Orange SL Opens 14th Digital Center

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Orange SL and the German Development Cooperation has on Friday 10th February 2023 inaugurated its 14th fully operational and equipped Orange Digital Center in Bo for hosting several digital trainings and events in Sierra Leone.

In his address during the ceremony, the Chief Executive Officer, Orange Sierra Leone, Sekou Amadou Bah, described the inauguration ceremony of the 14th Orange Digital Center as a remarkable day for them as it the first digital ecosystem entirely dedicated to the development of digital skills and innovation in Sierra Leone, adding that Orange is very proud to join in the footsteps of 13 other Orange Affiliates in Africa and the Middle East in accelerating innovation and digital growth.

He informed the gathering that the Orange Digital Center will provide state of the art facilities that are free for all, reinforcing their strong ambition to democratize digital access for young people, especially women, to give them an opportunity to pursue their venture into digital entrepreneurship.

Mr, Bah also said that the Digital Center concretely, composed of a coding school, a solidarity Fablab which is a digital manufacturing workshop, an Orange Fab, start-up accelerator and supported by Orange Ventures Africa and Middle East, the investment fund of Orange Group that invests in the most talented startups.

“Orange Digital Center supports the development of innovative entrepreneurship with adapted support throughout the startup’s life cycle. In 2022, out of 17 countries, the international Orange Social Venture Prize was won by a Sierra Leonean, Joseph Koroma, who was present in the center with us today, for his innovative project, life blood and was awarded a grand prize of 25,000 Euros. Joseph now employs 20 learners from the Orange Digital Center in his start-up, which is a nice proof of the synergies that exist within the ODC community,” he disclosed.

He stated that within just one year of existence, more than 1600 young people have been trained through their Orange Digital Center and in the Community Centers in regions, 52% of which are women, furthering that as a company and through their Orange Digital Center, it is their commitment to ensure that young people have the needed skills to be competitive in the job market, and also get the needed resources and mentoring to become entrepreneurs and support the socio economic development of our Mama Salone.

The CEO maintained that the inauguration of the Orange digital Center continues to echoes their strong commitment towards supporting the government’s National Innovation and Digital Strategy to boost digital transformation through enhanced digital skills and to facilitate the growth of digital tools as critical enablers for our digital economy.

He also thanked his partner, the German Cooperation, with whom they share a common goal to train young people in digital skills, improve their employability and boost entrepreneurship. He further extended his thanks to their counterpart in Sonatel and the Orange Group for proving Sierra Leone with this great opportunity, the former CEO of Orange Sierra Leone, Mrs. Aminata Kane Ndiaye for laying the foundation of the groundwork to launch the Orange Digital Center Sierra Leone, Jestina Betts and her efficient team for their immense work to set up and run the ODC.

The Director of Audit, Risk and Quality Management at Sonatel, Afissatou Sall Gaye, also reiterated that the Digital Center will help train thousands of Sierra Leoneans free of charge in new digital technologies, to make them become producers of content and technologies, well beyond simple consumers and reinforce their employability.

She maintained that through the strengthening of its network, the Orange Digital Center enables a great exchange of experiences and expertise from one country to another and offers a simple and inclusive approach to encourage innovation, entrepreneurship and support the local digital fabric and that it will provide a real and concrete impact to all the actors of the digital economy and will give opportunities to innovators to work together beyond borders.

“The establishment of our Orange Digital Center is one of the testaments that Orange is here to stay! To enhance our capacity for future investment in the country, we need the support of the government to create an enabling fiscal regime that will foster the success of Orange and strengthen the sustainability of our investment to continue to make meaningful impact on the young Sierra Leoneans and enhancing job creation and entrepreneurship,” she revealed.

The Deputy CEO of Orange Middle East and Africa Brelotte Ba, says: ” 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.”

The Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Republic of Sierra Leone, Jens Kraus-Massé, notes: ” 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 digitalization, 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.

Other dignitaries which include the Chief Minister of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Jacob Jusu Saffa, the Deputy Minister of Information and Communications, Solomon Jamiru also made statement at the ceremony.

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