Africa is in the spotlight at Viva Technology 2018! As one of the cornerstones of the event, Afric@Tech will bring together start-ups, investors and businesses at the forefront of the continent’s digital transformation to highlight this rapidly growing ecosystem. Here’s a round-up of everything happening in African digital innovation along with the dedicated initiatives Orange has put in place.
A digital and entrepreneurial boom right across the content
Already an extremely dynamic market, Africa is poised to become a high growth target with an estimated population of 1.4 billion people by 2021 – owning one billion smartphones between them. The priority today extends beyond network accessibility into the energy sector. While many players, with Orange as a leader, are investing heavily in connectivity, the African digital ecosystem is also developing solutions based on ‘low-tech’ resources.
Africa, land of the mobile payment
Low penetration rates in terms of banking and Internet connectivity in Africa have brought about the development of other peer-to-peer payment methods that can adapt to local constraints. Among the more famous is Orange Money (opens in a new window). Born from a much-needed innovation – exchange of Orange credit between customers to replace cash – this solution processed transactions worth a total of 14.5 billion dollars in 2016. This success is partly due to its technical simplicity, as it’s based on SMS and USSD.
USSD, SMS and API, spearheads of digital innovation
The USSD protocol enables mobile phones to access digital services using 2G connectivity and SMS communication for updating a social media status, making an online purchase or carrying out a peer-peer payment. Automating these inexpensive bearers through APIs can lead to powerful new uses, especially in the fields of connected agriculture, e-health and e-commerce (opens in a new window).
Orange APIs for Africa and the Middle East
To help developers and mobile service providers overcome certain barriers to development, Orange offers a suite of dedicated APIs which are organised around three pillars:
- communication: SMS APIs (opens in a new window), automate communication between services and are now available in 10 countries, with more countries coming on board soon in Africa and the Middle East.
- distribution: #303# My Store (opens in a new window), the Orange USSD platform enables all mobile users to access digital services.
- payment: Direct Carrier Billing (opens in a new window) and Orange Money Web Payment (opens in a new window) make it easier to pay for mobile services.
Discover more about these APIs and more on the Orange Developer (opens in a new window) website, and find out how they can help you develop, distribute and monetise digital services in Africa and the Middle East.
Presenting at VivaTech 2018
Orange will be surrounded by several start-ups that focus on Africa and the Middle East, including several from the Orange Fab network. Among them, you’ll be able to meet:
- Africa’s Talking (opens in a new window): leader provider of communication and mobile payment APIs to developers (Kenya – financed by ODV (opens in a new window)).
- Afrimarket (opens in a new window): a ‘cash-to-goods’ transfer service that’s less expensive than its traditional competitors (France – financed by ODV (opens in a new window)).
- Bizao (opens in a new window): pan-African digital platform for companies wishing to launch digital services in Africa (France – Orange intrapreneurship (opens in a new window)).
- CoinAfrique (opens in a new window): mobile peer-peer sales app (Senegal/Spain – partnership with Orange).
- Coliba (opens in a new window): technology for recycling plastic waste through a web, mobile and SMS app (Côte d’Ivoire – supported by the Entrepreneur Club (opens in a new window)).
- Enova Robotics (opens in a new window): R&D development and specialist in robotics and surveillance cameras in schools (Tunisia – accelerated by Orange Fab).
- Eteyelo Services (opens in a new window): design, creation and production of digital educational tools, including parent-child payment platforms (DRC – supported by the Entrepreneur Club (opens in a new window)).
- Mashrou3na (opens in a new window): AI systems testing and applications related to augmented reality, virtual reality and data mining (Jordan – accelerated by Orange Fab).
- Saleem Application (opens in a new window): application that simplifies on-demand medical visits (Jordan – accelerated by Orange Fab).
- Seejal Inc. (opens in a new window): Arabic language news aggregator (Morocco/Belgium).
What’s more, don’t miss the VivaTech International Demo Day where start-ups from the last season of Orange Fab from Africa and the Middle East, Europe and Asia will come and pitch their solution to the world!
Orange, partner for digital transformation in Africa and the Middle East
For several years, Orange has provided financial and personal support systems to help accelerate start-ups in this region. Here’s a recap.
- Orange Fab Côte d’Ivoire (opens in a new window): a 12-week start-up accelerator designed to help new businesses in the Ivorian market that have developed a product that improves people’s quality of life.
- Orange Fab Senegal (opens in a new window): accelerator based in Senegal for start-ups that already have an existing product or service and are looking for operational support to bring it to market.
- Orange Digital Ventures (opens in a new window): Orange Group investment fund which now has a dedicated fund for Africa as one of its axes for development.
- Entrepreneur Club (opens in a new window): giving start-ups the benefit of Orange expertise and advice, along with greater development opportunities through the Orange Social Venture Prize (opens in a new window).
- Teranga Capital (opens in a new window): first investment company dedicated to financing and supporting high-potential SMEs in Senegal.
> “We highlight African entrepreneurs who can show the way for others” : interview with Ludovic Centonze, Orange Fab International Business Development.
> Infographic: Orange Digital Ventures Africa (opens in a new window)