The Société Nationale des Télécommunications (Sonatel) is the largest telecommunications services operator in Senegal. It was founded in 1985 and listed on the West African stock market BRVM in 1998. Today, Sonatel is the largest company by market capitalisation listed on the BRVM. It provides telecommunications services in four West African nations, with 36 million customers in 2020.
Sonatel advances access to digital technologies in the markets where it operates in several ways, such as offering reduced tariffs to young users. Its Digital Houses initiative trains and supports women in Guinea Bissau, Mali and Senegal in financial management and entrepreneurship. The company’s Handi-Engagée Platform gives entrepreneurs with disabilities access to market opportunities. Sonatel also discloses its employment and the taxes it pays in the markets where it operates, and it calculates its indirect economic impact.
Sonatel has workshops to train children in coding. The company’s FabLab programme gives school dropouts and women who are looking for employment, access to digital manufacturing tools. Sonatel Academy is a coding school, which trains young people through a combination of online and face-to-face sessions. In addition to these programmes, Sonatel has partnered with the Orange Foundation’s Digital Schools programme in Mali to construct 35 new public schools, in addition to the 70 existing schools, thereby connecting over 35,000 students to education.
Sonatel supports the tech innovation ecosystem in Senegal, partnering with the General Delegation for Women and Youth Entrepreneurship to organise a boot camp for start-ups. It also partners with Orange to support, train and connect women entrepreneurs. Furthermore, the company discloses the number of women it employs in technical roles.
While Sonatel has several programmes supporting access to digital technologies for vulnerable groups, little evidence was found regarding its contributions to these programmes. Providing more detailed reporting on its programmes and assessing their impact can help the company better understand and demonstrate its contribution. Furthermore, the company can more clearly show how it supports the development of accessible digital products.
Little evidence was found of the company’s activities relating to open, inclusive and ethical innovation. Sonatel has an opportunity to report on initiatives in this area. It can further enhance transparency by disclosing how it considers ethics and human rights in its research and development (R&D) activities.
Core social indicators
The core social indicators assess societal expectations of business conduct that companies should meet if they aspire to be part of a system transformation that leaves no one behind.
Sonatel discloses that it has an Ethics Charter, but this document is not published in the English language. No disclosures by the company regarding respect for human rights were found in the public domain in English.
Sonatel states in its annual report that it promotes a ‘health and safety risk reduction approach’. The company also provides a breakdown of employees in different employee categories by gender. However, no other disclosures by the company relevant to providing and promoting decent work were found in the public domain in English.
Sonatel discloses the country-by-country taxes it pays and discloses how it identifies bribery and corruption. No other disclosures by the company relevant to this area were found in the public domain in English.