Orange Group, one of the leading telecom firms in Africa has launched a new investment initiative called Orange Digital Investment, where €50 million is devoted to start-ups in Africa. The Orange Digital Investment was formed by the Orange Digital Ventures Africa, which is the Group’s investment vehicle for early-stage innovation projects in Africa in areas such as new connectives, FinTech, the Internet of Things, energy and e-health.
The firm said in a statement that a dedicated team based in Dakar will be set up next September for the programme in order to respond to the start-ups’ need for responsiveness and simplicity. This new initiative underlines Orange’s commitment in Africa, a growth territory where currently nearly one of every 10 inhabitants is an Orange customer, and its determination to always be a cutting-edge player in digital ecosystems, the statement said. It noted that the move was part of efforts in strengthening its corporate venture strategy by creating a new Africa section. Under the programme, the €50 million would be devoted to direct investments, while the other half is for indirect investments through specialised funding for Africa. According to the statement, the objective is to target start-ups offering responses to Africa’s fundamental challenges while leveraging the operator’s assets on the continent. This support will concern all innovative start-ups, whether they are based geographically in Africa or they address African issues from another continent.
Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Orange and Chairman of Orange Digital Ventures, Pierre Louette, noted that, “Since the beginning of Orange Digital Ventures, the new services and business models in Africa have been one of the priority investment themes of our corporate venture business. “With this announcement, we are engaging a bit further alongside the African digital ecosystem, which like everywhere else and maybe even more than elsewhere carries with it a development challenge.”