ICT has a pivotal role to play in managing climate change, health and education in emerging markets.
This is according to Themba Khumalo, newly appointed Operations Executive for the MTN Group, who was addressing delegates at the 2012 ICT Indaba, currently under way in Cape Town, South Africa.
Quoting the International Telecommunications Union report on Trends in Telecommunications, Khumalo reiterated the role of ICT in providing solutions by protecting and creating economic value through responsible and social core business practices.
During his presentation, titled: “ICTs, Climate Change and Emerging Economies”, Khumalo told delegates that MTN has taken an active leadership role through various innovations across its operations to curb carbon emissions, save energy and reduce operating costs.
As people across the world marked World Environment Day on 5 June, Khumalo reminded the delegates about MTN's achievements in preserving the environment for future generations across its markets. This included the transformation of MTN's head office in Fairland, Johannesburg, into a green building, making MTN the first company in Africa to convert an existing building into one that is certifiably green.
MTN has also implemented alternative energy solutions, including the 2-MW tri-generation plant at its head office. MTN uses the plant to generate its own electricity from methane gas, thus reducing dependency on the national electricity supply. As a result, the company saves on operating expenditure, and has improved its energy security, as well as reduced its carbon tax liability risks.
Khumalo, until recently CEO of MTN Uganda, told delegates that Uganda has a national electrification rate of just over 9%. The country has a handset penetration of 42%, and as a result, costs of recharging a cellphone are significantly high at up to US$2.5.
“As a solution to some of these challenges, MTN Uganda introduced the Fenix ReadySet energy Easy Talk phones, which are powered by solar. They also assist the World Food Programme to provide funds to beneficiaries through MTN Mobile Money services. The phones have also helped dealers increase their sale of electricity by 12% and increase commission during power cuts as well as decrease the use of petrol generators,” says Khumalo.
In Nigeria, 850 villages previously with little or no access to telephony services due to limited energy resources are benefiting from MTN Nigeria's Rural Telephony Project. The project uses base transceiver sites as well as mashed satellite networks to provide voice and SMS services.
“The project has improved the quality of life in these communities by creating entrepreneurial opportunities. The phones are low maintenance and have reduced operating costs,” adds Khumalo.
MTN innovations are also helping other industries. The company has developed SMART (Standardise, Monitor, Account, Re-think and Transform) solutions that are helping other industries become more energy efficient, as well as save costs. These SMART solutions include, smart motors, electric machines with integrated drives and controls and smart grids, which use communication technology to optimise, predict and dynamically respond to energy demand behaviour.
Khumalo reiterated that for MTN “sustainability is about protecting and creating economic value for MTN and our stakeholders through responsible environmental and social core business practices”.
In his new role as Operations Executive for MTN Group, Khumalo is responsible for managing operations in Afghanistan, Benin, Botswana, Congo Brazzaville, Cyprus, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea-Conakry, Liberia, Rwanda, Sudan, Swaziland, Yemen and Zambia.
Visit www.mtn.com/sustainability for more information on MTN sustainability efforts.
Issued by MTN Group Corporate Affairs