MTN’s Foray into Agriculture

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The recent move by the Katsina State Government to open its doors to investors, has provided ample opportunity for MTN to drive agricultural development in the state through the use of ICT, writes Emma Okonji

The Kastina Economic and Investment Summit, which was organised recently by the Kastina State government attracted investors. A major aspect of the summit was the application of information communications technology (ICT) in the development of agriculture and improving the lives of the rural people. One of the investors that took advantage of the summit to invest in the state, was MTN Nigeria, who announced the launch of its livestock tracking solution and the mobile electricity, designed to resolve security issues through the application of ICT, as well as help businesses and entrepreneurs minimise their losses, occasioned by issues like wandering cows, which most times, result in huge losses. MTN’s planned investment in mobile electricity in the state, is also expected to drive ancillary businesses and improve the standard of living of the people of Katsina state, thereby enhancing the Nigerian economy in diversified ways.

Diversifying investment

Tagged the ‘Katsina State Economic and Investment Summit 2016,’ the summit is a demonstration of the state government’s efforts to diversify the economy and to achieve the objectives of its policy thrust on private sector partnership, job creation, and entrepreneurial promotion through generation of viable investments in the state.
Speaking on the rationale behind the support from MTN, MTN Executive, Amina Oyagbola, said the company remained committed to driving economic growth in Nigeria by supporting initiatives that will truly place the country on the path of an economic renaissance. She added that the Katsina State Economic and Investment summit was another opportunity for the organisation to demonstrate its commitment to socio-economic development.
“At MTN, we believe that we have a supportive role to play by partnering for development to realise our collective goal of being among the top 20 economies by the year 2020. We are excited to be a part of the huge potential for improved processes and enhanced productivity across sectors of the economy through ICT and look forward to working with stakeholders in both public and private sectors for greater national and global competitiveness,” Oyagbola said.
The 2016 Katsina State Economic and investment Summit, among other things, provided a platform for discourse between the public and private sectors on issues and challenges facing the development of Katsina State, with a view to developing and harmonising common strategies for addressing them.

MTN support
MTN Nigeria’s support is coming on the heels of its recent support of the 2016 Innovation Africa Development Summit (IAD), which assessed how ICT can support national and regional development objectives, engagement strategies and operational efficiencies. The event recorded an impressive turnout of attendees which included members of the Federal Executive Council, Ministers of ICT across Africa, Heads of Regulatory bodies as well as representatives of telecommunication providers from Africa, Asia and Europe.
This maiden edition of the Katsina Economic and Investment Summit, saw top corporate executives, captains of industries and senior government officials congregating to discuss how best to leverage the state’s resources for greater business profitability as well as improve the operating environment for doing business in the state.

ICT and Agricultural development
To help reduce challenges with cattle grazing and the judicious use of land across Nigeria, MTN Nigeria launched the MTN Livestock Tracking Solutions (LTS) to assist herdsmen in monitoring and tracking their livestock, while the MTN Mobile Electricity will provide affordable electricity to rural community dwellers.
The solutions will help reduce the incidence of wandering cattle and provide electricity to entrepreneurs and rural dwellers. The mobile electricity solution in partnership with Nova-Lumos will bring clean, modern and affordable electricity to MTN customers in the rural areas.

Oyagbola announced the launch of these solutions in Katsina during he summit.
According to her, “This ICT solution can track the location of cattle, send panic or emergency alerts to the authorities in times of trouble and help with creating grazing areas separate from farmlands. It can perform location tracking for cattle and geo-fencing for grazing areas. It makes use of GPS technology and is solar-powered to ensure that you can always stay in touch with your cattle, everywhere they go.”

On the mobile electricity solution, she said: “Our customers in rural areas can therefore replace kerosene lanterns, candles and flashlights with electricity that can power phones, fans, radios, TVs all at once and this service is already running in Katsina State. We are truly excited about these products and their implications for accelerated socio-economic development across the country. His Excellency, Governor Bello Aminu Masari had expressed his belief in our ability to devise a solution and we are pleased to say that we have done just that.”
Oyagbola also expressed MTN’s preparedness to support e-government objectives at all levels.
“We believe ICT is the future and MTN is committed to supporting Katsina and indeed Nigeria to ensure preparedness and empowerment towards this future.” she said.

The benefits
The summit presented a great opportunity for MTN to link up with others for the benefit of both parties.
The governor, Masari, in his remarks stated that the future of development lies with technology which must be adequately utilised. He acknowledged the support of the private sector in improving the economy of the state while pledging to ensure his government supports any innovation that will continue to enhance the standard of living of the indigenes of Katsina and improve the economic status of the state.
The first Katsina State Economic and Investment Summit was a three-day event aimed at attracting investments in Kastina from local and foreign investors particularly in the areas of livestock production and meat processing, power generation, medium to large scale agricultural production among other areas.

Economic growth

Speaking on the rationale for supporting the Katsina Economic and Investment Summit, Oyagbola said: “Our rationale for supporting the economic and investment summit is born out of our commitment to driving economic growth in Nigeria by supporting initiatives that will truly place the country on the path of economic renaissance.”
“At MTN, we believe that we have a supportive role to play by partnering government to realise our collective goal of being among the top 20 economies by the year 2020. We are excited to be a part of the huge potential for improved processes and enhanced productivity across sectors of the economy through ICT and we look forward to working with stakeholders in both public and private sectors for greater national and global competitiveness,” Oyagbola said.
She added that MTN considered it a privilege to be a part of the positive change that is powered by ICT and believe that in every sector, there are ICT solutions for improving processes and empowering people.