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MTN deepens its roots in Uganda as it restores 220 hectares of forest cover

MTN Uganda CEO Wim Vanhelleputte watering a mahogany tree replanted in Kyewaga forest (PHOTO /Courtesy).

ENTEBBE —MTN Uganda  has launched a nationwide forest restoration project to symbolise the deepening of its roots in Uganda, a country that has been home to the company since 1998.

Themed “Uganda is Home” this initiative is in preparation of MTN Uganda listing 20% of its shares on the Uganda Stock Exchange, an opportunity for Ugandans to own a part of the company.

Launched today at Kyewaga Central Forest Reserve in Entebbe, the MTN reforestation project, that is being undertaken in partnership with the National Forestry Authority, wiil see the company restore 220 hectares of forest cover in five Central Forest Reserves (CFRs) across the country.

These include Barifa CFR in Arua, Kagombe CFR in Kibaale, Jubiya CFR in Masaka and Ogera Hills CFR in Serere district. The month-long reforestation project will see 220 hectares of forest cover restored across the country, with every 10 hectares symbolizing one year of MTN’s existence in Uganda so far.

The MTN forest restoration project is the but one of the many initiatives that the company has undertaken over the years to strengthen its relationship with a country that it calls home. It is also a recommitment by the company to play its part in the development of its home, Uganda as envisaged by MTN’s business model that suggests that businesses can only thrive when the communities within which they operate are thriving.

NFA Executive Director Tom Obong Okello planting a tree in Kwewaga forest reserve (PHOTO /Courtesy)

To this effect, MTN has over the years made several Corporate Social Investments in areas of health, education, sports, music and arts among others as a way of supporting communities to thrive in order to create a win-win situation for both the business as well as the citizens of Uganda through its corporate social responsibility arm, the MTN Foundation.

Key among MTN’s corporate social investments is the refurbishment and re-equipment of over 30 health center IIIs across the country to support the government’s strides towards the attainment of Sustainable Development Goal Number 3 which calls for health and well-being for all.

Furthermore, through the MTN Kampala Marathon, the company has been raised funds that have been sunk into health and wellness projects in various communities across the country for the last 17 years.

MTN has also worked with the PEAS (Promoting Equality in African Schools) organization to construct classroom blocks in 10 secondary schools located in hard-to-reach areas in order to champion access to affordable secondary school education.

This project alone created space for close to 2000 learners in the schools.

Most recently, MTN has been instrumental in complementing the government’s efforts towards combatting the spread of the deadly corona virus as well as supporting communities cope with the harsh effects of the pandemic.

MTN has so far injected over 2 billion shillings in the fight against Corona Virus in Uganda.

MTN donated 3 brand new pickups to the National Covid Task Force, partnered with National water and sewerage cooperation to provide clean safe water to the people in water hardened areas to promote hand-washing as a preventive measure towards the spread of the virus, partnered with the Uganda Red Cross Society to monitor SOPs in high traffic areas such as the national borders and markets among others.

These initiatives were further complemented by interventions such as the scrapping of MoMo transaction fees, supporting the ministry of health with its call-center infrastructure as well as zero-rating e-learning sites to enable students to carry on with their studies as schools were closed, among others.

Like the reforestation project, all the above activities demonstrate MTN’s long-term commitment as a responsible corporate citizen in Uganda over the years.

Speaking at the forest restoration launch today at the Kyewaga Central Forest Reserve in Entebbe, where MTN restored the first 20 hectares of forest cover, Wim Vanhelleputte, the MTN Chief Executive Officer said that MTN Uganda has over the years established its roots in Uganda and that the reforestation project was purely a symbolism of the company deepening its roots in a country that has become home in preparation of MTN Uganda listing 20% of its shares on the Uganda Stock Exchange.

“When the government of Uganda granted us our second operating license in 2020, part of the agreements was that MTN would list on the Uganda Securities Exchange by 2022. To MTN , this is a very welcome step because listing on the Uganda Securities Exchange means that Ugandans will also now share a part of the company.

He further noted that Uganda has been and continues to be a good home to MTN. It is for this reason that MTN has closely worked with the government to complement its efforts in various sectors such as Health, Education, Youth Skilling and ICT, among others.

In his remarks, Tom Obong Okello, the Executive Director of the National Forestry Authority lauded MTN for supporting the government in reinstating forest coverage in the country.

“This is one of the single biggest investments into the sector by any corporate organization so far, we are certain of the tremendous positive impact on the local communities and the entire country”, said Okello.

The “Uganda is Home” campaign comes shortly after MTN Uganda hit a milestone of 15 million subscribers, further deepening its roots in the country as the leading telecom company of choice.

MTN is committed to investing further to serve its ever-growing customer base diligently and to supporting the government’s efforts towards the socio-economic development of the Uganda.

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