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Africa • Jan 2020

New Orange Middle East and Africa headquarters in Morocco

The new headquarters is located in Casablanca Finance City Tower (CFC) (http://bit.ly/2NkSTSv) in the heart of Casablanca. The building meets the most recent standards with international “LEED Gold” certification from the World Green Building Council. With 900 m2 over two floors, the Orange Middle East and Africa head office is at the cutting edge of technology with video-conference and telepresence rooms enabling the teams to remain connected to other countries in the region, as well as a Social Hub that supervises and monitors the digital activity of Orange and the industry in general in Africa and the Middle East in real-time.

With an average annual growth rate of 6%, Orange MEA has demonstrated that its economic and financial model is robust, making it the leading region in terms of growth in the Orange Group. Starting in 2015, Orange chose to give its subsidiary, Orange MEA, more autonomy in order to grow its business in the region.

Alioune Ndiaye, appointed to head the subsidiary in May 2018, wants to see a strong local foothold, which is essential to finding relevant responses that meet the needs of the African people. He has since made a series of appointments of senior managers from countries in Africa and the Middle East.

In all countries where the Group operates in the region, the 18,000 employees contribute to local social and economic development.

Orange helps to create growth both through its business activities as an operator and its social and environmental actions. Its activities contribute significantly to GDP across its footprint: 8% in Cameroon, 8.2% in Guinea, 11% in Côte d’Ivoire and 11.2% in Senegal.

Every year, Orange invests 1 billion euros in Africa and the Middle East in order to further improve the connectivity and performance of its networks.

A driver of growth in the Engage 2025 plan

The new, hi-tech headquarters of Orange Middle East and Africa reflects Orange's aim of being the leader in its markets by being closer to its customers.

Orange plans to reinforce its multi-services strategy so that diversified services represent 20% of the business by the end of the Engage 2025 plan period. In terms of financial services, Orange Money will achieve revenue of about 900 million euros and, at the same time, the Group will continue to develop content, e-health and energy offers.

Orange is present in 18 countries in Africa and the Middle East where it had 125 million customers on 30 October 2019. With sales revenue of €5.2 billion in 2018, this area is a strategic priority for the Group.

Orange Money, its mobile-based money transfer and financial services offer is available in 17 countries and has 45 million customers. Orange, a multi-services operator and leading partner in digital transformation, brings to bear its expertise to support the development of new digital services in Africa and the Middle East.

One African in ten is a customer of Orange Middle East and Africa and one African in thirty is a customer for Orange Middle East and Africa's banking and financial services. Furthermore, almost 30% of the Orange Group's 4G customers reside in Africa and the Middle East. • 1/20

Retailing in Africa • Nov 2014

DHL’s Shop the World! survey reveals emerging markets offer highest growth for e-Commerce

Africa offers enormous growth potential for e-retailers

Africa offers enormous growth potential for e-retailers given that online shopping is in its infancy in the region.

This is according to Sumesh Rahavendra, head of marketing for DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) , who says the recently released ‘Shop the World!’ report reveals that emerging markets offer the highest growth potential for the eCommerce industry.The study is available at http://www.dhl.com/shop-the-world

“Although global e-retailer Amazon celebrated its 20th anniversary in July, eCommerce companies in Africa are only now beginning to mark and / or accelerate their presence in the marketplace. An example is Nigeria online retailer, Jumia, which despite being founded only two years ago, is quickly gaining market share within the country which reiterates the region’s potential.

A recent report by McKinsey & Company(1) also revealed that, eCommerce could account for 10% of retail sales in the African continent’s largest economies by 2025. In comparison, online retail in the U.S. already accounts for around 9% of total retail sales(2).

“Globally, it took over 2 000 years for a formal monetary system to evolve and over 600 years for a formal banking system to be implemented. It’s taken over 50 years for credit and debit cards to be introduced and still not every person has a bank account. With all these milestones that have taken place in the evolution of commerce, it goes to show that how we shop (e-commerce), is still in its infancy,” says Rahavendra.

