French telecommunications firm Orange and the German Cooperation have inaugurated Orange Digital Centre in Bamako, Mali, an ecosystem entirely dedicated to the development of digital skills and innovation.
Following on from Tunisia, Senegal and Ethiopia, Mali is home to the newest Orange Digital Centre.
Spread over 1,557 sq.m, the Centre 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.
Working as a network, Orange Digital Centres have been established to allow experiences and expertise to be shared between countries.
According to the stakeholders, and offer a simple and inclusive approach to improve young people’s employability, encourage innovative entrepreneurship and promote the local digital ecosystem.
Discussions are underway between Orange Mali and the Ministry of Higher Education for the digital transformation of universities in Mali.
An Orange Digital Centre 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.
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 fulfill 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.
To date, eight Orange Digital Centres have already been opened in the region: Tunisia, Senegal, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Jordan, Morocco, and Mali.
Alioune Ndiaye, Chairman and CEO of Orange Africa and the Middle East, said: “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 Centres deployed in all the countries where Orange operates to support the start-ups. The main objective is to democratise 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 added: “This new initiative is a key step in our societal commitment in favour 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 said: “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 Centre brings together all the necessary skills in a single place to illustrate Orange’s commitment to digital inclusion.”
Dr Dietrich Pohl, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Republic of Mali said: “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 labour market as well as to entrepreneurship so that they can fully contribute to a better future for their generation and Mali as a whole.”