During a well-attended engagement with journalists from both the print and electronic media landscape on the 8th April 2019 at the Country Lodge in Freetown, Head of Media and Public Relations, Annie Wonnie Katta intimated that the rationale behind convening the Press Briefing was simply geared towards giving an incisive and comprehensive updates on the telecommunications company’s operations in the country.
She underscored that they will specifically focus on the company’s digital revolution journey, Corporate Social Responsibility and the expansion of their network.
Various officials of Orange, belonging to the marketing, network expansion and investment, Corporate Social Responsibility, Orange Financial Services and heads of various products and services such as the Orange B2B, respectively made comprehensive and succinct presentations bordering on their different areas of operations.
One of those who made a presentation was Felix Macauley who dilated on the various products, voice and data services offered by Orange Sierra Leone. He confidently informed that the company has the widest, affordable and efficient coverage.
Felix Macauley further noted that they are the first to have a female CEO in the telecoms sector in the country and also the first in introducing a number of products and services to remote parts of the country ascertaining how they have huge customer base.
Strategic Marketing and Partnership Manager, Abibatu Baxter, made a presentation on the financial service access point. She highlighted that they are the first to introduce such a financial service in the country further explaining the features of the product, noting that it employs over 5,000 people both directly and indirectly; and has enabled people to transfer money, pay for goods and services in shops, supermarkets and stalls, enable salary payments and payment for utility bills, amongst others.
According to her, Orange Money played a very significant role during the country’s Ebola scourge. “It was the platform used to pay caregivers and is very good due to the fact that it has accountability and audit trails,” she maintained.
She said such largely accounts for the increasing partnership between Orange Sierra Leone and a number of INGOs and NGOs both nationally and internationally.
Dilating on the area of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility, Desmond Spaine, who happens to be the Manager of that Department, intimated journalists about the various ambitious and costly projects already facilitated, funded and in some cases executed by Orange Sierra Leone as a way of giving back to society and its numerous subscribers.
Spaine mentioned the 1.5 million dollar commitment to the country’s free and quality education, the two billion Leones yearly support to 50 kids at various SOS homes in Bo, Kenema and other major towns.
He also cited the 20,000 Euros support to the building of a separate orthopedic and pediatric theatre unit at the Connaught Hospital for children, amongst other key supports to the religious community and the Freetown City Council’s environmental and sanitation drive.
He went further to state that Orange continues to leave a very strong footprint in the Educational, Health, Environment and the empowerment of women and children.
Representatives from the Orange B2B and Network expansion and investment also made presentations on the strides already taken by Government, which have resulted to the spending of over fifty five United States dollars (US$ 55,000) with over 925 local sites in the expansion of the network to various rural communities.
“This massive and the unprecedented expansion have taken place since July, 2016 when Orange took over AIRTEL,” he disclosed.
Daniel Fornah, Networks Panning and Engineering Manager dwelled on the Company’s network expansion and investment drives, noting that this has been informed by market surveys and license conditions. He unravelled a number of changes done to equipments, machinery in sites and locations in the country, which he noted is responsible for the wide coverage and efficient network.
He concluded by disclosing the rolling out of the 4G SERVICE, including the level of infrastructure the company was able to build in Freetown. He further highlighted plans for all major towns and cities.
Wrapping up the updates, Madam Annie Wonnie Katta talked about the commitments of Orange Sierra Leone for 2019, which include an additional expansion plan of 24 million dollars and also efforts at further supporting communities, the GoSL and its numerous subscribers, amongst other development plans.
The charming Head of Media and Public Relations, noted that it is the intention of Management to continue to expand the network by building more sites connecting rural areas,, which, she noted, is in line with the Government’s aspirations.
Journalists present highly appreciated the updating some maintaining that was very informative and helped to dispel hitherto notions which were not contextual.
It was recommended that the Orange New PR team to roll out timely information and tightly embrace the media.