May 16, 2013
has been under unfair attack by some Americans over MTN’s presence in Iran. Given the importance of MTN in the development of ICT and, as a result, the development of African economies, we can no longer afford to ignore the relentless onslaught.
MTN first came under the spotlight in America when contradictions over the Iranian nuclear programme heated up. This is because MTN has a non-controlling stake in the Iranian mobile operator, Irancell. Some in the USA accuse MTN of promoting human rights abuses by investing in Irancell, a company with ties to the Iranian government.
Apparently, when America has a problem with another country, human rights abuses mysteriously emerge. We never heard of human rights abuses in Iran when America was in good books with that country and benefited from Iranian oil when the Shah was in charge.
An powerful American group calling itself United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), has been in the forefront, calling on MTN to exit Iran and for the United States Congress to impose sanctions against MTN. The UANI leadership is dominated by former US Ambassadors, Jewish Americans and members of the American and Israeli secret security organisations, CIA and Mossad, respectively.
MTN has made significant strides in developing ICT in Africa to the level it is today. The growth of the Internet in Africa, mobile penetration and all the anticipated growth in the economy driven by ICT are being enabled by the likes of MTN and all the other companies who work diligently to develop their telecommunication networks throughout Africa.
Of the 700 Million mobile subscribers in Africa
, at least120 Million or 17% are on the MTN networks.MTN is also making contributions that benefit and uplift the disenfranchised in other emerging markets they operate in.
According to the MTN website: “As a multinational telecommunications company operating in emerging markets, MTN has a unique opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to social development in the countries where we operate. As of December 2011, MTN recorded 164, 5 million subscribers across its operations in the region. When MTN entered Iran, there were around 4 million subscribers overall. Today there are almost 35 million subscribers on Irancell’s network alone, of which more than 60% are below the age of 25. These are ordinary young people who rely on the network to make calls, send text messages and access Internet services such as Skype, Google and Facebook.)”
It comes across as hypocritical for Americans to chastise MTN over Iran’s human rights abuses when the closest US ally in the region, Saudi Arabia, denies its women the right to drive. And for the record, Iran does not have any nuclear weapons but is in the process of developing nuclear technology for electric power purposes, according to the Iranians.
The biggest culprit when it comes to nuclear arsenal, as the graph in the image depicts, is the USA. Americans should be the last people in the world to point fingers at anyone developing nuclear technology. In the Middle East, the only country that has nuclear weapons is Israel but nobody in America has lifted a finger against that country.
Going after an African company whose mission is to uplift the lives of people in Africa and other emerging markets because of Iran’s non-existent nuclear weapons is absurd. We call on Africans, especially those who are resident in the United States to speak up against the unfair attack on MTN.