He points to a recent Jana(3) survey conducted in the continent’s largest economy, Nigeria, which revealed that close to a quarter of respondents (23.55%) cited the lack of security as the largest obstacle for buying products online. 38.81% of respondents also picked cash, compared to 29.52% who chose credit cards, as the payment mechanism they would prefer to use when purchasing goods and services online. “This highlights that consumers on the continent are still familiarizing themselves with the online payment methods,” adds Rahavendra.

The DHL Shop the World report revealed that Asia Pacific took center stage in the global eCommerce market, which is largely attributed to increased access to internet.

“Technology on the African continent is a hindrance in terms of connectivity, but we are noticing a rising trend in retailers growing significantly due to advances in this area. According to figures by the International Communications Union, 16% of the African population have internet access, up from 10% in 2010.

The 2014 Mobile Media Consumption report(4) by InMobi, which includes data from 14,000 users across 14 countries, including Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa, predicted that 83% of consumers plan to conduct mobile commerce in the next 12 months, up 15% from the current figure.

“As technology continues to evolve in the respective African countries, as will the levels of online shopping. It is of our opinion that many African businesses will start to skip the traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ formal retail environment, and instead move straight into online shopping space due to the rise in mobile and internet services within Africa,” concludes Rahavendra. • 11-14

Healthcare Innovation Award • Until 25th Aug 14

GSK and Save the Children $1 million Healthcare Innovation Award continues to call for life-saving ideas for newborns and under-fives

One of the winners, a mobile health management system, has been adopted by the Kenya Ministry of Health

GSK and Save the Children continue to call for applications for their 2014 $1 million Healthcare Innovation Award, as previous winners attract interest and support from national governments to help improve survival rates of newborns and children under five in developing countries.

Six months after receiving a share of the 2013 Healthcare Innovation Award, five organisations based in developing countries are helping shape national health agendas and influencing approaches to healthcare for children and newborns.

One of the winners, MicroClinic Technologies Ltd., was awarded $100,000 for ‘ZiDi™, a mobile health management system, which has now been adopted by the Kenya Ministry of Health. The system is being used as part of the national e-health platform due to its ability to improve medicine supply, service quality and resource accountability for child healthcare. It will be rolled out across 5,000 public health facilities starting next year.

Muso, a community-led organisation in Mali that helps tackle the issue of poverty-related child mortality, also received $100,000 to support its programme which aims to quickly identify women and children in need of healthcare. The award money is being used to help reach 77,000 people across the region and has inspired the Mali Ministry of Health to invite Muso to help draft its five-year strategic plan for scaling up national community-based healthcare delivery.

Previous innovations recognised by the Healthcare Innovation Award are also being implemented across borders through collaboration, ensuring that ideas that may help save children’s lives are being shared. The top-prize winner from 2013 was a low cost Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) kit, developed by Friends of Sick Children (FOSC) in Malawi. This device helps premature and newborn babies suffering from distress breathe more easily. With funding from the Award, and backing from the Ministry of Health in Malawi, FOSC is now sharing this technology with teaching hospitals in Tanzania, Zambia and South Africa. This technology has the potential to save the lives of 178,000 African children each year if implemented continent-wide.

Organisations from across the developing world can now apply for this year’s Healthcare Innovation Award. Applications must be for innovative healthcare approaches that have resulted in tangible improvements to under-5 child survival rates, which are sustainable and have the potential to be scaled-up and replicated. This year, special interest and attention will be given to work that aims to increase the quality of, or access to, healthcare for newborns.

Ramil Burden, Vice President, Africa and Developing Countries, GSK, said: “The success stories we’re hearing from last year’s winners, just six months since receiving their funding, are truly inspiring and we want to help replicate this success. When it comes to improving access to quality healthcare, no single organisation has all the answers and we need to continuously look for new and different ideas, wherever they might be. Our award recognises that often the best solutions to development challenges come from people living with them and through partnerships we can help scale up local solutions to create global impacts.

