Zain Group, owners of the Pan African mobile operator, Celtel International, has explained why the telco took part in the recent events to mark the 90th Birthday of Dr Nelson Mandela in London, describing him as a world icon.
Chief Executive Officer, Zain/Celtel Group, Dr Sa’ad Al-Barrak, who gave some explanation, said the company decided to join hands with the 46664 Foundation to make the event truly a global celebration by providing many people in the continent with the opportunity to join in the merriment.
“This was made possible through its sponsorship, because of the need to accentuate the continent’s ‘positive aspect’ to the world,” a press statement from Celtel Nigeria quoted him as saying.
Al-Barrak, also said, that it’s heart warming to know that such a highly respected and exemplary figure, who stands shoulder higher than many of the world greats, is an African.
“Mandela is a world icon who has committed his life to fight for the freedom of others. Nelson Mandela has shaped the history of modern Africa. His contribution is well known and stands as an example to those who are embroiled in fighting oppression and injustice,” declared Dr Al-Barrak.
As said by him, Zain Group as a company, is equally shaping the lives of Africans through its subsidiary, Celtel International, which operates in Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.
He expressed the desire of the mobile group to continue to impact on how the people in the continent interact economically and socially.
According to him, Celtel is resolute about spreading the communication revolution it has started in several countries in Africa to other countries in the continent.
“We have empowered many Africans to communicate already and are extending the impact with the spread of our innovative and historic One Network to more African countries linking millions of people in the continent and offering them a truly beneficial tariff plan and convenient communication service,” he said.
Zain, a major sponsor of the Mandela 90th birthday in London, during the build up to the event, through its subsidiaries, Celtel which operates in Africa and Zain, operating in the Middle East, provided people in both regions of the world the opportunity to send text messages wishing Nelson Mandela a happy birthday.
Celtel said that money realized from the SMS campaign would soon be donated to the 46664 Foundation for combating the dreaded HIV/AIDS pandemic.
The participation of Zain and its partners also assisted in getting the live music Concert at Hyde Park on June 27, 2008 to about a billion people across the world.
During the London birthday activities, Dr Al-Barrak in the presence of officials from various Celtel operations presented Mandela traditional Arab Dhow as a mark of the great respect the mobile giant and its customers have for the former President of the republic of South Africa.
The London Birthday events clearly demonstrated the towering global influence of Mandela as many VIPs including the Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth II, British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, former United States President, Bill Clinton, billionaire and founder of Virgin Group, Sir Richard Branson, celebrities Oprah Winfrey, Robert de Niro, and Forest Whitaker and a galaxy of music stars attended the events.
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