WITH the December 7th elections drawing near, the Electoral Commission of Ghana yesterday received a welcome donation from telecommunications giant MTN of phone services and products to facilitate a smooth course towards voting day.
In total, the company contributed handsets, airtime, SIM kits, and a Closed User Group Facility, which is typically made available to corporate clients only.
As well, they offered modems and bulk SMS message plans in order to facilitate cost-effective mobile phone calls between electoral officials across the country. The value of the contribution comes to over GHC 239,000.
"Elections are, without a doubt, critical to sustaining an enabling environment in pursuance of national development,' the company said in a statement.
'We at MTN, like everyone else, are desirous to support peaceful elections and are especially eager to support the efforts all are making to help deepen the democracy and good governance in this country during this election year.'
MTN, an African multinational company from South Africa, believes they have a strong sense of responsibility to support such institutions in the interest of the development of the continent. Africa is the fastest-growing mobile phone market in the world.
The company has proactively pursued various avenues to support development through key aspects of
In the span of one and a half years, they have made significant investments in telecommunications infrastructure - more than doubling the capital expenditure made in the previous ten years - and increased the number of base stations by over 150%.
This is not their first foray into the advancement of Ghana's development. MTN has also donated, through their Health Flagship Launch, USD$600,000 to the Korle Bu Maternity Ward.
Altogether, they have given more than USD$140,000 across the country to various health, sanitation and education-related programs
They are also in the process of launching their Education Flagship Project within the next month in partnership with the UNDP and the Ministry of Education, with initial costs expecting to reach upwards of USD$600,000.
MTN has also sponsored events such as the African Cup of Nations, the African Union Conference and the UNCTAD Conference, and are one of the official sponsors of World Cup 2010, to be held in South Africa.
Only companies that are 75% or more Ghanaian-owned are legally allowed to make donations to political parties, leaving MTN looking to find an alternate manner of supporting the country"s elections.
They made the decision to pursue an apolitical strategy and support the Electoral Commission directly. This is in specific response to a request made by the EC for some level of communications support.
They are also working with the Electoral Commission to deploy mobile telecom cell sites, which at present is a technology that only MTN has brought into the country.
The company have made it available to the highly populated electoral areas for anticipated additional capacity requirements.
As a result of being an industry leader in the telecommunications industry, MTN believes that their contribution will demonstrate how they appreciate the additional responsibility they have to make their telecommunications infrastructure available to all Ghanaians in support of peaceful and successful elections.