France Telecom-Orange Wednesday awarded its African Social Venture Prizes to three African companies, the French telecommunications giant disclosed in a press statement, received here by PANA.
It said that the awards ceremony was held Wednesday in Cape Town, South Africa, during the AfricaCom Awards, an annual event that recognizes the most memorable innovations and performance of the telecommunications industry on the African continent.
The winning projects were as follows:
The first prize went to the Nigerien project Horticultural Remote Irrigation system, which puts mobile technology in the hands of horticulturists, farmers and cooperatives for remote crop irrigation, allowing them to improve productivity while preserving water resources.
AgaSha Business Network, which won the second prize, is a Ugandan start-up that uses the internet to help small and medium African companies grow. Through its online business community, it facilitates interaction among economic players to boost market opportunities for small and medium businesses in Africa and abroad.
The third place went to Kachile, a start-up in Côte d’Ivoire. With its e-commerce platform, it offers a way to “professionalize” cottage industries, which are well developed in Africa but lack visibility and market access.
According to France Telecom-Orange, the three winners will receive financial assistance along with management and technical support from Orange specialists
“In addition to funding of up to 25,000 euros, Orange will provide support to the three projects for six months from its local subsidiaries and the strategic expertise of its venture capital subsidiary, Innovacom.”
The African Social Venture Prize demonstrates the Group’s willingness to contribute to the social and economic development of the countries in which it operates.
In addition to supplying infrastructure and basic services, Orange is investing in deploying added-value services in key fields such as health, education, agriculture or financial services, and acts to promote entrepreneurship and innovation on the African continent.
Last June, Orange launched the African Social Venture Prize to support entrepreneurs and start-ups who use information and communication technologies (ICT) to meet the needs of African people.
More than 600 candidates responded to the call for projects, which ran from June to September, 2011, a sign of true entrepreneurial vitality on the African continent.
Proposed projects spanned a variety of fields, including health, agriculture, education, financial services and e-commerce illustrating the potential of telecommunications in African development.
The panel of judges, consisting of Orange specialists, the media and institutions that promote development, chose the three prize winners from among 10 projects nominated, presented on the Orange African portal, www.StarAfrica.com *.
France Telecom-Orange is one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators with 170,000 employees worldwide, including 102,000 employees in France, and sales of 33.8 billion euros in the first nine months of 2011.
Present in 35 countries, the Group had a customer base of 221 million as at 30 September, 2011, including 145 million customers under the Orange brand, the Group’s single brand for internet, television and mobile services in the majority of countries where the company operates.
At 30 September 2011, the Group had 162 million mobile customers and 14 million broadband internet (ADSL, fibre) customers worldwide.
Orange is one of the main European operators for mobile and broadband internet services and, under the brand Orange Business Services, is one of the world leaders in providing telecommunication services to multinational companies.
From now for the next eight years, Orange will be associating its name to the main competitions of the Confederation of African Football (CAF). In view of this develpment, CAF’s flagship competition is now known as Orange Africa Cup of Nations.
For the next eight years, Orange will also to be the new media partner of African football in Africa, a major broadcaster of African football in France with both TV and mobile rights.