Orange (www.Orange.com) launches officially in Kinshasa, the 15th Orange Digital Center (ODC), an ecosystem entirely dedicated to the development of digital skills and innovation, in presence of high-level Congolese political and academic authorities, members of Orange DRC Management, members of Orange Middle East and Africa Board and the Orange Group Executive Committee.
Following in the footsteps of Tunisia, Senegal, Ethiopia, Mali, Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Egypt, Jordan, Madagascar, Morocco, Liberia, Botswana, Guinea, Sierra Leone, it is in Democratic Republic of Congo that the 15th Orange Digital Center in Africa and the Middle East is inaugurated.
With a floor space spreading over 590 sq. m, it brings together four strategic programs of the Orange group, namely: A coding school (Digital Academy), a solidarity FabLab – a digital manufacturing workshops, an Orange Fab start-up accelerator, as well as the Orange Ventures Middle East and Africa, the investment fund of Orange Group that invests in the most talented startups.
All these programs are free and open to all. They range from practical digital training for young people, to support for project leaders, to accelerating and investing in start-ups.
Working as a network, the Orange Digital Centers allows 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.
Officially inaugurated today, the Orange Digital Center in Democratic Republic of Congo is already operational to host several digital trainings and events; at this time, more than 1,700 learners have been trained. In addition, Orange DRC, in partnership with universities, will train students for free and roll out Orange Digital Center Clubs, extensions of the Orange Digital Center within some universities in the regions. Thus, it will complete the education system to give as many people as possible access to new technologies and support them in using these technologies to their full extent. The cities selected for these deployments are Kananga, Lubumbashi, and Matadi in the second half of 2023.
Orange is committed to fulfilling its vision, which is to foster youth employability while supporting sustainable growth and the country’s digital transformation agenda. The programme is also built to advance gender equality and inclusion by promoting access for women and girls to ICT jobs.
Through digital technology, this initiative is fully in line with the vision of the Head of State, His Excellency Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo, expressed in the National Digital Plan in its project 22 “creation of technology centers, cyberlabs, tele-centers, and other media libraries … for the digital economy” and focuses on the following sustainable development goals in line with the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: (SDG 4) quality education, (SDG 5) gender equality, (SDG 8) decent work and economic growth, (SDG 9) industry, innovation, and infrastructure, (SDG 10) reduced inequalities and (SDG 17) partnerships for goals.
Jérôme Hénique, CEO of Orange Middle East and Africa says:
“I am very pleased to be present for the launch of our 15th Orange Digital Center today in Kinshasa, which is part of a network of 25 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 digital services, and thus develop the digital economy of Democratic Republic of Congo.”
Elizabeth Tchoungui, Executive Director in charge of Corporate Social Responsibility, Orange Group adds:
“This great project is a key step in our societal responsibility for digital inclusion, especially for young people and women. The solidarity Fablab, 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: the beginning of a beautiful journey that, through the development of technical skills and through the complementarity of the systems deployed, goes up to the creation of businesses.”
Ben Cheick Haidara, CEO of Orange DRC says:
“Orange DRC’s commitment to digital inclusion is a reality. As a partner in digital transformation, we are taking a leading role in the socio-economic development of the country by setting up innovative ecosystems and specific mechanisms to develop entrepreneurship, including the Orange Digital Center and the Orange Social Venture Prize (OSVP). With the Orange Digital Centers Club soon to be set up in the universities of the regions of Kananga, Lubumbashi, and Matadi, we will provide all the essential skills to give the greatest number of people access to new technologies and help them use them fully.”