Mali is slowly catching upon digital skills and innovation as Orange and the German Cooperation inaugurate an “Orange Digital Center” in Bamako.

This is an ecosystem entirely dedicated to the development of digital skills and innovation, and as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility approach; Orange Mali wishes to support new innovative ideas like these.

During an event attended by the highest political and administrative authorities from Mali, who included the German Ambassador to Mali, Dr. Dietrich Pohl and the French diplomatic representation in Mali, Alioune Ndiaye, Chairman and CEO of Orange Africa and Middle East, Elizabeth Tchoungui, Executive Director of CSR, Diversity and Philanthropy at Orange, Deputy Chair of the Orange Foundation, Sékou Dramé, CEO of Sonatel and Brelotte Ba, Managing Director of Orange Mali.

This follows similar developments in Tunisia, Senegal and Ethiopia now Mali will inaugurate the fourth Orange Digital Center in Africa and the Middle East. 

Spread over 1,557 sq.m, the Orange Digital Center 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.

All of the programmes provided are free-of charge and are open to all. They range from digital training for young people, 90% of which are practical, start-up acceleration, guidance for project bearers and investment.

Available information says these Orange Digital Centers allow 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.

“Moreover, discussions are underway between Orange Mali and the Ministry of Higher Education for the digital transformation of universities in Mali. An Orange Digital Center 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.”

As the leading contributor to digital development in the country, Orange Mali supports the emergence of a creative, prosperous ecosystem that gives digital players the opportunity to create and develop.

Similarly, 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 fulfil 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.

This joint project by Orange and GIZ is an example of successful cooperation between German Cooperation and the private sector.

Because digital technology must provide opportunities for everyone, this initiative fully embodies our commitment as a responsible operator and meets the following six sustainable development objectives: (4) quality education, (5) gender equality, (8) decent work and economic growth, (9) industry, innovation and infrastructure, (10) reduced inequalities and (17) partnerships for goals.

So far, eight Orange Digital Centers have already been opened in the region: Tunisia, Senegal, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Jordan, Morocco, and Mali. This means other inaugurations are still to come in 2021.

Alioune Ndiaye, Chairman and CEO of Orange Africa and the Middle East, expressed his joy of the development. “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 Centers deployed in all the countries where Orange operates to support the start-ups”.

Also, Elizabeth Tchoungui, Executive Director of CSR, Diversity and Philanthropy at Orange, Deputy Chair of the Orange Foundation shared her appreciation saying the new initiative was a key step in their societal commitment in favor 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,” she commented.

Another leading personality who bought into the development was the CEO of Orange Mali, Brelotte BA, who told the delegation that Orange Mali was 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 Center brings together all the necessary skills in a single place to illustrate Orange’s commitment to digital inclusion.”

“The future of Mali is its youth - and digital is the future of the world explained Dr. Dietrich Pohl, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Republic of Mali during the same event.

Orange is present in 18 countries in Africa and the Middle East and has more than 130 million customers at of 31 March 2020. With 5.8 billion euros of revenues in 2020, 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 50 million customers.

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