Chris Maroleng, Executive for Corporate Affairs at MTN Group has said that doing business with a social conscience is a recipe for commercial success in Africa.

“As a company which operates primarily in emerging markets, success is not merely measured in terms of how much money we make, but also the number of lives that we impact positively every day,” Maroleng said.

Maroleng’s remarks come as this week, MTN marks 15 years in the frontline of addressing socio-economic challenges across Africa and the Middle East, through its vehicle for corporate social investment, the MTN Foundation.

MTN formalised its commitment to invest in local communities in December 2001, with the launch of the first MTN Foundation in South Africa, officiated by the late President Nelson Mandela. Fifteen years later, MTN has 14 Foundations and functional corporate citizenship units across its global footprint.

Reflecting on MTN’s journey over the past two decades, Maroleng said that doing business in emerging markets is hard work, but in Africa and the Middle East, the task is both exciting and rewarding, adding that one of the lessons MTN has learnt over the years is that commercial success in Africa favours companies with a strong social purpose.

“The scale of opportunity in the markets in which we operate, matches the enormity of the prevailing socio-economic challenges, which companies must overcome in order to create sustainable shared value. If your business model is not geared towards addressing the day-to-day socio-economic needs of the people you provide services to, you are not likely to make the best of the potential which the market presents. It is for this reason that active corporate citizenship is embedded in MTN’s growth strategy and investment philosophy.

“As part of its corporate citizenship programme, MTN is heightening the execution of development projects across its footprint, as it prepares to celebrate 15 years of partnering with communities in various life-changing interventions across the areas of health, enterprise development and education, with a particular focus on the digitisation of learning and teaching.

“Whether it is facilitating economic freedom and curbing unemployment through economic development initiatives, ensuring children across our footprint are able to access quality education, or keeping our communities healthy, the work of the MTN Foundations is about contributing to the social development of each market. We understand that as a business, we can only thrive if the communities in which we operate, do too,” Maroleng added.

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