African Business

MTN needs to rethink role as African multinational -Ofori-Atta


By Eugene Davis

Ghana’s Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta has asked telecommunications giant, MTN Group to refocus and redefine its role on the African continent to enable it consolidate its dominant position in the sector.

The South African mobile operator, MTN Group, is operating in many African and Asian countries and has set a key strategy christened ‘Ambition 2025, intended to lead digital solutions for Africa’s progress’, it also expects to provide a diverse range of voice, data, fintech, digital, enterprise, wholesale, and API services to more than 291 million customers in 19 markets.

Delivering an Investor Presentation at this year’s MTN Capital Markets Day in South Africa, he said “I think MTN needs to redefine its role going forward, they need to think through their philosophy in terms of an African multinational to change the fortunes of the company -working for shareholders or stakeholders.”

Recalling an example from Korea to buttress his point, he adds “the integrated nature between governments and major firms are key, whether you are going to follow the Chicago ideologs or you just working for the shareholders or whether you are working for stakeholders and whether in Hyundai, Samsung and co working with government through 1960 till now, they haven’t created a much bigger market to support the growth of the firm.

So, I think it is an existential moment to think through what the philosophy of the company -an African multinational should be, regards with their relationship with government going forward. Government understanding that they need to give space and multinationals also stretching themselves to appreciate that career responsibility and to change the fortunes of this company.”

MTN is the leading telco in Ghana, with a 55.21% market share, and in the current reporting period, the telco’s service revenue grew 28.3% year-on-year (YoY). In the second quarter of 2022, MTN held a majority of the market share of mobile subscriptions in Ghana with 63 percent. Over the given period from 2015 to 2022, MTN has retained the largest market share.

MTN Group has invested in sophisticated communication infrastructure, developing new technologies and by harnessing the talent of our diverse people to now offer services to communities across Africa and in the Middle East.

The company’s philosophy under pillar ‘E’ of ESG is underpinned by their commitment to protecting the planet and achieving net zero

emissions by 2040. This is influenced by our aim to build an environmentally responsible business by imbibing a sustainable business and operational ethos, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) across our footprint by focusing on three pillars – Reduce, Substitute and Compensate.

South Africa, Nigeria and Ghana are top contributors to its total emissions, as well as Scope 1[Fuel combustion in diesel generators, Mobile combustion, Emissions from refrigerators] and Scope 2 emissions [Purchased electricity] and Scope 3 emissions [emissions are due to the activities of

suppliers and customers. Purchased goods or services from suppliers, including emissions from towers leased to Towercos, are major contributors -on a standalone basis due to the large scale of operations. Sudan has high Scope 1 and 2 emissions on account of ownership of a large number of network sites that are diesel dependent. Uganda, on the other hand, has higher Scope 3 emissions as the majority of its network sites are leased out to Towercos.

With Environment Social and Governance (ESG) at the core of everything they do, MTN is driven to create shared value, and to accelerate the transformation of its portfolio to improve returns and reduce risk.

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