The Africa-America Institute (AAI) in New York, this week, presented MTN Group with its Corporate Social Responsibility Award.
With 272 million subscribers, Africa’s largest telecom company was honoured for transforming communications across the continent, bridging the digital gap, catalysing economic growth, and enhancing living standards.
On Tuesday, MTN Group president and CEO Ralph Mupita accepted the award on behalf of the company at AAI’s 70th Anniversary Gala.
“As Africa’s largest mobile network operator, MTN has contributed to a revolution in the way Africans communicate with each other and the world,” said Kofi Appenteng, president and CEO, AAI.
Mupita said he accepted the award on behalf of MTN’s more than 17 000 employees.
He added: “We are humbled by this recognition. We are also inspired and encouraged to continue to drive digital and financial inclusion and create shared value. We believe this work gives Africans dignity, hope, and opportunity.”
MTN said latest data from the GSMA and Broadband Commission shows that for every 10% increase in Internet use, GDP grows by an additional 1.5%. However, a third of the world’s population does not use the internet at all.
“These people are still not digitally connected and could well end up as a digital underclass,” said Mupita, adding that priority must be given to investments in digital infrastructure and services to avoid further inequality.
“We must ensure that as technologies, such as AI, develop, we also get large language models trained on African languages. Initiatives, such as conversational payments that are taking root in places like India, must come rapidly to Africa.”
MTN Group’s Chief Sustainability and Corporate Affairs officer Nompilo Morafo added: “Our business has always been about more than connectivity; it’s about empowering communities, driving inclusion, championing diversity, and ensuring that our operations leave a positive, lasting impact.”
The AAI is a 70-year-old organisation dedicated to fostering contact between Africa and America via education, training, and dialogue.
According to AAI, nearly 23,000 Africans have earned scholarships and fellowships since its inception in 1953.
Among the alumni are Namibian President Hage Geingob, Côte d’Ivoire President Alassane Ouattara, Niger President Mohamed Bazoum, and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.