Information saves lives during this pandemic, and telecommunications helps keep our economies and health and education systems running. Telcos are key actors in the fight for human rights and public welfare, and MTN is one of Africa’s most prominent telecom service providers. Yet its dealings are almost completely opaque and require drastic transformation to meet our challenge to “build back better”, as the UN demands.

With a poor record of disclosures affecting the human rights of more than 190-million subscribers in Africa and across the Middle East, MTN is neither a role model nor an outlier in the region. The company was implicated in at least eight internet shutdowns in 2019, and has shown blatant neglect of customer privacy...

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