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MTN Push For Enterprise Development   
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Communications operator MTN is hoping to create a critical mass of small and rural enterprises to drive the economic growth of the country’s rural communities.

The new model dubbed ‘economic empowerment’, is an addition to the areas of focus of the MTN Ghana Foundation, which had already invested heavily in the areas of health and education. This latest addition to the areas of focus of the foundation’s activities is to help drive the growth of businesses in the informal sector and encourage sustainable enterprise development.

Speaking at an Editors forum in Accra, the Chief Executive of MTN Ghana, Mr Michael Ikpoki, said the country’s biggest telecom network operator has already invested some GH¢6.8 million in 47 projects across the country.

According to him, the telecom operator has since last year also set up the MTN Business Solution department to embark on a data revolution exercise aimed at helping small and medium sized companies to fully utilise its data services to improve their businesses. It was to give meaning to assisting Ghanaian businesses that the telecoms operator from 2011 started to source 15 out of its top 26 business partners in terms of procurement to local companies.

“MTN Ghana sources 100 per cent f its scratch card requirements locally and SIM cards are also 100 per cent locally packaged. The tender evaluation process for MTN Ghana includes a local content component under which vendors are given a five per cent weighted preferential scoring when they are locally based and demonstrate proven affinity to MTN Ghana business”, he said.

“MTN remains committed to being a relevant participant in the Ghanaian economy, providing world class telecommunication services and continually finding innovative ways to enrich the lives of our customers”, and “Out of the 10 per cent in government revenues, MTN contributed 6.9 per cent and also contributed five per cent of capex, and 1.4 per cent of the country’s GDP”, he boasted.

According to the MTN Ghana boss, even though Ghana remains one of the most competitive telecoms markets in Africa with a voice penetration close to saturation, market growth for voice services have slowed down while the data penetration is still low.

“We plan to provide our customers relevant data offers that will encourage users to take advantage of the benefits of data and the Internet in order to help propel Ghana into the digital age”, he said. MTN in May 2011 successfully landed a 14000 km WACS cable designed to provide 5.2 terabits per second internet speed to subscribers.

The WACS cable is expected to be commercially launched later this year to provide customers with exceptionally fast data performance, outstanding load speed and better experiences. “We have already invested over US$1.1 billion in our network since MTN took over and we will continue to make strategic network investments to enhance services to our customers”, Mr Ikpoki said.

But the company has faced some challenges which include persistent fiber cuts which affected network quality, increasing operating expenditure as a result of arbitrary operating fees charged by municipal and district assemblies, and frequent power outages which affect equipment.
Source: Daily Graphic

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