International (and pan-African) operator Orange and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH have inaugurated a new Orange Digital Centre in Bamako.
GIZ is a federal enterprise operating worldwide. It supports the German government in the fields of international cooperation for sustainable development and international education.
The Orange Digital Centre is described as an ecosystem entirely dedicated to the development of digital skills and innovation. The launch ceremony was attended by a number of senior political and administrative figures from Mali, Germany and France, as well as executives from Orange.
The Orange Digital Centre in Mali is spread over 1,557 square metres and brings together the four strategic programmes of the Orange group: a coding school (Orange Digital Kalanso); a FabLab Solidaire (one of the Orange Foundation's digital manufacturing workshops); an Orange Fab start-up accelerator; and Orange Ventures Africa (the Orange Group investment fund).
The programmes provided are free of charge and open to all. They range from digital training for young people, 90 percent of which is practical, to start-up acceleration, project guidance and investment.
Orange says that its Digital Centres allow experiences and expertise to be shared between countries and offer a simple and inclusive approach to improving young people's employability, encouraging innovative entrepreneurship and promoting the local digital ecosystem.
As for Mali, discussions are now underway between Orange Mali and the Ministry of Higher Education for the digital transformation of universities in Mali. An Orange Digital Centre Club will be installed in each university in the region to give as many people as possible access to new technologies and support in using them to their full extent.
So far, eight Orange Digital Centres have already been opened in the region: Tunisia, Senegal, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Jordan, Morocco, and Mali. Further inaugurations are planned in 2021.