MTN Group today published its Group Integrated, Sustainability and Tax Reports for the year ending 31 December 2019, illustrating the significant economic and social impact it has delivered through the group to the markets it operates in across Africa and the Middle East. The three reports set out how the company delivered growth and unlocked value by continuing to focus on executing its BRIGHT strategy. They also show how MTN operations strive to ensure that all who are touched by our products and services are positively impacted.
Delivering on our strategy in a more agile way
Our 2019 Integrated report highlights the progress we have made against our strategy and the value created by developing and distributing a range of innovative and reliable communication products and services. We also share our intention to harness the pioneering spirit MTN has built over the last 25 years to accelerate the implementation of our strategy in a more agile way in close collaboration with our many partners, with whom we are #GoodTogether.
- The work we have done on strengthening our operations and balance sheet over the last few years positions us well to weather the more turbulent operating environment.
- Given the progress and momentum we have seen in our commercial, strategic and financial initiatives, we have enhanced our medium-term guidance framework.
- While we maintain our service revenue growth, EBITDA margin improvement, CAPEX intensity reduction and ROE improvement targets, we have increased our targets for the next three to five years to secure at least a further R25 billion in asset realisations which will further moderate our leverage ratios.
Contributing to infrastructure and government revenue
The infrastructure we build supports the development of the technology which boosts local economies. MTN invested R26 billion in its networks and systems in 2019. MTN is also among the largest taxpayers in many of our markets and MTN’s tax contributions for the year under review amounted to R31 billion, up from R24 billion in 2018. Tax contributions include corporate taxes, indirect taxes, withholding taxes, payroll taxes, operating licence fees and other payments to government authorities.
This stemmed from contributions made in South Africa of R4,6 billion, Nigeria of R6,7 billion, SEAGHA of R9,3 billion, WECA of R6,7 billion and MENA of R3,2 billion.
PwC Building Public Trust Award
Our 2018 tax report was selected from the tax reports of the top 100 JSE listed companies. An independent panel of judges reviewed the tax reports and MTN was awarded first place for the PwC Building Public Trust Award amongst South African based multinational companies. This award is given for excellence in tax reporting.
Driving broader socio-economic benefits to society
“To make an impact on meeting the UN SDGs by 2030, we need to deepen our focus, acting collectively and decisively. Having often reflected on this objective, I believe we can achieve this if we come together through our connected and shared humanity to collaborate effectively through partnerships,” said MTN President and Group CEO Rob Shuter.
“What we are most proud of are the partnerships we have made and the impact they have had. Three, in particular, come to mind: 1) Rapid rural roll-out programme (R3) with our various partners, in 2019 we saw over 1300 sites reaching 6,9 million people, 2) Internet Watch Foundation partnership to make children safer online, we successfully blocked 2 million URLs containing child sexual abuse material, 3) Signing up to the GSMA-led industry-wide plan to achieve net-zero GHG emissions by 2050 in line with the Paris Agreement.”
We view sustainability as an integral part of MTN’s value creation journey now and into the future. We strive to create and protect shared value for our stakeholders through responsible economic, environmental and social practices. Key points from the 2019 Sustainability report are as follows:
- Environmental: MTN recorded its highest ever greenhouse gases saved/avoided at 28 889 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCo2e) in 2019, despite an increase in our energy consumption due to the growth in our network.
- Social: We reached over 1,9 million beneficiaries through our Corporate Social Investment across our footprint, over 400 000 of which were women and over 300 000 youth.
- Governance: MTN adheres to a culture of sound ethical business conduct – over 10 000 ethics e-learning completion by staff, over 1 800 vendors prequalified following due diligence process and over 130 calls to tip-offs anonymous whistle-blower line, a significant increase from previous years.
- Economic: Through our CHASE model, we are driving smartphone adoption with over 675 000 affordable low-cost smartphones distributed in 2019 alone. We also witnessed a 39% reduction in the group’s effective rate per megabyte.
Rob added that: “Access to the internet has the power to change lives and bridge inequalities, we are contributing to accelerating digital and financial inclusion by connecting the unconnected. We believe that by contributing to the prosperity of Africa and the Middle East, we are creating shared value for all.
Another key example of this: MTN’s Mobile money and Homeland solutions which are not only facilitating the flow of money into Africa from the Diaspora but between different regions in Africa, setting the stage to enable African Continental Free Trade Area’s vision of creating a single market across the African continent.”
MTN’s response to COVID-19
As business and society, we are seeing a concerning increase in the transmissions of COVID-19 cases across multiple countries. To mitigate its impact, we are implementing several measures to support our employees, customers, partners, communities and our business during this time of uncertainty for all of us. These measures include the establishment of a Global Staff-Care Emergency Fund which will be utilised for preventative health and safety, treatment, and emergency lockdown sustenance provisions. We are also rolling out relief products and services under the ‘Y’ello Hope Crisis Package’ umbrella across MTN to enable customers to access critical health and education information, and mobile money services. Our investment focus at this time is on resilience and capacity in our networks.
“As I write, we are in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and there is much uncertainty as to how and when society will emerge from it. The impact of COVID-19 on worldwide economies is challenging and our commitment remains steadfast to do all we can to minimise the economic and social impact across our markets. MTN Group cares because MTNers care – we have dynamic and passionate employees who continue to empower us to reach new heights in our journey,” concluded Rob.