…To spend over K1 Billion in infrastructure projects
Vice President Saulos Chilima Friday launched a unique Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative by Malawi’s pioneer mobile network service provider TNM Plc dubbed ‘Mudzi Wathu’, an initiative aiming to develop communities and grow local economies using a portion of proceeds from TNM’s mobile network technology platform.
Through Mudzi Wathu (#Umodzi Umodzi Unamanga Mtolo), TNM plc aims to increase availability of mobile telecommunication network services nationally, with a deliberate focus on rural areas.
TNM plc expects to give back over K1 billion or one percent (1%) of its accruing annual revenue forecast towards community development projects of the people’s choice every 12 months.
As part of the initiative, TNM is launching an offer of low-cost 2G-enabled handsets available in flexible instalments with an initial deposit. The phones will provide voice (GSM), SMS, limited internet and mobile money (Mpamba) among other services.
Speaking at the launch at Dowa Community Centre Ground, TNM plc Chief Executive Officer Arnold M’bwana said ‘Mudzi Wathu’ aims to apply mobile technology as the catalyst for economic development.
“This initiative is a continuation of TNM’s commitment to accelerate network penetration nationwide, ensuring that people in rural and urban enjoy seamless connectivity at the same time,” said Mbwana.
He said in return for the partnerships that Mudzi Wathu will forge with people at community and national level, TNM plc will pay back 1% of its revenue generated from network usage towards development projects of people’s choice in the community.
“Over a period of 12 months, TNM plc expects this 1% contribution to exceed over MWK1 Billion and believes it will continue to grow as more Malawians join TNM plc in this noble initiative to build Malawi by connecting the unconnected.”
“Mudzi Wathu will go a long way to cement TNM’s purpose of connecting society, creating possibilities and changing lives demonstrated through its long history of connecting Malawians and solid Corporate Social Responsibility in the community. The underlying philosophy is to connect every Malawian and apply mobile technology as a means for fulfilling people’s development dreams regardless of geographical position or endowment,” said Mbwana.
Through Mudzi Wathu TNM also aims to contribute towards job creation by recruiting community leaders such chiefs, counsellors, and their subjects to serve as dealers and agents for airtime and Mpamba in their respective areas of residence.
“In return, this will improve availability of TNM products and services across the various communities in the country,” said Mbwana.
Vice President Chilima commended TNM for pioneering efforts aimed at contributing to the country’s economic growth and financial inclusion using mobile technology, and for introducing a participatory rural development model which he said demonstrated TNM’s commitment towards responsible business practice.
He said studies done by the GSMA have shown that an increase in mobile network penetration of every 10 percent has a resultant GDP growth of about 4 percent, a target he challenged TNM plc to achieve as Malawi remained a virgin territory for telecommunications coverage.
“Malawi still lags behind at 48% in terms of mobile phone penetration, compared to most countries which are at 90%. This leaves room for growth and an opportunity for TNM plc to challenge the market. In as far as increasing penetration is concerned, Mudzi Wathu presents that opportunity for TNM plc to grow as a business and in return to help increase government’s tax revenue,” he said.
Chilima said to reciprocate TNM’s gesture, government was reviewing the corresponding regulatory and tax framework with the objective of supporting mobile telecommunication and ICT operators to contribute effectively to development and the information economy.
“As government, we will review the regulatory and tax framework to ensure that it supports the vision of companies like TNM plc. We will also borrow a leaf from the approach TNM plc has taken to ensure that we embed these ideas in our development agenda,” he said.
Under Mudzi Wathu, TNM will use its own customer databases to monitor usage and aggregate revenue to be shared for community development.
“Government of Malawi welcomes Mudzi Wathu as a vehicle to complement efforts to give communities sustainable development projects. Through this initiative, TNM will deploy its technological capabilities to contribute towards the vision of Malawi attaining the middle-income status by 2063,” said the Vice President.