French multinational Orange Telecom has launched a digital centre in Kinshasa, dedicated to the development of digital skills and innovation.
The centre is the 15 for the telco, after the establishment of Orange Digital Centers in Tunisia, Senegal, Ethiopia, Mali, Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Egypt, Jordan, Madagascar, Morocco, Liberia, Botswana, Guinea, Sierra Leone and the Middle East.
Working as a network, the Orange Digital Centers, allow experiences and expertise to be shared between countries and ‘offer an inclusive approach to improve young people’s employability, encourage innovative entrepreneurship and promote the local digital ecosystem’.
Orange officially inaugurated its digital centre in Democratic Republic of Congo on Saturday 4 March, at an event attended by high-level Congolese political and academic authorities, members of Orange DRC management, members of Orange Middle East and Africa board and the Orange Group executive committee.
The centre, with a floor space spreading over 590 sq. m, houses Orange’s four strategic programmes, namely: a coding school, a solidarity FabLab, an Orange Fab start-up accelerator, as well as the Orange Ventures Middle East and Africa, the investment fund of the telco that invests in startups.
Orange said the centre in DRC is already operational, and has hosted several digital training sessions and events; and more than 1 700 learners have been trained.
In addition, it said: “Orange DRC, 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 complete the education system to give as many people as possible access to new technologies and support them in using these technologies to their full extent. The cities selected for these deployments are Kananga, Lubumbashi, and Matadi in the second half of 2023.
“Orange is committed to fulfilling its vision, which is to foster youth employability while supporting sustainable growth and the country’s digital transformation agenda. The programme is also built to advance gender equality and inclusion by promoting access for women and girls to ICT jobs.”
Jérôme Hénique, CEO of Orange Middle East and Africa, commented: “I am very pleased to be present in Kinshasa for the launch of our 15th Orange Digital Center, which is part of a network of 25 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 democratise 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 digital services, and thus develop the digital economy of Democratic Republic of Congo.”
Ben Cheick Haidara, CEO of Orange DRC, says: “Orange DRC’s commitment to digital inclusion is a reality. As a partner in digital transformation, we are taking a leading role in the socio-economic development of the country by setting up innovative ecosystems and specific mechanisms to develop entrepreneurship, including the Orange Digital Center and the Orange Social Venture Prize.
“With the Orange Digital Centers Club soon to be set up in the universities of the regions of Kananga, Lubumbashi, and Matadi, we will provide all the essential skills to give the greatest number of people access to new technologies and help them to use them fully.”