MTN calls for middle-path partnerships across Africa
Africa’s largest mobile network MTN is calling partnerships for progress across Africa.
MTN, which operates in 19 markets with 289 million subscribers, says it wants to partner for progress with nation states and twin the company’s aspirations with those of its host countries.
The telecom group’s board of directors held its annual strategy session in Ghana this week, during which chairman Mcebisi Jonas called for cordial relations between governments and multinationals.
“The future is about strategic partnerships. We must move beyond seeing corporates only as a source of tax revenue, as entities that government’s sole focus is to regulate and control,” Jonas said at a dinner attended by the vice president of Ghana, Alhaji Dr Mahamudu Bawumia.
He added: “We need to rethink partnership models between the public and private sector in support of national development agendas while at the same protecting shareholder value.”
MTN Ghana chairman, Dr Ishmael Yamson, concurred: “This partnership should be anchored in a strong belief that business and society have a symbiotic relationship.”
MTN says considering the sharp reduction in foreign direct investment in Africa since the pandemic, Jonas spoke of the need to protect and scale-up investments and look more towards pan-African corporates to drive growth.
“The danger is that many of our most innovative start-ups will relocate to tech hubs elsewhere in the world…We must build a new ecosystem to drive African innovation and growth,” said Jonas.
The call by Jonas to build new ecosystem to drive growth comes on the back of MTN’s recent announcement to construct a $25 million ICT hub in Accra, aimed at creating jobs and drive socio-economic development in the West African country.
The Ghana ICT Hub will sit on 4 000 square meters of land, and will be the first of its kind in the West Africa sub region with the aim of training over 200 000 people with ICT skills and generate over 100 000 jobs during the first three years post-completion.
In his remarks at the MTN dinner, Dr Bawumia spoke of the need for smart investments in new technologies and infrastructure to modernise Ghana’s economy to gain competitive advantage.
He said: “This is why partnerships with organisations like MTN are critical to us as a government and we would like to commend them for their role in accelerating Ghana’s digital efforts and contributing to Ghana’s socio-economic development.”