Why 2023 has been a significant year for MTN Rwanda

Saturday December 30 2023
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Officials pose for a picture with President Paul Kagame (C) during MTN Rwanda's 25th anniversary celebration in Rusororo, Rwanda on October 18, 2023. PHOTO | COURTESY


Year 2023 was significant for MTN Rwandacell PLC. The mobile telecommunication company, more popular as MTN Rwanda, registered two notable milestones that it cleverly tied together to achieve a vital impact on the Rwandan society.

The year signified MTN Rwanda’s 25th anniversary. Importantly, the celebration went beyond the usual feel-good ceremonies. MTN Rwanda chose to instead up its climate action, affirming its commitment to not only serve the Rwandan population with modern telecommunication solutions, but to also contribute in major ways, to mitigating climate change effects in the country.

Thus, in November 2023, MTN Rwanda planted 25,000 trees in Nyarugenge District alone, in line with its “25,000 Trees for 25 Years” environmental initiative that aims to support a greener future in Rwanda in addition to preserving the country’s natural beauty.

The November action followed the initial phase of the project in September, when the company started off with planting 2,500 trees in Huye District, before adding another 22,500 in Kanyinya Sector in Nyarugenge District.

This drive has involved the company planting trees that are indigenous to specific ecological environments, ensuring their sustainability. It does so in collaboration with relevant government institutions, such as Rwanda Forest Authority and Rwanda Environment Management Authority.

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People take part in MTN Rwanda's tree planting exercise in November 2023. PHOTO | COURTESY


Speaking about the project in November, MTN General Manager for Corporate Affairs and Company Secretary Sharom Mzimhaka, said: “This initiative reflects our belief in businesses’ crucial role in addressing global challenges and leaving a lasting positive impact. As we celebrate our 25th anniversary, we express gratitude to the Government of Rwanda, our employees, customers, and partners. Together, we will strive for innovation and sustainability, contributing to Rwanda’s progress.”

The 25,000 Trees for 25 Years initiative is part of MTN’s Project Zero, which is an aspect of the broader Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) sustainability agenda that includes measures to reduce the company’s carbon footprint, enhance its energy efficiency, promote responsible e-waste management, and contribute to social development initiatives within Rwanda. 

Since the launch of MTN Project Zero in 2021, MTN Rwanda has exchanged 23 percent of its fleet for hybrid electric vehicles, and initiated a solar panel pilot at one of its data centres, aligning with the broader MTN Group’s goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2040.

The company’s actions are in line with Rwanda’s strive towards building a developed, low-carbon nation by 2050, where the government and its partners are working hard to strengthen the country’s resilience to climate change by fostering green growth, improving air pollution, and enhancing environmental education and mainstreaming programmes. 

As one of the leading corporate entities in the country, MTN Rwanda today leads private companies that are working hand-in-hand with the government and civil society organisations on a range of initiatives – from forest management to e-waste recycling and solid waste handling. It further invites other organisations and individuals to join in their ESG-driven environmental sustainability commitment and collective action geared towards protecting Rwanda’s natural heritage for future generations.

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People pose for a picture after taking part in MTN Rwanda's environmental sustainability exercise. PHOTO | COURTESY

MTN Rwanda is also a major participant in Rwanda’s National Community Service Day, locally known as Umugunda.

Among its prominent initiatives in this respect is the March 2023 commitment of RWF50 million towards the construction of a public garden in Kabeza Cell in Kicukiro District, to add to environmental protection.

The company has also partnered with several schools to instil a culture of environmental consciousness from early ages, through an initiative it launched in March known as “Green Ambassadors”. The schools the company has so far partnered with include Lycee de Kigali, Green Hill Academy, King David Academy, Gashora Girls Academy, and Excella School. The programme builds upon existing environmental clubs in schools, to sensitise students on environmental matters and related concerns, including climate change.

Having made its entry in 1998, MTN Rwanda is the market leader in mobile telecommunications in Rwanda, where it has continuously invested in expanding and modernising its network and leading digital solutions for the country’s progress. 

As the country’s number one network, and in line with connecting the masses, MTN Rwanda offers diverse services to subscribers, including innovative propositions such as personalised voice and data offers for individuals and corporates. The company has a clear vision to lead the delivery of a bold, new digital world to customers due to its belief in how everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life.