Contribute to economic and social development
Orange serves 263 million customers in 29 countries across Europe, Africa and the Middle East, actively participating in the socio-economic development of each of our operating countries. Our broad footprint means we have a strong responsibility with clear objectives: to make digital technology a catalyst for everyone’s progress.
Fighting the digital divide through the right to connect
ICT has become an essential tool for accessing technology and education as well as commercial, social and business services. So much so that it has become a fundamental need. That’s why we promote the “right to connect” as a complementary objective to the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We are helping to reduce the digital divide in all its forms – economic, physical and cultural – along with sources of exclusion.
We are expanding the coverage of our fixed and mobile networks by accelerating fibre and 4G deployment across Europe, Africa and the Middle East and helping to reduce coverage dead zone. In 2016, 10 countries had 4G coverage and 21 countries had 3G coverage in Africa and the Middle East. In Europe, we are increasing both population coverage and network speeds – the coverage rate for Belgium and Poland increased to 99% in 2016.
At the same time, we’re committed to help overcome barriers to digital in Africa and the Middle East by designing innovative solutions that meet local needs. For example, we have deployed solar base stations and community phones in the most rural and remote African communities.
Through the Orange Foundation we also fight against the factors for exclusion linked to education or cultural or social issues.
- We provide 4G coverage in 18 countries
- 11,000 women welcomed in 118 Digital Centers (48 in France)
- 8,000 unemployed young people have received training in digital production across our 61 Solidarity FabLabs
Designing new and essential services
ICT solutions are a real driver of progress and economic and social development, so long as they are designed to meet specific needs – for example, finance, agriculture, access to energy, healthcare or the empowerment of women – and are adapted to the target country’s specific situation.
Some countries with few or no banks have high mobile penetration rates. That’s why we developed Orange Money, an application that enables instant and secure mobile money transfers and payments. Since its launch, further Orange Money solutions have been created: Orange Collecte in Côte d’Ivoire which is a crowdfunding platform for mobile money users and Cash à domicile in Senegal, a cash withdrawal or deposit service for Orange Money which can be accessed from home.
In addition, access to electricity is a prerequisite for any development, but it remains unavailable to more than half of the African population, some 620 million people. We are contributing to energy development in rural and remote areas by offering electricity supply and distribution solutions in partnership with ENGIE, in particular in the form of individual solar kits. The first pilot projects were launched in Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon and Senegal at the end of 2016.
Finally, our ambition is maximise digital access for women, who are still less connected than their male counterparts. This is part of our m-Women approach, which aims to promote women’s empowerment through essential services tailored to their needs. For example, the partnership between Orange Senegal and the start-up Sooreful (a web platform that sells local products from women’s communities) had involved 3,540 women from rural areas directly or indirectly by late 2016.
- 29 million Orange Money customers and 8 million users every day in 17 countries across Africa and the Middle East.
Supporting local entrepreneurship and innovative ecosystems
We support start-ups and SMEs whose activities contribute to their local socio-economic development. In France, for example, we help #FrenchTech national and regional public initiatives through our active involvement in the digital ecosystems of the 13 French Tech cities and selling their connected objects in our sales channels.
The Orange Social Venture Prize in Africa and the Middle East has been going since 2011. This competition aims to reward the most innovative and socially responsible business projects that leverage ICT solutions to respond to local needs. The Grand Prize winners each receive financial support plus six months of customised digital mentoring and advice from our experts.
We don’t just support start-ups; we also contribute to the ecosystem that surrounds them to promote synergies, knowledge sharing, innovation and co-creation. Orange has created incubators to help entrepreneurs get their start-ups off the ground in France or Africa. Orange Fab runs accelerators across four continents to help young start-ups develop in the best possible business environment. Last but not least, Orange Digital Ventures finances start-ups around the world.
- 235 start-ups accelerated by Orange Fab by the end of 2016
- 5 incubators in Africa