by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG – THE MTN Group is entering the third chapter of its business evolution, with an eye on opportunities in the financial services sector.
The third stage encompasses the ultimate goal of promoting and driving financial inclusivity on the African continent.
Ralph Mupita, MTN Group President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), said the company is in the process of spinning off its finance technology (fintech) division separately and will be looking to bring in strategic investors into the entity to bolster its expansion in the fintech space.
This is anticipated to consolidate its business model and move towards solidifying MTN’s position as a truly pan-African company.
The drive comes after late March when the telecommunications network provider overtook, rival, M-Pesa to become the continent’s largest mobile payments provider.
Furthering his point on MTN’s single-minded focus on the African continent, Mupita noted the Group has dialed back its interests in the Middle East.
This is in order to simplify the operations and allocate MTN human and capital resources to leverage the opportunities in the continent and produce profitable returns in the long-term.
“We cannot leave people behind,” said Mupita.
“We are very determined to deepen digital and financial inclusion across Africa,” said Mupita.
He believes Africa has an opportunity to leap-frog economically by leveraging digital infrastructure and services to drive social-economic growth.
Mupita noted the positive impact that mobile money made in countries like Ghana and Uganda.
Opportunities have been explored in Nigeria where MTN recently secured a Payments Services Banking licence.
“MTN is entering a ‘third chapter’ of growth,” Mupita reiterated.
In its formative years post-democracy in South Africa, MTN established itself as a voice-centered network and expanded into new markets such as Rwanda and Uganda.
In its “second chapter” around 2008, it transitioned into the data services space, driven by the emergence of smartphones.
On the emergence of 5G technology, Mupita mentioned examples of machine-to-machine communication.
This is already in existence in the mining sector, where MTN has partnered in the development of driverless vehicles in open-cast mining pits in South Africa.
“Driverless vehicles for consumers may not be such a far-off reality,” Mupita said.
“We’re seeing use cases developing for 5G for mining, ports, manufacturing and other industrial applications around the continent,” Mupita said.
The executive concluded that as MTN continues to invest in the development of African infrastructure for African society, the company was making a significant contribution to these kinds of new digital technologies.
“Africa will surprise on 5G,” he said.
– CAJ News