The inaugural GSMA Thrive Africa took place between 29 September and 1 October 2020. Orange, aware of the key role operators play in promoting a more inclusive digital world, took part in this 100% virtual event. Dedicated to “connectivity and propelling digital advancement for a better future”, the forum brought together a hundred industry leaders, among them Stéphane Richard, Orange CEO and Chairman of GSMA, and Alioune Ndiaye, Orange CEO, Middle East and Africa. Orange also used the event to launch two solutions that promote digital equality on the continent. Here are the highlights.
Fighting all forms of digital exclusion
When we talk about the digital divide, we often think of it primarily as a question of internet connectivity. However, as Stéphane Richard highlighted in his speech, inequalities related to use are six times greater: “3.4 billion people in the world live in regions covered by a mobile network; however, they cannot use mobile data, either because they can’t afford a smartphone or mobile services, or because the content doesn’t meet their needs, or because they don’t know how to use it.”
From more affordable phones and data plans to digital training and network infrastructure in rural areas… the mobile phone industry is stepping up its efforts to help reduce digital inequalities on the African continent. “In just three years, the price of a GB of data has fallen 40%, but there is still a lot to do. Now more than ever, mobile connectivity has demonstrated its ability to support our lives and the economy as a whole. it is the cornerstone for a large-scale recovery and transformation of our world,” he continued.
Supporting Africa’s digital transition
Alioune Ndiaye emphasised how Orange was committed to Africa’s digital transformation. With operations in 18 countries on the continent, we now offer a wide range of mobile financial services such as Orange Money (54 million subscribers) and Orange Bank Africa and we’re also active in the areas of energy, health and education. “We’ve just launched the MEA Seed Challenge, a competition aimed at financing African start-ups with high potential in the field of new technologies,” highlighted Alioune Ndiaye.
We also encourage skills development in young people through our Orange Digital Centers, already up and running in Tunis and Dakar. “Open to everyone, these centres aim to train tomorrow’s digital professionals.”
Building on the success of GSMA Thrive Africa, the GSMA will be launching MWC Africa, a new flagship event for the global mobile industry in Africa as of next year. It will be hosted in the Rwandan capital Kigali from 28 to 30 September 2021.
Two new Orange initiatives promoting digital equality
At GSMA Thrive Africa, Orange announced the launch of the Sanza touch in collaboration with Google, the most affordable 4G Android device on the market (around $30). This exclusive Orange smartphone will help us democratise mobile internet access by lifting the barrier to device pricing and ease of use.
The Group also unveiled Orange Campus Africa, an online training platform for students and professionals, designed in partnership with the Virtual University of Senegal.