Good afternoon everybody. Let me thank the chairman of CNSSL, my friend Engr. Gbenga Adebayo and all of you for a very warm reception that I have been given today. I must say that listening to you and looking at your story, looking at the video, I must commend CNSSL. I think you have done extremely well. All of your core values, I heard you mention your values; we share a lot of them. There’s leadership, integrity, relationship, and innovation. But there’s one I think you have, but maybe you mention. It is called “CAN DO”, the spirit of succeeding against all odds.
I think in our country we have a lot of excuses for not achieving whatever we set out to achieve. But when I see what you have been able to achieve, I think that it’s a true story of ”CAN DO”, a true story of strong will, resilience, and being able to overcome all the challenges and building a world class company. I must commend you for the work you have done.
From all the support that you have been giving to MTN, I think it’s one thing t to say MTN define partners as another thing for partners to live up to our expectations; and we have very high expectations, I’m sure you have noticed. So I really want to thank you for all the support you have been giving to MTN.
In talking about customers, (because I see again whole issue about the passion of the customer) our business in MTN has grown over the years and I think it has become very clear to us as we have grown that we need to be clear on what we exist for.
What is our reason for existing?
In the early days when we talked about GSM and technology, we may have been mistaken to believe that we are just a technology company. I think over the years what has happened is that it has become very clear to us that we exist to give value to the customer. So last year we had a new mission. We designed a new mission for our organization and that mission is really to make the lives of our customers a whole lot brighter. We see the kind of service that we provide at the very heart of the customers existence.
Today in Nigeria, the only thing that competes for the kind of service that we provide is electricity and it is very erratic. The service we provide is at the very center of people’s lives and it is so important. I believe you see what is happening in our industry. Going forward we are thinking continuously of new ways by which we can make the lives of our customers brighter. So we have to come up with new products, new services, new solutions, new platforms, that we can continue to support our customers in different ways of their everyday lives. If we think about it, the very heart of a customer’s life today in Nigeria revolves around his phone. You can leave home without your car keys but you can’t leave home without your phone and it’s going to get even more exciting because we are going to be looking at newer ways by which we’ll make lives of our customers brighter.
We see our roles in three broad buckets. First is obviously affecting the lives of our customers. Second is transforming industries. We see that we have an opportunity to change a lot of industries and how things are being done. This is why I’m so excited about what you are doing with the BPO project.
Today, think about what we are doing in the music industry. We are transforming that industry. Artists used to release albums and never get the value of their labour. Today, by using digital platforms we are able to enable they get benefits for what they are doing. We are in a very interesting development cycle and we are going to continue thinking about newer and newer and more efficient ways to make our customers lives a lot brighter. We cannot do that alone. We need partners. We need reliable committed partners. We need partners that share that vision and passion that we have .
Let’s think about what the governor of Kwara state was saying. Recently there was an exercise on the rebasing of the GDP of the economy. What it came up with was that Telecoms was contributing about 9% of the GDP of the country. An economist asked me, “Do you think that it is correct?” And I said, “I don’t think that is correct because for 9%, it’s correct if you look at it form an output point of view. But if you look at the service that we provide and the productivity it enables people to have every day (you can pick your phone, transact businesses, and do everything with a lot more efficiency which you couldn’t have done before), the impact on the economy is a lot more significant.
If we constitute 9% of the GDP of this economy and look at the kind of service we provide, and the way we impact and touch people lives in so many ways that enable people to do things everyday on non-productivity, efficiency the economy, we are no longer just a company. We have become an intrinsic part of the social life of this country. We have started looking very closely again at our ecosystem. In that whole ecosystem, we have a lot of people like you guys and we can go on and on. If you look at the technology space we have the Ericson, Huawei, sub-contractors and we have companies that service those areas. On our dealer space we have about 81 trade partners. That whole space takes about a million people in terms of employment generation. So we can go on and on. So when we think about it, we are in a very exciting space.
We are MTN today and we are nothing without our partners. This whole ecosystem of people is the people that support us to be who we are. We are extremely proud to day to say as a company that we see ourselves as a critical agent of economic development because when we wake up every day we know that one way or the other we are impacting the lives of so many people. And to be honest with you, these stories are the things that make us very excited at MTN.
So I really want to thank you for the work you are doing and I hope that we can continue to build on this partnership. I think it’s really important that we work with people that share our passion. We are a very passionate company. We believe in doing the impossible. I am really proud and happy that today we didn’t have to go far. We have a home grown international company like CNSSL that is in partnership with MTN to make the lives of our customers a whole lot brighter. So I want to encourage you. Please whatever we do, let’s remember that we play a very important role.
The most important people in the company are the people who interface with customers. You are the people who interface with the customers at the point of brand impact, where customers can feel MTN. It’s you guys that do it for us.
So once again thank you very much and congratulations.