MTN Group’s Board of Directors held its annual strategy session in Ghana this week, during which Chairman Mcebisi Jonas said the relationship between governments and multinationals needs to change and that MTN wants to partner for progress with nation states and twin the Group’s aspirations with those of its host countries.
“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 MTN Ghana stakeholders, including His Excellency the Vice President of Ghana, Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia. “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.”
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.”
This required that governments address red-tape and the ease of doing business.
In his remarks, HE Dr Bawumia spoke of the need for smart investments in new technologies and infrastructure to modernise Ghana’s economy to gain competitive advantage: “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.”
MTN Ghana Chairman Dr Ishmael Yamson concurred: “This partnership should be anchored in a strong belief that business and society have a symbiotic relationship.”
During the two-day visit, members of the MTN Group Board undertook trips to the market to familiarise themselves with the work of customer agents and solicit the views of traders and customers who use MTN’s services. This is part of MTN’s work to strengthen collaboration and to underscore the collective effort required to achieve long-term socio-economic growth. One of the four strategic priorities of MTN’s Ambition 2025 is to ‘create shared value’. Regularly engaging with key stakeholders is essential to deliver on this priority.