Past week, in Dakar, Senegal, Orange has inaugurated its new concept of a place entirely dedicated to innovation, an “Orange Digital Center”.
Several personalities attended the launch, including: Ms Ndèye Tické Ndiaye Diop, Minister for the Digital Economy and Telecommunications; Mr Dame Diop, Minister for Employment, Professional Training and Craftsmanship; Mr Alioune Ndiaye, CEO of Orange Africa and Middle-East; Ms Christine Albanel, Head of CSR, Diversity, Partnerships and Philanthropy for Orange, Deputy Chair of the Orange Foundation and former Minister; and Mr Sékou Dramé, CEO of Sonatel.
Following on from Tunisia, Senegal will be home to the second Orange Digital Center in Africa and the Middle East. With a surface area of 2,000 m² on six floors, the Orange Digital Center in Dakar will be the first of its kind in West Africa. Working as a network, these places allow experiences and expertise to be shared between countries and offer a simple and inclusive approach to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship and to support the local digital ecosystem.
The purpose of the Orange Digital Centers is to bring together several strategic programmes under the same roof: coding school, Solidarity FabLab, Orange Fab and Orange Digital Ventures Africa, the Group’s investment fund. All of the programmes provided are free-of-charge and include digital training for young people, startup acceleration, and guidance for project owners and investment in these projects.
Other centers are expected to open by the end of the year in Jordan,Cameroon and Côte d’Ivoire, with yet more in 2020 in Morocco and Egypt. Ultimately, similar organisations will be deployed in all the countries within Orange’s footprint in Africa and the Middle-East as well as in Europe.
“I am very proud to open the second Orange Digital Center in Dakar, after the one in Tunis. As the main contributor to the digital ecosystem in Senegal, Sonatel supports the emergence of a creative and flourishing ecosystem that provides digital players with the opportunity to imagine ways to create and prosper. These new spaces are dedicated not only to students, young people with and without diplomas and young people changing career, but also to entrepreneurs reflecting the ambition to promote a strong and innovative digital economy for the country’s socio-economic development”, explains Sékou Dramé, CEO of Sonatel.
“We are working in close collaboration with all the stakeholders, including governments and academics, to strengthen the employability of young Africans and to encourage them to run businesses and to innovate in their countries. Our ambition is to deploy this initiative outside Africa, from the south to the north, by opening Orange Digital Centers in France and Europe. For the moment, Côte d’Ivoire, Jordan and Cameroon will follow in the next few months and in 2020 Morocco and Egypt then all the countries in the Africa and Middle-East zone will have their own Orange Digital Center” adds Alioune Ndiaye, CEO of Orange Africa and the Middle East.
Christine Albanel meanwhile states: “The Orange Foundation’s mission, in the countries where it operates, is to provide everyone with a chance by leveraging digital technology. The Orange Digital Center in Dakar illustrates our ambition to make digital inclusion the key focus of our social commitment. The Solidarity FabLab and the coding school, which are part of the Foundation’s and CSR’s inclusion programmes will enable many young people to develop new digital skills and will set them on the course to employment.”
Orange is present in 19 countries in Africa and the Middle East where it had 123 million customers on 30 June 2019. With sales revenue of €5.2 billion in 2018, this area is a strategic priority for the Group. Orange Money, its mobile-based money transfer and financial services offer is available in 17 countries and has 45 million customers. Orange, a multi-service operator, benchmark partner of the digital transformation, provides its expertise to support the development of new digital services in Africa and the Middle East. •