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Interview With MTN Uganda CEO, Wim Vanhelleputte on the Telco’s Corporate Social Responsibility

MTN believes that businesses can only thrive when the communities within which they work are equally thriving, thus the need for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

In an interview with Mr. Wim Vanhelleputte, the Chief Executive Officer of MTN Uganda as he briefly explains why MTN Uganda is involved in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), MTN believes that businesses can only thrive when the communities within which they work are equally thriving, thus the need for CSR

What is MTN’s rationale for taking part in Corporate Social Responsibility?

At MTN we have a vision to provide a modern connected digital life to every customer. However, we understand that as a business, MTN can only flourish when the communities and ecosystems in which it operates are healthy. In all we do, we strive to leverage our core capabilities to enable the socio-economic development of the communities within which we operate.

I think as CSR as a win- win. It is a big win for the company and even a bigger win for the community.

How does MTN execute its CSR?

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CSR is fully embedded in our overall strategy. Every year we donate a certain percentage of our profits through the MTN Foundation. The money is dedicated to improving the lives of people in the communities in the most pressing areas of education, health and national priority areas such as youth empowerment among others.

We endeavour to maintain an emphasis on addressing National priority areas aligned with the National Development Plan of each of our markets. This is why we have strong working partnerships with the health and education sectors, and it is also the reason why we are always quick to come in when there are natural disasters.

About the MTN Kampala Marathon, its proceedings are know for going towards different charities, briefly elaborate on this.

The idea of the MTN marathon has really been about mobilising the population and other corporate bodies to rally together behind specific causes that require urgent attention in our communities. It has helped us draw attention to very important issues in the community such as maternal health, basic needs like water in some parts of the country.

We take pride in our association with partners like Stanbic Bank, New Vision, Huawei and Rwenzori among others who donate selflessly towards the marathon and to all the participants who take part in the event to make a difference in people’s lives. We believe that our vision to build sustainable societies can be achieved through partnerships and collaboration, helping in the realisation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Why is MTN passionate about giving back to the communities?

As explained in the beginning, MTN Uganda can only flourish when the communities and ecosystems in which it operates are healthy. In all we do, we strive to leverage our core capabilities to enable the socio-economic development of the communities within which we operate. The MTN Marathon is just one tool through which we make our contribution. We also have a foundation whose focus is to carry out our CSI agenda and through it we have been able to do a lot in the community.

Since it is part of MTN’s vision, we expect to see more MTN Initiatives in the community. Briefly tell us about the future of MTN CSR

Definitely just like we have a business plan, we have a solid plan for our CSR. As the communities we work with advance, their needs also evolve. Our CSI program currently focuses on National Priority Areas (Education, Health, women empowerment, disaster relief) and Employee volunteerism and more recently we are adding youth empowerment to the agenda. This will focus on empowering them with the relevant skills required in the current times so as to systematically address job creation, enhance competitiveness and drive inclusive growth.

About adding youth empowerment to your agenda, why particularly them?

Youth account for over 60% of the population across our markets. If we can address the issue of job creation in youths and enable them to be contributors to the growth of their country, this will drive inclusive growth as well as positively impact communities standards of living. This strategic move is to really unlock the potential of youths in building the economy.

Your final remarks to the public regarding giving back to the community?

I thank everybody out there, whether individual or organisation that give back and support communities. Development in any form is not a preserve of the government. It is a collective effort that everybody should get involved in in their own little way. As MTN we strongly believe that we are good together because, that way we can achieve a lot more.

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