Orange targets speed, access gains in West Africa - Mobile World Live

Orange targets speed, access gains in West Africa

10 NOV 2020

Alioune Ndiaya, CEO of Orange Middle East and Africa, highlighted the need to develop digital skills and a local ecosystem, with its pan-African fibre network Djoliba designed as a catalyst for growth by increasing connection speeds for mobile customers, content companies and B2B clients.

The operator today (10 November) launched the first high-speed fibre network in West Africa which will connect eight capital cities in the region seamlessly, eliminating interconnection points at borders.

A key objective of the new cable network is to make 3G, 4G and 5G services more reliable and bring down tariffs in the region, the company said in an online briefing.

Ndiaya said Djoliba will be a key feature for Africa’s digital transformation. “Local populations will be able to access healthcare or educational services more easily, as well as the applications offered by cloud computing.”

He added development of access to digital technology is a key challenge for Africa.

GSMA figures showed there were more than 350 million mobile internet users in Africa at the end of 2019, which is a 20-times increase compared to 15 years ago.

However, he stressed that gaps between countries remain enormous. “Landlocked countries as well as highly unstable countries have extremely limited access to the internet compared with more developed countries. Likewise, in rural areas, where 60 per cent of the population lives, there is a huge difference compared with urban areas”.

“Djoliba is a proof of our commitment to developing our presence in Africa,” a region where it contributes more than a billion euros annually, Ndiaya said.

He noted the West African network is the first step, and the plan is to connect most or all of its operations across Africa. “We remain open to other networks, either those that already exist or new ones”.

Jerome Barre, CEO of Orange Wholesale and International Networks, said it would like to increase its practice of opening up and is looking to add two more countries to the network.

The backbone network connects Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal. The region has 330 million inhabitants.

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Joseph Waring

Joseph Waring joins Mobile World Live as the Asia editor for its new Asia channel. Before joining the GSMA, Joseph was group editor for Telecom Asia for more than ten years. In addition to writing features, news and blogs, he...

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