Exclusive interview with Djibril Ouattara, CEO of MTN Côte d’Ivoire

Mr OUATTARA, you took office in November 2019. Can you share with us your actions which have favored your results obtained in 2020 during the Covid-19?

First of all, it must be said that it is the work and commitment of the whole team. I was very well received on my arrival and we immediately conducted a strategic reflection with all of the top management and middle management. At the end of this reflection, we have identified major initiatives for the year 2020. These so-called “BRIGH” initiatives have been managed as projects with at the head of project managers and committed sponsors in order to ensure their success. execution.

This is why we have been so effective despite the teleworking we entered into on March 20, 2020, and so far. Among these “BRIGHT” Initiatives, we can talk about the complete overhaul of the distribution network to make it more efficient with in particular the reduction of the number of levels of the distribution chain, the total responsibility of distributors in all our activities, and digitization. comprehensive interactions and performance monitoring.

On the marketing side, we have redesigned our value propositions by adapting offers and introducing others specific to certain segments of our customers. And of course, through our Y’ello Hope initiative, we have repositioned our brand as an innovative and reliable partner of communities and the state.

At the organizational level, we have redesigned a more agile structure so that MTNers and processes improve productivity and lead to reduced costs. For a good control of our costs, we have introduced the principle of Zero Base Budget resizing our costs by disregarding historical costs.

Finally, with the constraint of COVID, we have worked on the resilience of our network by accelerating certain investments, in particular to deploy 4.5G technology and finally to support the strong demand of the internet.

Since the beginning of this year 2021, Côte d’Ivoire has seen the transition from 08 to 10 digits of its telephone numbers. How did MTN CI facilitate this transition for its subscribers?

For us at MTN, the quality of the preparation, the commitment of teams from all departments, the involvement and support of the public authorities was a guarantee of success. And according to the regulator’s feedback, this was the case.

We set up a project team more than a year before this migration. This team worked very hard, were able to perform up to eight (08) “blank tests” before the effective date of the migration to ensure that everything will run under the best possible conditions.

In addition to this team, we worked with an international firm (among the Big 4) to support us and to “certify” in a way our strategy before and after migration.

On a more operational level, we have strengthened customer support by mobilizing all of its customer and technical management teams within an integrated support group in order to ensure speed in the handling and processing of feedback. clients.

With our regulator ARTCI, we have set up a mechanism to support the migration of customer directories by means of a free application and without data charges. For customers who did not have a Smartphone, the MTN Backup solution allowed them to back up their 8-digit phone book and then restore it in 10-digit number format.

Several tracker tools at our disposal have made it possible to know in real time the successful adoption of the new numbering plan and to initiate corrective actions if necessary. Finally, we used all our communication channels before and after with regard to customers to inform them (sms, Whatsapp, social networks

What was MTN CI’s contribution or contribution during the health crisis that occurred in March 2020?

Since the start of the pandemic, MTN has made a significant contribution to its customers, suppliers, employees and the state in limiting the spread of the disease, saving lives and securing livelihoods. in our territory. In 2020, through the “Y’ello Hope” initiative MTN CI came to support the government, communities and frontline actors in this humanitarian crisis.

MTN CI has thus supported the Ivorian government and the health services from the first hours of the fight against COVID 19 through an awareness caravan, awareness SMS, several donations of sanitary and telecom equipment, the provision of an application solution to limit the spread of Covid-19. Finally a call center for the “the right sound” campaign. In total, MTN has released overall support of more than CFAF 450 million to the various branches of the State.

In addition, with civil society, food and non-food donation campaigns have also been initiated for vulnerable populations in Abidjan and greater Abidjan. In September 2020 and for a whole month, through the hashtag #PorteLePourMoi, we launched a vast communication campaign in all our communication channels, on wearing a mask, which remains one of the most effective preventive measures to slow down the spread of the virus.

For the year 2021, as part of a unique public / private partnership, MTN has offered $ 25 million to all African countries to support the African Union’s COVID-19 vaccination program, this which represents up to seven million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for healthcare workers across the continent. Several countries have received the doses of vaccines and very soon, the Ivory Coast will receive its share.

In addition, in the coming weeks, we are planning a vast communication campaign around vaccination to support the government’s efforts to raise awareness. This further action is an example of MTN’s efforts to help find lasting solutions to address the challenges facing the country and to ensure a healthy Ivory Coast.

The shock of the pandemic observed in the Ivorian economy can now be considered as an endogenous variable to its growth. Do you think the telecommunications sector can further stimulate the “revival” of the Ivorian economy?

The telecommunications sector is one of the strategic sectors for the government. It has always played an essential role in connecting companies with their customers and suppliers by improving their productivity.

With the constraints of interactions and remote work, the pandemic has already led to a deeper awareness of the essential role that telecom operators play for the economy.

Indeed, the pandemic has made it possible to create an ecosystem around digital technology which has generated strong growth in sectors such as e-commerce. With the extent of our 3G, 4G and 4G + network and our desire to connect the most remote populations, the number of users has increased significantly. In Africa, the emergence of mobile money has created greater financial inclusion and facilitated payment in e-commerce. Today more than before the combination of the extent of Internet connectivity of “Momo” allows e-commerce to increase the volume of trade, to do business at a distance.

In addition, our collaboration technology solutions and mobile offices are now more widely adopted by businesses. In conclusion, telecommunications, and especially MTN, continue to boost the economy by building a real ecosystem to accelerate the productivity rate of businesses and promote electronic commerce.

What is the mobile money security policy at MTN CI?

Security is a major issue at MTN CI. Indeed, we have set up a global process for securing all our technological platforms, the accounts of our customers and partners, both for Mobile Money and for all our technological solutions.

For example, at the level of our platforms, the exchange protocols used by Mobile Money are all secured by an encryption mechanism for the information exchanged. This makes it impossible to modify the information directly in the database. With our MOMO customers, the Mobile Money account is linked to the phone number, the SIM card and a 5-digit PIN code. The absence or modification of any of these elements systematically makes it impossible to make a transaction on the account. In addition, resetting the 5-digit PIN code is governed by a rigorous process that is only initiated in branches; Moreover, only the customer can reset their PIN code using the phone number and SIM card associated with their account.

At the level of our employees, primary controls are carried out regularly at all levels and we ensure that, the initiators of the various transactions on customer accounts are different, the validators of these same transactions. Internal teams and our partners are also regularly trained on issues and risks related to IT security.

Mr OUATTARA, How can your activity be defined in the mapping of the Ivory Coast country risk?

The telecommunications sector is an important sector to support the economy in general of our country because of the importance of connectivity issues for trade.

Armed with this reality, MTN set out to build a robust network across Africa and particularly in VIC in order to be able to play its role. In the Ivory Coast, MTN has an extensive network and major telecommunications highways, particularly with our submarine cables carrying traffic to the outside.

With the drop in the cost of access to these highways, we believe that the risk to productivity and competitiveness may be lessened for an investor.

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