Gearing Up for Growth - Reducing Poverty Part Two

African mobile operators certainly have paved the way for further business development across industries both at corporate and SME level, the infrastructure and services provided have clearly been successful in its own way, however have also provided opportunities for new and existing businesses to develop and transform the way business is conducted in both urban and rural areas.

Some of the success stories are as follows:

Rural Distribution model

Celtel were empowering and making life better for every Nigerian by making their products and services readily available, accessible and affordable to Nigerians everywhere they live and work. From the heart of rural communities to the fringes of Nigeria, they want everyone that wants to communicate to be able to do so conveniently, easily, timely and cost effectively. They want their products and services to be within ‘arms length’ of every Celtel existing and potential customer. They strengthen the vital links or connections they have built with the communities they serve. Celtel sees itself as a development partner with these communities. They have invested heavily in these communities by deploying their infrastructure such as base stations and thus stimulating economic development and growth through the provision of communication service. It is a well documented fact that every naira or dollar invested in telecom business leads to at least a fivefold growth in the local economy. This partnership has resulted in the creation of many job opportunities in several communities. Under this new initiative,the partnership with the rural communities will extend beyond business to the actual ownership of and responsibility for our network facilities, which otherwise are suffering from vandalism and other forms of criminal attacks by nefarious elements in most parts of the country. But the project had not just delivered results for Celtel and the Nigerian Government – it had also impacted the lives of individual AD franchisees and their local communities. On average each franchisee employed five local people, generating local employment and improving the livelihoods of local families.

One Network

Is a key enabler of economic growth encouraging small and medium scale enterprises and individual traders as well as keeping friends and families connected? To more easily expand into new markets. Allowing travelers - and crucially, traders - to move across borders without incurring roaming call surcharges, this service is available to 500mn people (50) per cent of the continent’s population) and has conclusively demonstrated that Africa can lead the way when it comes to innovation, thereby helping to break down stereotypes of Africa as a place to do business.

Mobile communications are being used to help improve food production, and to gain vital information about where to find water and pasturage.

African Millennium Village

The Millennium Village Projects. Millennium Villages (MVs) are based on the idea that impoverished villages can transform themselves if they are empowered with proven, powerful, practical technologies. That transformation is made possible by investing in health, food production, education, and access to clean water and essential infrastructure. The concept of MVs was developed in a joint partnership between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and a team at the Earth Institute at Columbia University led by Jeffrey Sachs. To date a total of 14 villages have been nominated in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda. Sach’s vision included partnering with some of the world’s biggest corporates, including Sumitomo Chemical for anti-malarial bednets; Novartis for anti-malarial medicines; PMG for financial services; Becton, Dickinson for medical supplies; Monsanto for high-yield seeds; Yara for fertilisers; General Electric for surgical equipment; and Ericsson and networks like Zain for internet and mobile connectivity. The Regions in which the MVs are located each represent one of the agro-ecological zones of sub-Saharan Africa in order that lessons can be learned from the various environmental conditions. These agro-ecological zones are representative of 93 per cent of the agricultural land area in sub-Saharan Africa and the homes of 90 per cent of the continent’s rural population. Additionally, each Millennium Village is located in a hunger hotspot with high rates of rural poverty, as identified by the UN Millennium Project. Mobilizing investment of just US$120 per villager per year over a five year period US$60 per villager from external donors such as the corporates listed above; US$30 from host governments; a US$10 commitment from the community itself (in kind); and US$20 from other partners including NGOs – MV’s are designed to kick start development and make a real difference to the quality of life for villagers.

Transformation is made possible by Investing in health, food Production, Education, and access to clean water and Essential infrastructure.



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Lars Stork
Managing Director
FutureAfrica offers business modeling and business transformation services for organizations, companies and businesses who want to invest in Africa.

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Tags: business, development, distribution, infrastructure, mobile, model, operators, services, transformation

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