17h | Melanie Mingas
French operator Orange has enhanced its operations in Africa with the launch of an online learning scheme and the most affordable 4G Android device.
Today, the Orange Campus Africa debuted, an online training platform hosted out of Orange’s Côte d’Ivoire data centre facility. Training is adapted to local cultural and economic nuances and content has been optimised to be accessed via smartphone, with mobile payments in local currencies for such things as certifications.
Orange Campus Africa was launched in partnership with the Virtual University of Senegal (UVS), the Orange Campus Africa offers courses from the virtual universities of Tunis and Senegal, the French digital universities UNIT (Engineering and Technology) and AUNEGE (Economics and Management), the training firm Finafrique and EPITA Graduate School of Computer Science.
A dozen other European and African institutions have confirmed they will distribute their training “very soon”, according to Orange.
In addition, Orange Labs is offering training on the basics of programming, and GSMA is using the platform to offer content on internet literacy to combat the digital divide.
Small organisations offering training, such as start-ups or local organisations, will also be able to host their content and gain visibility.
“Orange wanted to offer a global platform that would meet the specific needs of African populations, universities and businesses”, said Alioune Ndiaye (pictured), CEO Orange Middle East and Africa.
“We want universities to be able to rely on online training to provide additional training and target more students. Students and professionals will also be able to take these courses on a personal basis and obtain a certification or even a diploma recognised in their country. It is a big step forward, with the African institutions, which have the potential to positively impact training and thus employment in our countries,” he added.
The Campus launch followed a collaboration between Orange and Google that will see the world’s most affordable 4G Android (Go edition) device debut in Africa.
The Sanza touch smartphone has a four-inch screen, 8GB memory and a 1750mAh battery, offering more than four hours battery life while streaming videos. Available from October, it will be bundled in a mobile data plan for around US$30 – a price point Orange and Google said is intended to drive digital inclusion and provide more people access to mobile internet.
The Sanza range debuted in 13 MEA countries in April 2019. The Sanza touch smartphone will be sold in most countries in the MEA region, starting with Guinea Bissau, Côte d’Ivoire and Madagascar.
Alioune Ndiaye, CEO of Orange Middle East and Africa, said: “Orange wants to strongly accelerate access to connectivity on the African continent. One of the barriers to Internet use is the price and ease of use of most smartphones. The partnership with Google to offer the Sanza touch smartphone for sale will enable us to solve this problem thanks to its affordable price and advanced functionalities. While 90% of the world’s population is now covered by mobile broadband, 3.3 billion people who live in areas covered by mobile broadband remain unconnected for reasons such as affordability, low levels of literacy and digital skills.”
Highlighting its business case for the new device, Orange said the average cost of an entry-level smartphone in Africa still exceeds 60% of average monthly income making smartphones largely inaccessible for the majority of the population.
Google’s Mariam Abdullahi, the director of platform partnerships, Android and Play in Africa, added: “Our mission at Google has always been to ‘organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible to everyone’. We deliver this mission through building and providing our products and services via key partnerships like this one with Orange. We are excited about the endless possibilities this Sanza touch smartphone will present in learning, economic opportunities and digital accessibility.
“The goal of our Android devices, including this first-of-its kind highly affordable Android (Go edition) device is to bring the power of computing equitably to all. We can only achieve this mission if everyone is able to access devices at affordable price points to use in their daily lives and have access to the benefits presented by the digital world.”