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The Power of Partnerships

Lynda Saint-Nwafor
Lynda Saint-Nwafor

“If you want to go fast, go alone; but if you want to go far, go together.”

Partnerships. The concept is rooted in the belief that we are stronger and can go much further together than we can on our own. This approach is even more pertinent for people, groups, companies, and countries in this volatile, complex, ambiguous and fast-moving global age. At all levels, we need to come together and find common ground; pooling our resources and leveraging knowledge and expertise for the greater good.

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Global initiatives such as the Sustainable Development Goals enable partnerships that focus on addressing humanity’s most significant challenges. At the national level, governments leverage partnerships to drive development, particularly with the private sector which has considerable competencies and resources required to accelerate progress.

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A significant number of infrastructural projects have been undertaken using the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model for mutual benefit. Across our country, in particular, numerous projects in a variety of sectors are being implemented through this model. One example is the Lagos Rail mass transit network – a partnership between Lagos State, the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) and the China Railway Corporation Ltd.

Working with MTN Nigeria, I’ve had the privilege of first-hand experience of the power of partnerships. Collaborations have played a critical role in the growth of our organisation over the past seventeen years. At MTN, we have worked consistently and grown alongside our partners across the country, as well as our loyal customers – their feedback and support have helped us develop into the company that we are today. Working with like-minded partners, with genuine win-win intentions, we have achieved extraordinary outcomes.

The MTN – Diamond Bank collaboration in 2014 birthed the novel Diamond Y’ello Account – a hybrid service that provides the convenience of opening a basic bank account without the need to take a trip to the bank, fill out forms or provide documentation. Within two years of its introduction, over 10 million new accounts were registered.

Techfest, a growth platform for connecting entrepreneurs with investors and potential collaborators, was achieved via partnerships between Diamond Bank, MTN and other leading tech. industry players in the country. With each company bringing to bear knowledge from their own specific sub-sector, e.g. mobile money, digital education, communication, etc.[1]

From our collaboration with the Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON), which provides the musically inclined with scholarships, to the ambitious Yellow Heart Campaign – a partnership with the Federal Ministry of Health to help meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 3, MTN partners with specialised public and private institutions, accessing their expertise and experience to implement critical social development initiatives.

Another example of innovative partnerships is evident in the launch of the first trial application of 5G technology in South Africa by MTN Group and Ericsson. As the future unearths opportunities in the Internet of Things (IoT), advanced healthcare, transportation, road safety, mining, and agriculture sectors, both companies are poised to enhance the potential of our continent by embarking on this journey, together.

Our most important partners on this journey have been our employees. We prioritise growth in a variety of ways- from the establishment of internal mentorship activities and initiatives to robust training programmes and structures, all driven to help achieve personal development goals. As we support the core of who each employee is, we build and reinforce the core of who we are as a company, and together work tirelessly to serve our customers.

Going forward, MTN plans to launch a channel partnership framework designed to manage, reward and encourage our existing and new partners to grow their businesses on the back of our offerings to them. In a fast-moving industry such as ours, a strong, vibrant ecosystem of partners is critical to future success. However, to truly excel, it is not enough to have the right partners, we also require the right environment, with structures and processes that ensure all stakeholders can operate and thrive.

Efficiently executed, mutually-beneficial partnerships enable faster, more innovative development and growth. As such, it is no wonder that we now find ourselves in an era rife with the eruption of transformative initiatives, industry developments, disruptive revolutions and the most innovative of solutions, all with overwhelming economic and societal benefits.

As long as organisations, private or public, continue to collaborate and leveraging on each other’s expertise, knowledge, and resources to achieve a common objective, the possibilities of the future are, and will continue to be, endless.

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