MTN South Africa said it contributes R76-billion ($918.5 million), 17 times its profit, to South Africa’s economy.
This is one of the main findings of a new True Value Assessment Report the mobile operator released on Friday.
The “true value” metric stems from a methodology devised by consulting firm KPMG, which MTN partnered with in an effort to quantify its overall socioeconomic and environmental impact on South Africa.
“Our contribution has a direct impact on the South African ICT sector, resulting in an employment multiplier effect within the sector and other sectors like wholesale and retail,” MTN South Africa CEO Charles Molapisi said at a press conference to announce the findings.
Molapisi said the true value metric can serve as a bridge in discussions between government and big business on matters relating to corporate social responsibility and economic development. He also challenged other corporate entities to focus on their social impact over and above the bottom line.
Gauteng MEC for economic development Tasneem Motara highlighted the growth opportunity that having a hard metric like true value could have on the operator if it used well. “The base [metric] will allow MTN to see what it needs to [do to] meet policy imperatives and bring government and the private sector closer together, lubricating what is traditionally an adversarial relationship,” she said.
University of the Free State chancellor Prof Bonang Mohale, who was also part of a panel discussion, challenged MTN, and big business as a whole, to interrogate the meaning of their “impact” in the context of South Africa’s socioeconomic problems. He added that more deliberate, direct action is required to address the problems the country is faced with.
“To fundamentally change the system of economy, you and I must intervene,” Mohale said.
The true value assessment looked across MTN’s operations, including connectivity, mobile money and corporate social responsibility initiatives.