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Thursday, March 01, 2007

World Bank, MTN empower 1,000 rural Nigerian women

The private sector arm of the World Bank Group, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and continental telecom giant, the Mobile Telecommunications Network (MTN) have joined forces in to empower over 1,000 rural women in Nigeria.

Company sources informed that Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) tagged Linkage Cooperation Agreement (LCA) and endorsed last Monday stipulated that IFC and MTN Foundation work jointly to create opportunities for over 1000 rural-based women in Nigeria.

The basic opportunities anticipated to be optimised in the project is for these women to earn income by reselling telephony services.

Nigeria represents the first of four countries where IFC intends to support rural telephony penetration, whereas the funding support would come from the United States (US) Trade and Development Agency, IFC will take the model developed in Nigeria to other markets.

Speaking on the partnership, the Executive Director, MTN Nigeria Foundation, Mrs. Amina Oyagbola said the women would provide mobile phone service for a fee in local communities, establishing service at affordable prices to communities that presently have limited or no telephone access.

She explained that under the agreement, IFC and MTN Nigeria Foundation will together design and scale up the rural telephony project.

She said, IFC is expected to offer advisory services, to support the capacity building of participating nongovernmental organizations led by Growing Businesses Foundation and microfinance institutions.

She expressed confident that the partnership would impact positively on Nigerian rural women and their communities.

“This partnership with IFC and rural based women will have sustainable development impact by leveraging the strengths of all stakeholders,” he said.

General Manager at IFC for Private Enterprise Partnership for Africa, Mr. Bernard Chidzero, noted that his organisation has a successful track record of assisting clients to succeed, especially when it comes to empowerment of rural communities.

“IFC has a successful track record of helping clients to empower local communities by linking them to their supply chains. This is part of the added value that we bring to our clients,” he said.

ITRealms Online recalls that MTN Nigeria has been IFC client since 2003. However, till date, IFC has made a total commitment of about $135 million in financing to support MTN Nigeria’s rollout in the country.

The MTN Nigeria Foundation was incorporated in 2004 by MTN Nigeria Communications Limited as the vehicle through which MTNN implements its corporate social responsibility programmes.
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