Lagos – MTN, the mobile network operator, and Jumia, Nigeria’s leading online shopping site, have partnered for a first-of-its-kind competition that is envisaged to build a stronger and more sustainable business environment across Africa.
Launched on Tuesday morning, the pan-African competition brings together over 1 000 entrepreneurs, students and investors, to collaborate on ways to amplify and consolidate the continent’s entrepreneurs.
Targeting more than 60 universities in 13 countries across Africa, the competition will challenge students to develop a unique digital application or smart solution that would ill solve tangible problems faced on the continent.
MTN’s Group Chief Digital Officer, Herman Singh, said the Entrepreneurship Challenge was aligned to MTN’s own entrepreneurial culture and history as well as our values as a business.
“We believe inspiration of new business leaders in Africa and their enablement to success, will be key drivers for the future rapid evolution of a broader start-up culture on the continent.
This is an environment already teeming with excellent potential and we hope to assist in accelerating its further growth and to raise MTN’s role in creating new businesses in Africa,” said Singh.
Bankole Cardoso, Head of Communications at Jumia, said the competition would contribute to building a stronger and more sustainable business environment across Africa.
“Its main goal is to boost and fuel African entrepreneurship by enabling young and smart entrepreneurs to kick off with their own projects. The key for us is to give full and adapted support to young talents, from funding to mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs,” Cardoso said.
The winner of the MTN Entrepreneurship Challenge powered by Jumia will win a cash prize of US$25 000 towards their start-up, and will also benefit from a yearlong partnership with Jumia.
The winner will also have access to a Facebook Start Program to the value of $15 000, which includes tools and services needed to build mobile applications.
In addition, they will have the opportunity to work from the MTN Solution Space at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business.
The two runners-up will each receive $5 000 towards their projects.
Applications for the first round of the multi-phased competition are open from today and will close on March 27.
The finalists will be announced on April 16.
Partnerships between companies, communities, government and nongovernmental organisations are necessary to enable the efficient recycling of electronic waste (e-waste) throughout Africa, says Ericsson sub-Saharan Africa head Fredrik Jejdling.
Ericsson has piloted a partnership model for e-waste collection in Benin with African cellular major MTN, which resulted in the establishment of a collection depot with a 20-foot container. Ericsson has a producer responsibility under the European Union Waste of Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (EU WEEE Directive) to ensure that 75% of materials be recovered from all e-waste collected. “Though the EU WEEE Directive stipulates 75%, Ericsson has an internal target of ensuring 95% of useable materials are recovered from e-waste collected.
This initiative to encourage proper recycling is part of our global Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility strategy. Our equipment is present in cellular towers, on rooftops, in industries and in people’s hands across the continent. “However, Africa is vast and markets widely spaced, requiring partnerships to enable efficient collection of e-waste. The problem is lower volumes across a larger geography than is the case in, for example, Europe,” Jejdling explains.
The partnership with MTN in Benin allows for e-waste to be transported, using routine field services, to the collection container in the city centre of Porto Novo from where it can be efficiently transported for processing. The e-waste is sent to a South African processing plant, after which it is shipped to Ericsson’s Europe-based recycler. At the recycler, all the recoverable metals and minerals, and hazardous substances or minerals are removed. The metals and minerals are sold on the exchange market, while the hazardous materials treated. Ericsson is assessing how it can broaden this model of e-waste recycling to other parts of Africa, specifically through partnerships. “We aim to extend our partnership with MTN in the other countries in which they operate, and we might also partner with other operators in this region to increase the scale of the initiative. We would love to bring the concept to South Africa,” he adds.
However, Jejdling says all these initiatives depend on local capacity, including willing partners, and the ability to meet best practice health and safety standards with regard to e-waste handling. Ericsson encourages other service providers and organisations, as well as companies that operate supply chains that can be used to transport consumer goods e-waste to the collection site to join the initiative.
Source: Engineering News
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MTN Group’s efforts to advance social development in its markets through the integration of sustainable business practices into day-to-day activities, is yielding positive outcomes, according to the company.
The company’s Sustainability Report for the year ended 31 December 2014 was released on 26 March 2015 and details how MTN’s voice and data products and services are creating sustainable economic value in its markets.
MTN Group President and CEO, Sifiso Dabengwa, states in the report that a concerted effort is being made to adapt the business in order to enable digital innovation to drive socio-economic change. “The ubiquitous availability of mobile devices means people can now drive digital innovation from anywhere in the world. This level of transformation demands a shift in thinking, a change in traditional ways of working and delivering services,” he said.
For its part, MTN has made significant developments in enabling digital inclusion and access to basic financial, m-health and m-insurance services across MTN’s markets. In this regard, 1,9 million affordable handsets were made available to customers, and 4 000 farmers received payment for cotton produce via MTN Mobile Money in 2014. In Nigeria, MTN offers Y’ello Life insurance for affordable cover to individuals and Y’ello Biz for easily accessible small business insurance protection, while m-health services are available in in Afghanistan, Cameroon, Ghana, Rwanda, Uganda, South Africa, Yemen and Zambia.
Also contained in the report is information on how MTN is contributing to sustainable societies by ensuring safe and healthy living and working environments for employees, customers, communities and operations, as well as the strides made by MTN towards becoming a more eco-responsible business.
To this end, the company reduced and avoided more than 29 000 tonnes of greenhouse gases in 2014, which is the equivalent of taking 3 249 diesel cars off the road for one year. The report states that in the year, MTN realised R49,6 million savings from energy efficiency and green energy investments. In addition, 326 tonnes of electronic and electrical waste was handed over to small and medium sized e-waste handlers and recyclers.
Dabengwa states that while progress has been made, the company has a long way to go before comfortably addressing all of its material sustainability prerogatives, and MTN will continue to focus on these.
“We will continue to improve our environmental governance and management efforts to mitigate our physical, financial and regulatory risks and impact. We also want to further invest in digital skills development to improve our technical capabilities for more accessible, affordable and quality communications for our customers. Business partnerships remain a critical element of ensuring we can have a positive impact around scale and scope, and to extend the benefits of the digital society to all sectors,” he said.
The full MTN Group Limited Annual Sustainability Report for 2014 is available on www.MTN.com
Source: IT News Africa
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