MTN still believes it has the ability to grow in tough African markets

Ralph Mupita, MTN Group President and CEO. Photo:File

Ralph Mupita, MTN Group President and CEO. Photo:File

Published May 2, 2024


MTN’s management believe they are well positioned to deliver on their growth ambitions over the medium term despite the tough environment that includes the devaluation of the Naira against the dollar, which in 2023 was the strongest headwind that the business faced.

This was according to the integrated annual report released on Tuesday, which showed that President and CEO Ralph Mupita’s executive pay fell by R5.1 million to R70.64m for the 2023 financial year, after the group’s earnings and profits dropped significantly due mainly to the massive devaluation of the Nigerian currency, and high inflation. In the 2021, he had received R84m.

He said in the report that a peak in the inflation cycle in some of the group’s markets, such as South Africa, Ghana and Uganda had been noted.

“We expect slowing inflation to be more supportive of our medium-term outlook,” he said.

He said they were optimistic that structural policy changes being in Nigeria would be positive for the country and the business in the medium to longer term.

From a geopolitical standpoint, they had seen a rise in tensions globally and in Africa in 2023. In addition to conflicts in Ukraine, Middle East and parts of West Africa, the crisis in Sudan deepened, and from a business perspective, this caused fuel shortages, power outages and disruptions to network availability in Sudan.

Led by MTN Ghana, the group would work to capture growth opportunities in its broader Markets portfolio by investing in connectivity and further developing platforms. For the fintech business, the priority was to drive the expansion of the ecosystem to support growth in usage and monetisation.

“Through focused commercial interventions and leveraging our distribution, we will accelerate the scaling of the business. More broadly within our portfolio, price optimisation and regulatory discussions regarding tariff increases remain ongoing priorities,” Mupita said.

Following the Mastercard agreement, more opportunities would be explored for other value enhancing partnerships and investments in the group’s platforms. “The ongoing efforts in our localisation programmes – particularly Ghana and Uganda – are also key to creating shared value,” he said.

MTN SA would focus on completing its network resilience programme to sustain improved network availability and quality. Further avenues to drive resilience and power efficiencies in the network would be explored.

The recovery profile of MTN SA’s Ebitda margin might slow in the short term due to these efforts, but with a keen focus on efficiencies, MTN SA would prioritise returning top-line growth and return the EBITDA margin to targeted medium-term ranges over time, said Mupita.

In 2023 MTN’s active data subscribers increased 9.3% to 149.7 million, data traffic increased by 26.3% to 14 737 petabytes. MoMo monthly active users increased by 5% to 72.5 million.