Orange accelerates its multi-service operator strategy in Africa

At AfricaCom, Orange presents its latest innovations to democratise access to smartphones, encourage e-education and support the startup ecosystem. DAVID AGBA reports.

New wave

In the field of telephony as in many others, Africa has jumped a technological step by moving directly to mobile. The outlook of the smartphone market is still seeing exponential growth. It is estimated that at least 660 million Africans (against 336 million in 2016) will be equipped with a smartphone by 2020 .

Mobile internet
This breakthrough can be explained by several factors, led largely because Orange is fully mobile: it has established mobile payment services (via the Orange Money service), it continues to invest in mobile internet coverage (14 Orange countries with 4G) and it offers affordable prices to provide accessibility to all.

On this last point Orange continues to innovate by partnering with KaiOS Technologies to democratise access to digital services in Africa.

New smart future

Beginning 2019, Orange customers in Africa will have access to a new category of smart feature phones powered by KaiOS, the operating system from KaiOS Technologies, that is creating an emerging ecosystem of digital products and services at an affordable price.

In addition, customers will be able to use Google’s digital assistant – the Google Assistant – in French, English and Arabic to help overcome language and literacy challenges.

The first product to launch will be a 3G smart feature phone, followed by a 4G version later next year. The new phones will allow access to in-demand apps like Twitter, Facebook, You Tube, Google Search, Google Maps and the Google Assistant. It comes at an affordable price as a smart feature phone with advanced smartphone-like functionalities.

This offer will be available in almost every country where the Group is present.

High-quality online lessons for all, everywhere

Of all the digital revolutions, e-learning is arguably one of the most transformative for Africa. Online education will make it possible to train the millions of professionals the continent needs to take charge of its development.

Through its “African Digital School” programme, Orange aims to mobilise its infrastructure, access and expertise to help Africa rise to the challenge of training young people, especially in digital growth sectors.

The first partners of this programme are major French institutions, like the CNED and the University Institutes of Technology, and the startup OpenClassrooms for IT lessons.
New partnership

Orange announces a new partnership with the Virtual University of Tunis, the world pioneer in online education, which has provided digital training to all Tunisian students for over a decade. The partnership aims to support access to their courses and training in the African countries within Orange’s footprint. A similar partnership will be signed in December with the Virtual University of Senegal, another leader in online training in Africa.

Identify, support and guide African startups

For the 8th year running, Orange will award its “Orange Social Entrepreneur Prize in Africa and the Middle East” at the AfricaCom Awards. This competition aims to reward the best projects by African startups that help improve the living conditions of local people through digital, in fields such as education, healthcare, farming, mobile payments or sustainable development.

The two-part competition was held in 17 countries where Orange operates. During the first stage, out of 1,304 applications received, 49 innovative projects were chosen as winners and rewarded in the relevant country. Then 10 projects were selected and presented to an international jury made up of professionals, investors and institutions.

Only yesterday, the 3 winners of the 2018 edition were announced. The winners will receive grants and guidance to develop their projects.

The Special Content Prize, the 4th international winner, will be revealed at the same time.

Presence in several countries

Orange is present in 20 countries in Africa and the Middle East where it has 119 million customers (Q3 2018). Generating €5 billion in sales in 2017, this zone 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 40.2 million customers. Orange, a multi-service operator and benchmark partner of the continent’s digital transformation, provides its expertise to support the development of new digital services in Africa and the Middle East.

About Orange
Orange is one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators with sales of 41 billion euros in 2017 and 150,000 employees worldwide at 30 September 2018, including 92,000 employees in France. The Group has a total customer base of 261 million customers worldwide at 30 September 2018, including 201 million mobile customers and 20 million fixed broadband customers. The Group is present in 28 countries. Orange is also a leading provider of global IT and telecommunication services to multinational companies, under the brand Orange Business Services. In March 2015, the Group presented its new strategic plan “Essentials2020” which places customer experience at the heart of its strategy with the aim of allowing them to benefit fully from the digital universe and the power of its new generation networks.
Orange is listed on Euronext Paris (symbol ORA) and on the New York Stock Exchange symbol ORAN).

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