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MTN, MultiChoice helping to ‘change the world’

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South African multinationals MTN and MultiChoice have been recognised for addressing social problems as part of their business strategy, in this year’s Fortune Change the World list.

The annual list ranks the top 53 global companies that make noticeable progress in addressing crucial social challenges as part of their business master plan.

Eligible businesses are nominated and ranked based on a range of issues − including the reach of the company’s impact on societal challenges and the innovations it developed to expand impact.

Fortune Magazine, which publishes the Change the World list, notes that many of this year’s honourees “are battling to reverse the neglect of some societal needs, as magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic”.

These companies, it says, are investing in the long-term health of their businesses by supporting those on the lower stages of the global economic ladder, including distributing COVID-19 vaccines in low- and middle-income nations.

MTN Group and MultiChoice Group are the only two South African entities featuring on the 2021 Fortune Change the World list, joining leading global brands such Airbnb and HP.

“MTN is humbled to be recognised on the Fortune Change the World list. We are committed to changing the world through meaningful contributions to the societies across the markets in which we operate,” says MTN Group president and CEO Ralph Mupita.

“Our networks, products and services are supplied with the intention of closing the digital divide by facilitating digital communications and financial inclusion.”

For Pan-African mobile operator MTN, since the start of the pandemic, it committed to playing a part in the ongoing fight against COVID-19 through its global mask-wearing awareness campaigns #wearitforme and #onemorepushafrica.

MTN also donated $25 million (R373 million) to support the African Union’s COVID-19 vaccination programme. The donation to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention was meant to help secure up to seven million doses of the vaccine for health workers on the continent.

Further, the telco says, it was able to address gaps in connectivity by improving the affordability of its services, while providing digital and financial solutions to consumers and businesses, and helping to drive digital inclusion to the most vulnerable and marginalised communities on the African continent.

Similarly, MultiChoice, the continental pay-TV group, implemented various initiatives in its markets to fight the spread of COVID-19.

In March 2020, the company, through DStv, offered 14 news channels dedicated to COVID-19, in an effort to help stop the spread of the virus.

In SA, MultiChoice set aside R80 million to ensure production companies were able to pay full salaries of cast, crew and creatives at the height of COVID-19-induced lockdown.

Through the MultiChoice Talent Factory, the pay-TV group launched an online learning portal that supported over 40 000 members of the industry to gain access to courses and online master classes.

This, the company said, was intended to help creative industry members continue to hone their craft, while adhering to the public health measures of social distancing and isolation.

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