Orange MEA and Digital Africa sign strategic partnership to support African start-ups

By : Muriel Edjo

Date : jeudi, 15 juin 2023 11:53

In the digital age, tech entrepreneurs have a growing potential to create wealth and jobs in Africa. However, they face several challenges that require urgent measures to encourage local talent and promote access to financing. 

Last Wednesday, telecom operator Orange Africa and Middle East (OMEA) and pan-African digital initiative Digital Africa signed a strategic partnership agreement to foster the growth of African startups. The agreement was signed by Jérôme Hénique, CEO of Orange Africa and Middle East (OMEA), and  Isadora Bigourdan, CEO of Digital Africa, on the sidelines of the 2023 edition of tech conference VivaTech, ongoing in Paris, France.

Under the agreement, the two entities will identify and select promising technology start-ups across the African continent. Those selected will be able to access a range of resources, including mentoring programs, technical assistance, funding mobilization, and networking opportunities through the Orange Digital Center and the Digital Africa community.

According to Isadora Bigourdan, digital talent is the key to transforming the African continent. "...This partnership with the Orange Digital Centers is fully in line with our deployment strategy, which aims to identify promising entrepreneurs at the onset, and facilitate their access to support, financing, and advocacy tools through an international network of allies," she said. 

"...This collaboration with Digital Africa [...] adds an essential component to our current network of Orange Digital Centers, by simplifying access to flexible financing solutions, specially designed to meet the needs of entrepreneurs in their seed phase. This collaboration represents real added value and will help stimulate the growth of the African startup ecosystem," added Jérôme Hénique.

Orange Digital Center (ODC) is an ecosystem deployed in 17 Middle East and African countries and 8 European countries.  It supports, trains, and mentors young people and the bearers of innovative ideas, to enhance their employability and prepare them for the jobs of the future (AI, cybersecurity, ...) or to encourage them to become digital entrepreneurs. Each ODC hosts a range of free programs open to all, from digital training for young people to start-up acceleration, as well as support and investment in project leaders.

The cooperation with Digital Africa is in line with some of the recommendations made, in 2022, by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change to enable African start-ups to raise more than $90 billion by 2030 and make Africa a superpower in the technology sector.

The recommendations included developing innovative financing vehicles, unlocking capital from institutional investors and corporates, building the capacity of start-ups and support organizations, and launching a "pan-African start-up network".

Muriel Edjo


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