- calls for public-private partnership to drive digital transformation
- proposes establishment of telco museum as MTN clocks 25
By Ebenezer Chike Adjei NJOKU
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has described telecommunications firm MTN as a model corporate institution, and one worthy of emulation by others who strive for excellence.
According to him, the company’s performance is a lesson in purposefulness; particularly when taking into consideration the fact that MTN entered the Ghanaian market in distant third position when it acquired Scancom in 1996, to become the market leader in Ghana – having the highest number of subscribers in all metrics.
Speaking as special guest of honour at the formal launch of the 25th anniversary of MTN’s advent in the local market, President Akufo-Addo stated this is evidence that indigenous African businesses, if committed and given the enabling environment, are capable of individual growth and transforming the social and economic fortunes of the continent.
“MTN is a model for emulation by other African companies, including those in Ghana. It is further proof, if anyone needed it, that we in Africa have the capability to oversee our own social and economic transformation,” he said.
For the said transformation to be attained and sustained, however, the president argued that it will require enduring partnerships between stakeholders in the public and private sectors.
A charge to keep
To this end, the president charged MTN – which he also called an ‘exceptionally able partner’ for their support to successive governments in their desire to see information technology is easily accessible to the citizenry by consistently creating and deploying innovative technological products and services in accordance with global standards, which helps sustain investment in the country – to continue working with the sector ministry and other stakeholders to ensure growth.
He stated that this will come about if focus is placed on supporting small and medium-scale enterprises, especially start-ups, while bridging the gender and digital divides.
Establishing a telecoms museum
Calling for the establishment of a museum to document achievements in the sector, the president said: “I am charging MTN to invest also in promoting startups, reducing the gender and digital divide, and stimulating vibrant technology hub spaces.
“You should also work with the sector ministry and the industry to establish a telecommunication museum that chronicles and showcases our development and achievements in this sector, because we have a story to tell.”
Silver Jubilee promises
On his part, the Chief Executive Officer of MTN, Selorm Adadevoh, stated that his outfit has made investments in excess of US$6billion in the local economy due to its confidence in the governance and political stability, policy predictability and consistent economic growth of the country over the years and in recent times.
Echoing the president’s sentiments, he reiterated his outfit’s commitment to deepening the digital ecosystem and ensuring connectivity for all, including rural communities, as part of supporting government’s ambition for a digital Ghana – and added that MTN is committed to building an ICT hub in Ghana as one of its legacy projects.
“Despite our success over the 25-year period, MTN is not resting on its laurels and our commitment to contributing to Ghana’s digital development could not be higher. This year alone, MTN is investing approximately US$150million in the network and IT systems to continue connecting the 15% of Ghanaians in our remotest communities without connectivity, and increase capacity and experience for those who already have service.
“We are also committing as part of our 25th anniversary a US$25million fund over three years, to work with government through the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation to support the development of Ghana’s digital ecosystem,” he explained.
The event, which sets in motion a year-long list of activities to commemorate the Silver Jubilee, was graced by industry stakeholders including the South African High Commissioner to Ghana, Ms. Grace Jeanet Masond; Minister of Communications and Digitalisation, Ursula Owusu Ekuful; and Director-General of the National Communications Authority (NCA), Joe Anokye, among others.