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This year's Sustainability Report illustrates Vodacom’s purpose of connecting for a better future and improving the lives of the next 100 million customers by 2025. Connecting people and things to the internet, creating inclusive products and services, and reducing our environmental impact, drives this purpose.
We have highlighted some of the significant ways Vodacom has contributed to creating a sustainable future this year:
1. The Vodacom Foundation invested over R1 billion in communities since 1999
The cumulative spend by the Vodacom Foundation has surpassed R1 billion since its inception in 1999. The bulk of this investment has been targeted towards improving the access and delivery of key programmes in education, health, safety, and security in communities, affirming our commitment to uplifting society as we continue to grow in a sustainable manner. The contribution of the Vodacom CSI has been recognised externally, with the Vodacom Foundation in South Africa rated as the top corporate in CSI by other corporates and third by NPO’s according to Trialogues 2019 annual research.
2. ConnectU offers zero-rated services
The consolidation of all zero-rated services on one platform ConnectU, which include:
- Free access to job portals, educational content, and free health and wellness information, as well as staying connected through Facebook Flex, the low data alternative to Facebook.
- Zero-rated access to select government sites to assist members of the public in accessing government services such as Home Affairs, ambulance services, education sites, and government communication services. This will assist everyone in gaining access to much-needed government services as these are now moving into the digital space as well.
- Expanding our zero-rated offering to all schools, universities, and T-Vet colleges across the country. This will ensure that learners and students enrolled in these institutions will be able to access relevant information free via their portals.
- A full zero-rated internet search function powered by Wikipedia. This will allow customers access to the entire Wikipedia database of knowledge free of charge.
- Free access to other essential information such as local and international headlines, trends, and the weather.
- In addition, we have also identified 2 000 of South Africa’s poorest towns, suburbs, and villages, where customers will enjoy further discounted bundle offers to ensure that these discounts benefit includes the people who need it most.
3. Affordable internet for all
Improving affordable access to the internet is a key driver to unlocking a world of opportunities. Whether connecting with loved ones, seeking a new job opportunity, or purchasing a new home, access to the internet is a key way to enable a prosperous society. Vodacom’s strategy to connect the next 100 million customers entails:
- Pricing transformation and reducing the cost to communicate.
- Providing free access to vital education and health information (ConnectU).
- Providing customers with low-cost devices that are 3G and 4G enabled.
- Expanding network coverage in rural areas.
4. Affordable devices
In South Africa, Vodacom sold 4.2 million affordable smart devices costing less than R849. To further drive digital inclusion and reduce the barrier to entry to 4G devices and services, this year we introduced prepaid device financing, enabling customers with no credit facilities to pay for 4G devices in instalments in South Africa. We also introduce a lay-by option for 3G and 4G smartphones in Lesotho and Mozambique.
On June 15 2020, Vodacom Group published its annual Sustainability Report together with its annual Integrated Report. These reports highlight the Group’s economic, social, environmental and governance performance for the period 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020, inclusive of operations in South Africa, Tanzania, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Lesotho.