On July 27, 2021, Orange Telecommunications and the German Cooperation inaugurated “Orange Digital Center” in Bamako, an ecosystem entirely dedicated to the development of digital skills and innovation in Bamako, Mali. The event was attended by the highest political and administrative authorities from Mali, the German Ambassador to Mali, Dr. Dr. Dietrich Pohl and the French diplomatic representation in Mali, Alioune Ndiaye, Chairman and CEO of Orange Africa and Middle East, Elizabeth Tchoungui, Executive Director of CSR, Diversity and Philanthropy at Orange, Deputy Chair of the Orange Foundation, Sékou Dramé, CEO of Sonatel and Brelotte Ba, Managing Director of Orange Mali.
Following on from Tunisia, Senegal and Ethiopia, Mali will inaugurate the fourth Orange Digital Center in Africa and the Middle East. Spread over 1,557 sq.m, the Orange Digital Center brings together the four strategic programs of the Orange group, namely: a coding school (Orange Digital Kalanso), a FabLab Solidaire -one of the Orange Foundation’s digital manufacturing workshops -, an Orange Fab start-up accelerator and Orange Ventures Africa, the Orange Group investment fund. All of the program provided are free-of charge, open to all. They range from digital training for young people, 90% of which are practical, start-up acceleration, guidance for project bearers and investment.
Working as a network, the Orange Digital Centers allow experiences and expertise to be shared between countries and offer a simple and inclusive approach to improve young people’s employability, encourage innovative entrepreneurship and promote the local digital ecosystem. Moreover, discussions are underway between Orange Mali and the Ministry of Higher Education for the digital transformation of universities in Mali. An Orange Digital Center Club will be installed in each university in the region, thus completing the system to give as many people possible access to new technologies and support in using them to their full extent.
As part of its Corporate Social Responsibility approach, Orange Mali wishes to support new ideas, which bring progress for all and in particular those that create economic value and jobs at the local level. This is why Orange Mali wanted to set up and support, in a partnership-based approach, initiatives that help accelerate this positive change. As the leading contributor to digital development in the country, Orange Mali supports the emergence of a creative, prosperous ecosystem that gives digital players the opportunity to create and develop.
Orange and the German Cooperation by GIZ are working together as part of a development partnership within the develoPPP program, which GIZ is implementing on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The goal is to fulfil their shared vision: fostering youth employability – and access to ICT jobs for women and girls – while supporting sustainable growth and the country’s digital transformation. This joint project by Orange and GIZ is an example of successful cooperation between German Cooperation and the private sector.
Because digital technology must provide opportunities for everyone, this initiative fully embodies our commitment as a responsible operator and meets the following six sustainable development objectives: (4) quality education, (5) gender equality, (8) decent work and economic growth, (9) industry, innovation and infrastructure, (10) reduced inequalities and (17) partnerships for goals.
So far, eight Orange Digital Centers have already been opened in the region: Tunisia, Senegal, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Jordan, Morocco, and Mali. This means other inaugurations are still to come in 2021.
Alioune Ndiaye, Chairman and CEO of Orange Africa and the Middle East, says: “I am very proud to inaugurate the fourth Orange Digital Center in Africa today in Mali, which is part of the network of 32 Orange Digital Centers deployed in all the countries where Orange operates to support the start-ups. The main objective is to democratize access to digital technology for young people – with or without qualifications – giving them access to the latest technological trends to improve their employability and give young Africans the ability to write their digital future.”
Elizabeth Tchoungui, Executive Director of CSR, Diversity and Philanthropy at Orange, Deputy Chair of the Orange Foundation adds: “This new initiative is a key step in our societal commitment in favor of digital inclusion for young people and women in particular. The FabLab Solidaire, a key program of the Orange Foundation, is an essential building block of this socially useful action, by allowing beneficiaries without access to digital tools to reconnect with the professional world. It is the start of a great journey based on the development of technical skills and can even help to create innovative companies thanks to the complementary nature of the actions deployed.”
Brelotte BA, CEO of Orange Mali adds: “Orange Mali is truly committed to the digital transformation. Being the partner of the digital transformation makes us a leading player in the socio-economic development of the country thanks to innovative ecosystems and specific actions intended to develop entrepreneurship. The Orange Digital Center brings together all the necessary skills in a single place to illustrate Orange’s commitment to digital inclusion.”
Dr. Dr. Dietrich Pohl, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Republic of Mali says: “The future of Mali is its youth – and digital is the future of the world. This initiative aims to strengthen young people’s access to the labor market as well as to entrepreneurship so that they can fully contribute to a better future for their generation and Mali as a whole.”
Orange is present in 18 countries in Africa and the Middle East and has more than 130 million customers at of 31 March 2020. With 5.8 billion euros of revenues in 2020, Orange MEA is the first growth area in the Orange group. Orange Money, its flagship mobile-based money transfer and financial services offer is available in 17 countries and has more than 50 million customers. Orange, multi-services operator, key partner of the digital transformation provides its expertise to support the development of new digital services in Africa and the Middle East.
Orange is one of the world’s leading telecommunications carriers with a turnover of €42.3 billion in 2020 and 142,000 employees as at March 31, 2021, of whom 82,000 are in France. The Group has a total customer base of 262 million customers worldwide at March 31, 2021, including 217 million mobile customers and 22 million fixed broadband customers. The Group is present in 26 countries. It is also a leading provider of global IT and telecommunication services to multinational companies, under the brand Orange Business Services. In December 2019, the Group presented its new ‘Engage 2025’ strategic plan, which, guided by social and environmental accountability, aims to reinvent its operator model. While accelerating in growth areas and placing data and AI at the heart of its innovation model, the Group will be an attractive and responsible employer, adapted to emerging professions. Orange is listed on Euronext Paris (symbol ORA) and on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol ORAN).
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is a federal enterprise operating worldwide. It supports the German government in the fields of international cooperation for sustainable development and international education. GIZ helps people and societies to shape their own future and improve their living conditions.
The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has set up the develoPPP program to foster private sector participation to the point where business opportunities and development policy initiatives overlap. To this end, BMZ offers financial and technical support to companies that want to do business or have already started operating in developing and emerging countries. GIZ acts as one of the two official partners implementing the program on behalf of BMZ.
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