GIZ, (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit), Orange, the Ministry of Innovation and Technology, the Ethiopian Investment Commission and the Industrial Parks Development Corporation are launching the Addis Ababa Orange Digital Center, an ecosystem that is entirely dedicated to digital skills and innovation. The launch took place in the presence of H.E Dr. Abraham Belay, Minister of Innovation & Technology, H.E Lelise Neme, Commissioner of the Ethiopian Investment Commission, H.E. Sandokan Debebe, CEO at Industrial Parks Development Corporation, Mr. Alioune Ndiaye, C.E.O of Orange Middle East & Africa, Mr. Peter Palesch, GIZ Country Director, H.E Stephan Auer, German Ambassador in Ethiopia and H.E Rémi Maréchaux, French Ambassador in Ethiopia.
Following launches in Tunisia and Senegal, Ethiopia will be home to the third Orange Digital Center in Africa and the Middle East. Occupying a space of 500m2, it is the first center in East Africa that will operate as a strategic network, allowing experiences and expertise to be shared between countries and offering a simple and inclusive approach to strengthen the employability of young people, to encourage innovative entrepreneurship and to promote the local digital ecosystem.
The purpose of Orange Digital Centers is to bring together several strategic programmes under the same roof: a coding school, a “FabLab Solidaire”, a startup accelerator “Orange Fab” and Orange Ventures Africa, the Group’s investment fund. All of the programmes provided are free-of charge, open to all and include digital training for young people, 90% of which are practical training, start-up acceleration, guidance for project bearers and investment.
Orange and GIZ are working together in a development partnership of the develoPPP.de programme, which GIZ implements on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The project is supported by BMZ’s Special Initiative on Training and Job Creation, which also operates under the brand Invest for Jobs. The know-how of Orange in training and supporting young people in the field of digital skills and innovation will be complemented by GIZ’s extensive experience and local expertise in addressing the challenges inherent in the employability and entrepreneurship of young Ethiopians. Together with the Ethiopian partners, the GIZ and Orange hope to achieve their shared vision of greater youth employability –- including more women and girls in ICT jobs –- while supporting the country’s sustainable growth and digital transformation.
“Building the “Digital and Innovation Ecosystem” is a multi-stakeholders agenda that requires holistic policy envisioning, vibrant enabling system and innovative and efficient collaboration among stakeholders like this “Responsible” move of Orange and parties involved: I must acknowledge and encourage, indeed it is an initiative worth investing on.” Said H.E Dr. Abraham Belay, Minister of Innovation & Technology.
“Ethiopia has a young, dynamic and trainable workforce, as well as supportive policies to enable the launching of a project as Orange Digital Center. We therefore welcomed this initiative with great enthusiasm and have been supporting it since day one. Young Ethiopians will have the opportunity to develop world-class technological skills here. Young people, innovation and technology are key to shaping the future of Ethiopia.” Said H.E Lelise Neme, Commissioner of the Ethiopian Investment Commission.
“We are excited about the launching of an Orange Digital Center at the IPDC’s ICT park. We are working hard in order to create world class ICT industries in Ethiopia. We believe that the skills that will be developed here will be very precious to support the IPDC’s goal of making ICT park as a central hub to Africa, place of technological knowledge transfer, an opportunity for IT base job creations and a base for country’s progress towards becoming the middle-income economy.” Said H.E. Sandokan Debebe, CEO at Industrial Parks Development Corporation.
“I am very proud to launch with all our partners the third Orange Digital Center in Addis-Ababa, which will be part of a network of 32 Orange Digital Centers based across two continents: Africa/Middle East and Europe. With the support of GIZ, Orange supports East Africa’s digital ecosystem by providing young Ethiopians with all its technological know-how to create more job opportunities. This program will be complemented by two ODC Clubs that will be deployed swiftly in different regions to reach out to even more young people. I would like to remind you that we are planning to launch other Orange Digital Centers by the end of the year in Africa and the Middle-East.” Said Mr. Alioune Ndiaye, CEO of Orange Middle East & Africa.
“The Orange Digital Center contributes to Ethiopia’s digital transformation while creating local employment prospects for young people. It shows Germany’s and the EU´s commitment to promote inclusive and human-centred digitization worldwide.” Said H.E Stephan Auer, German Ambassador in Ethiopia.
Orange is present in 18 countries in Africa and the Middle East and has 128 million customers at of 31 December 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. Orange, multi-services operator, key partner of the digital transformation provides its expertise to support the development of new digital services in Africa and the Middle East.