by Simon Ateba
The mobile revolution in Africa is being led by many firms and actors, including Orange, a network operator and creator of digital experiences in 29 countries serving 263 million customers worldwide.
The French firm has established mobile payment services via Orange Money, and continues to invest in mobile internet coverage, reaching at least 14 countries with Orange 4G connectivity.
This has been achieved while offering affordable prices to all, the company said in a statement to TODAY NEWS AFRICA in Washington DC
Orange is present in 20 countries in Africa and the Middle East where it has 119 million customers, according to its third quarter 2018 results.
Generating €5 billion in sales in 2017, the Africa-Middle East 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.
Its new partnering with KaiOS Technologies aims at democratizing access to digital services in Africa.
The company says 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, which 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 the 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 all would come 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.
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.
With that expanding market, many companies are making Africa the next big frontier, and the mobile would drive the future of communication and retail services in Africa.
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” program, Orange aims to mobilize its infrastructure, access and expertise to help Africa rise to the challenge of training young people, especially in digital growth sectors.
On Tuesday, Orange announced yet another 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.
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.
On Wednesday, 14 November, the three winners of the 2018 edition will be 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.
Check this year’s winning projects: Orange Social Venture Prize 2018Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Today News Africa.