MTN recognised at Nedbank Sustainable Business Awards

MTN and Fenix International have been recognised at the Nedbank Sustainable Business Awards for a solar charging solution that’s improving the lives of communities without access to electricity and financial services in Uganda and Rwanda.

The awards, held in Johannesburg last night, acknowledge businesses that create long-term value for themselves, society, the environment and their stakeholders.

MTN and Fenix were awarded in the Trade and Services category, for the ReadySet and ReadyPay Solar-powered charging solutions.

“We are honoured to have been acknowledged for the ReadySet and ReadyPay solutions, through our partnership with Fenix International. This initiative is part of ongoing efforts to find mobile solutions which address daily challenges facing communities in our markets, while at the same time enabling them to improve their lives in an environmentally-friendly and sustainable manner,” says Chris Maroleng, Executive for MTN Group Corporate Affairs.

GSMA research indicates that more than 500 million mobile users in Africa are not on the energy grid, and that the provision of affordable energy has been linked to improved communication. To this end, the MTN Fenix ReadySet solar charging solution and ReadyPay pay-as-you-go solution are geared towards providing affordable energy to communities.

ReadySet and ReadyPay were launched in Uganda and Rwanda in 2013, following four years of extensive testing during the pilot phase by MTN Uganda. The solutions were developed against the backdrop of energy poverty and the reality of the high costs and lack of accessibility of digital services in emerging markets.

Maroleng says the initiative provides a solution that is affordable, environmentally responsible and safe. He adds that these solutions are greatly contributing to the socio-economic upliftment of customers and entrepreneurs in Uganda and Rwanda. Entrepreneurs are able to start their own small solar charging businesses, while entire communities can now charge their phones easily, enjoy safe lighting and other services. The solutions are also helping to reduce the costs of charging mobile phones and thus increasing access to telecommunications in these markets.

Research in Rwanda indicated that solar charging entrepreneurs can earn up to US$45 in monthly revenues from charging alone, while the costs for solar-powered charging and lighting has proven cost effective from US $0.39 per day. ReadySet and ReadyPay have provided over 800 000 phone charges, created or improved the economic returns of thousands of small enterprises, supported more than 20 000 mobile money transfers, allowed over 18 000 students to study safely for longer at night,  and resulted in an estimated 12.3 tonnes of avoided greenhouse gas emissions.

The recognition by the Nedbank Sustainable Business Awards comes on the back of another impressive feat for MTN’s sustainability efforts. In June this year, MTN was rated among the top 500 global companies on corporate sustainability and environmental impact in the 2014 

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