Orange is actively participating in the economic development of African countries by placing itself as a multiservice operator, at the service of the continent’s digital transformation.
The evolution of the African continent’s needs
Orange has observed mobile usages in African countries in order to develop services that meet users’ needs. It has not gone unnoticed to the operator, who is represented in 20 countries in Africa, that the population’s enthusiasm for all things digital is on the rise. With a demography made up of 41%(1) of young people under 15, the continent does indeed have a lot of “digital natives”. For Arnauld Blondet, Innovation manager of the MEA (Middle East Africa) region at Orange: “These young people have an extraordinary appetite for digital and it is thanks to this that new usages can be adopted very quickly, more so than in Europe. For example, the majority of them already use mobile money.” Telecommunications have also developed at high speed – in particular thank to Orange’s investments over the past ten years. “Africa has leapfrogged, i.e. the continent has made a phenomenal and historical catch-up. Ten years ago, there was only 2G, and it was only used for voice, whereas today internet use is predominant.” In the majority of the 20 countries in which Orange is present, indeed users access the internet via 4G. The smartphone market is also set to extend considerably with, by 2020, 660 million African smartphone owners(2). Our ambition, for several years now, has been to provide services that live up to this evolution of usages and needs. This means being a multiservice operator, who is a reference partner in the digital transformation of the continent, as this will have a tangible impact on the economic development.”
A multiservice approach
In keeping with the content (music, current events, news) services available for smartphones that it offers, Orange is now extending its offering to multiple digital services in many areas:
- Banking services
With only 15.7%(3) of people using bank accounts, the financing of Africa’s economic activity is being held back. So, Orange has developed the money transfer and mobile payment service Orange Money. It enables subscribers to deposit money onto an account that is linked to their mobile number, to make withdrawals, buy telephone credits, transfer money, or pay their bills (water, electricity, television, school fees). This service is already used by over 35 million people on the continent. Building on this success, the operator is extending this offering to other services such as insurance and loans.
Thanks to the opening up of regulatory frameworks in Africa, Orange has developed services in the energy sector with Orange Smart Metering. Thanks to IoT (Internet of Things) technology, it is now possible to deploy smart meters that enable local electricity operators to more easily collect payment from their customers, to combat fraud, and to work around the difficulties linked to the networks’ disrepair. Orange has also launched the Orange Energy service, which enables inhabitants to rent an “energy box”, a solar panel kit, so as to compensate for the inadequacies of the electricity production in certain areas.
The agricultural sector accounts for 61% of employment and 36%(4) of the continent’s GDB. To help fight the effects of climate change that compromise both production and rearing, or still the proliferation of diseases that affect plants and animals, Orange has developed mobile services such as mAgri. Through their smartphone, farmers can receive information relating to weather forecasts or the evolution of production prices; but also increase their income thanks to the provision of a marketplace dedicated to exchanges between buyers and sellers of agricultural goods. Thanks to IoT, Orange is also developing services which, with real-time information reporting, will provide farmers with precious decision support tools.
Africa is the youngest continent in the world and all of this living strength needs to be trained in the trades of the new economy. These professions are of course all those linked to new technologies (webmaster, community manager, website designer, mobile developer, etc.). Orange is pursuing the ambition to develop educational programmes that will enable the countries to master the knowledge and expertise linked to digital.
- Health, entrepreneurship
Orange isn’t stopping here, because it is otherwise active in the area of health. Indeed, the operator is establishing partnerships with different governments and NGOs so as to provide them with health and epidemiological data analysis services, and is participating in the development of telemedicine in rural areas. It is also active in the area of entrepreneurship through the setting up of startup accelerators: The Orange Fabs. Present inter alia in Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, and Cameroon, these centres enable entrepreneurs to be supported in their development, from the financing of their projects to the development of their products and services.Thanks to the spread of internet access and the use of smartphones in Africa, Orange offers services that contribute to the digital transformation of the continent and thus its economic development. The group offers innovative offerings, at the cutting edge of technology, and is backed up by an extensive network of local expertise. “With a simple smartphone that fits in the hand, Africans have in their possession, thanks to the internet accesses and the many digital services that we have developed, an extremely powerful tool that will profoundly change the economic landscape of their countries”, concludes Arnauld Blondet.
1 – Injeep, Proportion des moins de 15 ans dans la population mondiale
2 – Rapport Deloitte, TMT Prédictions Afrique 2018, avril 2018
3 – Jeune Afrique, Bancarisation, la rentabilité ne se mesure pas à court terme, 11/2017
4 – FARM, International conference 8 December 2016 “Employment in Africa: what if the agri-food sector was a solution?”