MTN optimistic about Africa’s future growth

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Johannesburg.— Nine months after taking the reins as president and CEO of MTN, Rob Shuter remains confident of the future of the company and its opportunities across its 22 markets in the Middle East and Africa.

Addressing delegates at Deloitte’s yearly Africa Outlook conference, Shuter said there were more opportunities than challenges and that MTN was strategically positioned to leverage the potential prospects.

“This is a market of opportunity,” he said yesterday. This had followed MTN’s extensive strategy revision and a refocus on its core geographies, to lay the foundation to leverage the future opportunities through an enhanced six-pillar strategy.

He pointed to a phase of growth, with the markets in a “better state” than most, particularly in the three key targeted segments, namely consumer, enterprise and wholesale.

In the consumer market, the population of MTN’s key markets is expected to expand by 50-million to 700-million by 2020, which provides the group ample opportunity in a youthful demographic.

The current low levels of Internet adoption — at 20 percent to 30 percent in these markets — defined the markets, and while there was increasing mobile adoption from the youthful demographics, and subsequently increased adoption of digital services, voice still held many opportunities for the company.

As did improving macroeconomic conditions, with MTN seeing improvements across its three largest markets, namely Nigeria, South Africa and Iran, and Shuter remaining “quite positive” over the economic situation across the rest of its portfolio.

The group is also intensifying its focus on its other two, albeit smaller, markets of enterprise and wholesale. The size of the enterprise market is currently around R210-billion, with forecasts of 8% growth going forward. Trends in this increasingly mobile segment are marked by unified communications, rapid adoption of new technologies, the Internet of Things and a diversification of multinationals, nationals and small and medium-sized enterprises.

“It is a large market [offering] decent growth,” he added. The third area of opportunities is in the wholesale, telcos-for-telcos market, where MTN could leverage its existing infrastructure to provide services to fellow telecommunications companies.

“MTN is well positioned to take advantage of these opportunities,” Shuter commented, noting that the company had made good progress in recovering and turning around prospects in a difficult environment.

With a new strategy in play across all 22 operations, MTN expects to bolster its revenue from its consumer, enterprise and wholesale markets going forward.

The new Bright strategy builds on six strategic pillars — best customer experience; returns and efficiency focus; ignite commercial performance; growth through data and digital; hearts and minds; and technology excellence.

“Going forward, it is really [not only] about strategy, but also about vision, belief and purpose,” he concluded. — Reuter.

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