Rural women picked up by MTN Nigeria

The Nigerian cellco intends to employ women from rural areas to establish local community-centric retail outlets that resell telephony services, offering, it claims, agrarian communities with little or no telephone access the opportunity to use mobile phone services at an affordable price.

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By  Christopher Reynolds Published  February 28, 2007

Nigerian cellco MTN Nigeria, a part of South Africa’s MTN Group, is set to implement a project with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) that will create over 1,000 jobs for rural women. The Nigerian market leader intends to employ women from rural areas to establish local community-centric retail outlets that resell telephony services, offering, it claims, agrarian communities with little or no telephone access the opportunity to use mobile phone services at an affordable price. “We are optimistic that this partnership with IFC and rural based women will have sustainable development impact by leveraging the strengths of all stakeholders,” said Amina Oyagbola, MTN Nigeria Foundation executive director. The IFC plans to work with the U.S. Trade and Development Agency in order to export the telephony project to underdeveloped markets in three other countries. MTN Nigeria became an IFC client in 2001 and has previously cooperated with the corporation on guiding and implementing its community HIV/AIDS awareness programme, which began in 2004 and is ongoing. The IFC also provided the cellco with US$135 million to support the deployment of its GSM operations across Nigeria. “IFC has a successful track record of helping clients to empower local communities by linking them to their supply chains. This is part of the added value that we bring to our clients,” said Bernard Chidzero, IFC general manager for Private Enterprise Partnership Africa. MTN Nigeria launched commercial operations in 2001 and to date has invested around US$1.8 billion in Nigeria’s telecommunications infrastructure, proving GSM coverage across 223 cities and towns and more than 10,000 villages.

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