As MTN Ghana looks to the long term, its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Selorm Adadevoh has stated that the telecommunications sector leader will remain innovative in a manner that will “continue to brighten lives”.
Since its advent on the scene 25 years ago, the company has chalked up many firsts; directly in its primary line of business, telephony, and indirectly – both of which have further ingrained the company into the fabric of Ghanaian society. This, according to Mr. Adadevoh, is considered key at his establishment as it takes a holistic view of the concept of return on investment.
He made these statements at a breakfast session for media organisations by MTN on the theme ‘25 years of Brightening lives’, where he added that prudent and calculated risk-taking has allowed the company – which came in at a distant third a quarter of a century ago – to become the market leader in all key metrics.
“We have had to take calculated risks, and sometimes this has seen us scarcely break-even with some of our ventures. But we were convinced about them and their potential for good, and as such we were willing to make huge financial commitments, knowing the benefits will be visible eventually,” he explained.
The CEO added that MTN is acutely aware of the importance in having an operating environment that is politically stable and one where regulatory policies are not erratic, as this allows for a mutually beneficial relationship.
Having experienced this in the country, Mr. Adadevoh stated that MTN has invested in excess of US$6billion dollars; and as part of its obligations to the state paid taxes to the tune of GH¢2.6billion in the last accounting year. “We paid some GH¢2.6billion in taxes last year. That was one of our ways of supporting government’s drive toward growing revenue,” he said.
Regarding implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Mr. Adedevoh said there is a need to put the right technological infrastructure in place in order to succeed. This, he said, will be realised if there is a conscious effort aimed at increasing investments in regulatory instruments to ensure adequate adaption to the ever-changing technological environment.
“The technology space has become such an important area in the world today, and for that to translate – not only in Ghana – there’s a need for regulation to step up and meet the rapid evolution of technology through investments in regulatory instruments,” he remarked.
MTN on GSE
He also expressed belief that the performance of MTN’s shares on the Ghana Stock Exchange, where it has been responsible for an average of 80% of trade since its groundbreaking IPO in 2018, is a sign of not only the confidence reposed in the company’s fundamentals as a business entity but also a testament to how eager Ghanaians are to own part of a company whose innovative operations permeate every facet of their lives.
“Today, I am proud to say MTN represents close to 80 percent of trades on the Ghana stock exchange,” he said, while urging other companies to list on the Exchange so as to deepen financial inclusion.
This year alone, MTN is investing approximately US$150million in its network and IT systems to continue connecting the 15% of Ghanaians who live in the remotest communities, and increase capacity and experience for those who already have service.
As part of its 25th anniversary, it is committing to a US$25million fund over 3 years to work with government through the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation to support the development of Ghana’s digital ecosystem.
Dealing with MoMo fraudsters
Its Mobile Money service, currently used by almost 40% of the population, is three times larger than all other digital payment platforms in the country combined. With the growth comes challenges, but Mr. Adadevoh noted that MTN in collaboration with all other telcos is taking measures to curb fraud associated with mobile money.
The initiative rolled out a couple of months ago will go a long way to reduce the activities of these fraudsters. “We have come together as a Chamber to say ‘how do we intensify or increase the barriers to fraud?’ And blocking the device across all networks is for us one step to achieve that. This is one of the activities we are currently focused on, and we have implemented it through the Chamber,” he said.