Freetown, 10th February, 2023.
Orange and the German Development Cooperation inaugurate in Sierra Leone the 14th Orange Digital Center in Africa and the Middle East, to train young people in digital technology and enhance employability
Today, Orange and the German Development Cooperation inaugurate the 14th “Orange Digital Center (ODC)”, in Sierra Leone, a digital ecosystem entirely dedicated to the development of digital skills and innovation. The inauguration was attended by Governmental and regulatory authorities in Sierra Leone, the German Ambassador, members of the board of Orange Sierra Leone and Orange Foundation, representatives of Sonatel and Orange Middle East and Africa and the executive committee members of Orange Sierra Leone and the GIZ Country Director for Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.
Following in the footsteps of Tunisia, Senegal, Ethiopia, Mali, Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Egypt, Jordan, Madagascar, Morocco, Liberia, Botswana and Guinea, it is in Sierra Leone that the 14th Orange Digital Center in Africa and the Middle East is inaugurated.
With a floor space spreading over 500 sq. m, the ODC will provide four strategic programs of the Orange group and in partnership with the German Development Cooperation, namely:
>A coding school.
> A solidarity FabLab – one of the Orange Foundation’s digital manufacturing workshops.
> An Orange Fab start-up accelerator.
> The Orange Ventures Middle East and Africa (the investment fund of Orange Group that invests in the most talented startups of Orange Digital Center).
All programs of the ODC are provided free of charge and open to everyone. The programs include a variety of digital training for young people, guidance to address project bearers, start-up acceleration and 90% of all the trainings are practical.
Working as a network, the Orange Digital Centers allows 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.
Officially inaugurated today, the Orange Digital Center in Sierra Leone is fully operational and equipped to host several digital trainings and events. In addition, Orange Sierra Leone, in partnership with universities, will train students for free and roll out Orange Digital Center Clubs, extensions of the Orange Digital Center within some universities in the regions.
Thus, it will complement the education system to give as many people as possible access to new technologies and support them using these technologies to their full extent. The allegations that “Orange Sierra Leone is indebted to the Government in the sum of Le 80 billion inclusive of Le14.0 Billion Leones owed on custom duty taxes and further accusations that this is not the first time Orange Sierra Leone has been on shady tax deals on Government tax payments”, are totally unfounded.
Orange and the German Development Cooperation are working together as part of a development partnership within the develoPPP program, which the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH 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 while supporting sustainable growth and the country’s digital transformation. The program is also working to advance gender equality and inclusion by promoting access for women and girls to ICT jobs.
This initiative is fully in line with our commitment as a responsible operator and focuses on the following sustainable development goals: (SDG 4) quality education, (SDG 5) gender equality, (SDG 8) decent work and economic growth, (SDG 9) industry, innovation, and infrastructure, (SDG 10) reduced inequalities and (SDG 17) partnerships for goals.
Brelotte Ba, Deputy CEO of Orange Middle East and Africa says: “I am honored to be present for the launch of our 14th Orange Digital Center today in Freetown, Sierra Leone, which is part of a network of 32 Orange Digital Centers that will be deployed not only in Africa and the Middle East, but also in Europe by 2023. The objective is to democratize access to digital technology for young people – with or without qualifications. We want them to be part of the digital transformation of their country by encouraging them to become digital entrepreneurs, to create local content and thus develop the digital economy of Sierra Leone.”
Jens Kraus-Massé, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Republic of Sierra Leone notes: “I am delighted to see that our cooperation with Orange contributes to realizing the vision of a digital, innovative and resilient future of Sierra Leone and its people. Our aim is to empower every woman, every girl, every man, and every boy no matter from what background, to take advantage of the opportunities of digitalisation, to get better jobs and eventually a better live for them and their families. Therefore, I am glad that our cooperation with Orange works to this end.”
Sekou Amadou Bah, Chief Executive Officer of Orange Sierra Leone says: “We are proud to inaugurate the first Digital Center of its kind in the country. The Orange Digital Center will provide state-of-the-art facilities with free access for all, reinforcing our strong ambition to democratize digital access for young people, especially women, with or without diplomas, to encourage them to pursue their venture into digital entrepreneurship and prepare them for the jobs of tomorrow. More than 1600 young people were already trained at the center with 52% of women in just one year of activity. Everything we need to see Sierra Leonean digital champions emerge tomorrow.”
About Orange Sierra Leone
Orange Sierra Leone is one of the leading telecommunications operators and service provider in Sierra Leone with 373 employees across the country as at 31st December 2022. Orange Sierra Leone was the first Telecoms Company to incorporate a mobile financial services company, Orange Mobile Finance (SL) Limited. It also incorporated the Orange Foundation in 2019, a company dedicated towards meeting the socio-economic needs of the society. The strategic objective of the Orange Sierra Leone is to become a responsible Corporate Social Investor, guided by our Corporate, social, and environmental commitments.
About Orange Middle East and Africa (OMEA)
Orange is present in 18 countries in Africa and the Middle East and has 142 million customers at 30 September 2022. With 6.4 billion euros of revenues in 2021, 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 70 million customers. Orange, multi-services operator, key partner of the digital transformation provides its expertise support the development of new digital services in Africa and the Middle East.
About Orange (Group)
Orange is one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators with sales of 42.5 billion euros in 2021 and 136,500 employees worldwide at 30 September 2022, including 75,000 employees in France. The Group has a total customer base of 286 million customers worldwide at 30 September 2022, including 240 million mobile customers and 24 million fixed broadband customers. The Group is present in 26 countries. Orange 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 “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 Al 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).
For more information on the internet and on your mobile: www.orange.com, www.orange-business.com and the Orange News app or to follow us on Twitter: @orangegrouppr. Orange and any other Orange product or service names included in this material are trademarks of Orange or Orange Brand Services Limited.
About GIZ and develoPPP
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. www.giz.de/en
The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has set up the develoPPP programme 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 programme on behalf of BMZ. www.developpp.de
Orange Sierra Leone
Kamal Abass, Kamalabass@orange.com
+232 76 600 180
Mabel Mason, email@example.com,
+232 76 450 189
Orange GIZ Sierra Leone
Christian Widmann, christian firstname.lastname@example.org +232 78 700 887
Orange Middle East and Africa
Khadija Komara, email@example.com +33676 45 96 18
Anita Oyono, firstname.lastname@example.org
+33 6 75 02 03 79
Orange GIZ Germany
+49 228 4460 4331