has reached over 2 million monthly active users. It offers users access to an ecosystem of digital and rich media services through channels, micro-apps and payment solutions, embedded within an African super-app.
At the same time, Ayoba is highly localised and tailored for African and Middle East consumer needs. The platform supports 20 languages spoken across our markets. Users can send and receive encrypted messages, share photos, videos, files and voice notes and can also subscribe to live channels. Localised content is available through curated channels aimed at entertaining, educating and empowering communities as well as a range of games.
Developed as an open digital platform that enables third-party innovation, Ayoba has the capacity to offer a rich and diversified experience. Businesses and content providers can engage with their customers using channels. Through this partnership with Ayoba, MTN delivers more value to the broader ecosystem of businesses, users and local developers and create experiences that are optimised for local communities.
Ayoba can be downloaded onto smartphones from the Google Play app store as well as the www.ayoba.me website.
This International Day of the African Child, MTN is pleased to be supporting the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP) to help mobilise funds for children and families across Sub-Saharan Africa affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
MTN is doing this by enabling SMS fundraising throughout a month-long campaign to raise funds for those most severely impacted by the virus on the continent. All proceeds raised through the campaign will be donated in full to UNICEF and WFP, who are supporting COVID-19 affected communities across Africa.
The pandemic’s closure of schools is putting at risk the futures of millions of Africa’s children, compromising their ability to learn and their access at school to healthcare and food. Because of COVID-19, some 253 million children across the continent are not going to school and 65 million are missing out on school meals.
“Healthy, well-nourished kids have a much better chance of fulfilling their potential,” said Nompilo Morafo, MTN Group Executive for Corporate Affairs. “Inclusion is at the heart of MTN and this is why we decided to support the campaign by UNICEF and WFP to raise funds for health supplies and food.”
“The COVID-19 epidemic is affecting children in many ways” said Dr Jama Gulaid, UNICEF Representative in South Africa. “UNICEF appreciates the assistance of MTN which is helping us and our partners reach children with vital services: health, protection and water sanitation and education,” Gulaid added.
The World Food Programme Regional Director for Southern Africa, Lola Castro said, “With so many people on the continent already acutely food insecure, we are extremely concerned about the prospect of COVID-19 causing a hunger catastrophe.”
In this unprecedented global crisis, the poorest and most vulnerable communities are the most at risk. Together we can give them a fighting chance with access to the basics: clean water, food, soap, gloves, and masks. The donations will help UNICEF and the World Food Programme deliver life-saving health supplies and nutritious food.
To donate: In SA, SMS “donate” to 42164 to donate to UNICEF and the WFP. SMS cost is R30. Network Fees Apply, closing date 30 June 2020. Rest of the world, https://help.unicef.org/africa.