MTN Group has boosted its MTN Foundation’s contribution to support efforts in combatting the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic across its footprint. The initiatives include contributing towards Government Relief Funds, the procurement and sourcing of vital Health Care Resources, Food and Water Security through the provision of food packages and water points to meet basic needs, and the Economic Upliftment of SMMEs and local market value chains.

The COVID-19 global pandemic is already the most severe human tragedy of our generation. While the exact consequences, including those of a socio-economic nature, cannot be accurately estimated at this stage, we know that the health emergency is to be followed by social and economic emergencies, both globally and across our markets.

The vulnerable in our societies will suffer the most during this crisis, both in the short and in the long-term, and we have identified food insecurity to be the most pressing as well as the most disruptive risk to our societies.

Across the continent and beyond, national governments have set up relief funds aimed at supporting those in the greatest of need. MTN Group has contributed a monetary value of R42 million in a number of  markets for Government Relief Funds in response to COVID-19 efforts. The funding is for the support of the unemployed, small and large businesses and the procurement of essential goods such as food and medicine which positively impacts the economic upliftment of societies.

In line with MTN Group’s commitment towards minimising the spread of the virus, MTN has supported the provision of 130 500 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and 10 000 virus testing kits. Through the donation of food packs and the provision of water points, approximately 46 000 people have access to vital food and water during these trying times. In Kenya, MTN Business has supported county governments like Mombasa County by hosting their servers at no cost and provided Kenya Medical Practitioners Board and Nursing Council with 2 weeks server upgrade at no cost to cater for increased demand. Through these efforts and our support for Government Relief Funds, we have invested R70 million towards ensuring communities are supported.

Nompilo Morafo, Group Executive Corporate Affairs, says: “MTN, as a leading brand in the markets in which we operate, believes that we have a  key role to play in assisting to minimise the likelihood of transmission and its impact on society. We are incredibly  proud of the level of resilience that the communities have demonstrated across our operations as they fight against the challenges that COVID-19 brings.

Africa and the Middle East have always been cultures defined by ingenuity, entrepreneurship, and positivity. We believe the more we can do to address our communities’ essential needs, the more time they can use to focus on this resilience and innovation potential that will be at the heart of social and economic recovery.”

Since COVID-19 has transformed the world we live in there have been countless inspiring stories of ingenuity as people find new ways to operate and contribute to the recovery. African laboratories and tech companies have developed rapid testing kits, mobile tracking apps and medical drones. In some countries radio, web solutions and apps are delivering education to students who would otherwise be cut off from school and across the continent businesses are redesigning their production lines to manufacture much needed ventilators, sanitizers and PPEs. As we rebuild and reshape our economies, innovation will be the game changer.

We are committed to leveraging our core capabilities to enable this process, underpinned by our core belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern, connected life and that connectivity can play a unifying role.

The COVID-19 pandemic as a global health and societal emergency requires effective and immediate action by governments, individuals and businesses. It is critical that we collectively respond with one unified voice and take the necessary measures to make a meaningful contribution to society.