By Prince Osuagwu
Anywhere MTN is mentioned in Africa, the common link is actually telecommunications. However, closer probe into its activities would reveal an African company using telecommunications to expand footprints into other sectors of the economy.
That was exactly Hi-Tech’s findings at the recently concluded SATCOM Conference and exhibitions held in Johannesburg, South Africa. An encounter with the company’s official, Mr Richard Kabeya, in South Africa, revealed that beyond the telecommunications business, MTN was also a major player in the satellite business.
In fact, Kabeya, Business Partner Manager of MTN Business arm, admitted that the company’s venture into the satellite business has given its telecommunications operation a great lift, explaining why the company participated actively in this year’s Satellite Communications Africa conference. Through MTN business arm, the telco is providing satellite services ranging from equipment to bandwidth and other services.
For Kabeya, however, beyond the fact that satellite business has aided MTN’s strong operations in the telecommunications sector, helped to rake in huge return on investment, MTN’s top priority was making tremendous input to boosting Africa’s satellite market share in the global chart. The vision for doing this according to him was to ensure that enough growth is driven down the emerging markets of Africa and beyond.
Interestingly, the company says it has two-phase strategy to achieving that, which includes expanding its cellular and fixed telecommunications services into developing markets and then driving future growth in these regions in tandem with their growing requirements for high-speed mobile data such as HSDPA. Ultimately, the aim is to establish a full MPLS networking capability in each country.
Another interesting aspect of African development, Kabeya revealed to Vanguard, was that MTN was committed to the transformation of the South African Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment, BBBEE, policy.
Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment, BBBEE, is a form of Economic Empowerment initiated in 2007 by the South African government in response to criticism against Narrow Based Empowerment instituted in the country in 2003/2004. While Narrow Based Black Economic Empowerment led to the enrichment of a few Black Africans, Coloureds or Indians, the goal of Broad-Based Empowerment is to distribute wealth across a broad spectrum of African society as possible.
In doing this MTN Group says its strategy is broad¬based and encompasses the key areas of equity ownership, management, employment equity, skills development, procurement, enterprise development and corporate social investment. This is possibly, recognising that transformation and Broad¬based Black Economic Empowerment are integral to sustainable business success.
Although the company said that its BBBEE procurement scorecard is directly aligned with both the ICT charter and the codes of good practice as set out by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in terms of the Broad based Black Economic Empowerment Act.
Meanwhile, Kabeya said that “the company is committed to maximising procurement from black-empowered suppliers and to encourage entrepreneurship within previously disadvantaged communities. To this end, MTN partners with local BBBEE companies, either through joint ventures or by contracting BBBEE businesses, thereby encouraging local industry support and promoting enterprise development.