Dr Sam Agbo, Head of Health, Save the Children said: “This year we’re particularly searching for innovations that are helping to improve the health of newborns in the developing world. Every year, almost three million babies die during their first month of life. But many of these deaths are preventable with the right resources and care in place. We must find different approaches, informed by first-hand experience, to address this issue. This Award provides a platform for working in collaboration, which will ultimately help to save the lives of some of the world’s most vulnerable children.” • Source: GSK (8/14)

More information on the award and application criteria can be found at this website. Entries close on 25th August at 11:59pm (GMT). Winners will be announced in December 2014.

Net neutrality

Strand Consult Research Note • Dec 2013

The net neutrality debate will explode in the coming months

Many telecom operators are not prepared • Here are the 30 arguments that proponents of net neutrality will use in the debate.

The net neutrality debate as measured by the number of articles and tweets has been is growing steadily over the past few weeks. Strand Consult has followed this topic for years and observes that many operators are not prepared to participate in this debate where they play a central role.

The report Understanding Net Neutrality and Stakeholders’ Arguments investigates the challenges facing the telecom industry and reviews what has happened and what will likely happen in a number of countries on this issue.

The debate in Europe is gaining momentum as EU Parliamentarians, national regulators and net neutrality activists take their positions. 

In the US, the decision of the courtcase between an operator and the national regulator will likely to be announced in a few weeks.  Whatever the outcome it will influence the net neutrality debate in Europe and other parts of the world.

Net neutrality is a complex topic not only from an engineering standpoint, but for the many commercial, political and ideological interests that will go to war for high financial stakes. 

Strand Consult has analyzed this debate and its stakeholders and presents the 30 arguments that net neutrality supporters will likely use to further their position. The 30 arguments are:

  1. Neutrality (or “openness”) is an original, deliberate, and essential feature of the internet.

  2. The end to end principle is responsible for internet innovation.

  3. Zero is a fair price for content delivery, and it was established early in the development of the commercial internet.

  4. The internet needs regulation to keep it neutral and to preserve its many fine features.

  5. Net neutrality is common carriage.

  6. Net neutrality is free speech.

  7. Without net neutrality there will be no innovation

  8. Without net neutrality there will be no democracy

  9. Operators' networks consist of smart edges and a dumb core. The operator's job is to deliver the bits.

  10. The internet is a human right.

  11. The internet is a public good and therefore should be regulated like a utility. Internet service should be free, meaning subsidized by the government.

  12. All content is equal or a bit is a bit is a bit.

  13. Consumers value all content the same, and more content is better.

  14. There should be the same internet available on every device.

  15. Applications don’t create traffic; users create traffic.

  16. The leaders of the net neutrality movement have good and right on their side.

  17. Consumers care about net neutrality, and the net neutrality activists are their voice.

  18. Net neutrality is needed because of vertical integration in the market for content and internet access.

  19. There is a lot of evidence proving that network management practices harm customers.

  20. Operators want to harm their customers, and only preventive measures will keep them in check. 

  21. Operators want to block or throttle competing services.

  22. Operators want to use price discriminate to exploit their customers.

  23. Operators want to make agreements to preference certain content on the web.

  24. Operators will use pricing to create fast lanes and dirt roads for internet access.

  25. Operators will use deep packet inspection to exploit their customers.

  26. Operators only invest because of the growth in applications and content.

  27. Operators should just build infrastructure, and more infrastructure is better.

  28. Operators have always invested in infrastructure, and they always will

  29. All broadband providers, whether cable or telco, should be classified as common carriers and their obligations increased.

  30. Net neutrality is a human rights issue, not an economic issue.

The big question for many politicians, regulators, interest groups and especially telecom operators, is whether there is need for net neutrality regulation, or whether existing statues for competition, antitrust and human rights are adequate to address the issues raised and any violations that should result. 

Strand Consult has evaluated these 30 arguments along with their derivation, evidence, and academic theory. It has also evaluated the counter arguments from the same perspectives.

The analysis and conclusions are contained in the report Understanding Net Neutrality and Stakeholders’ Arguments. This report, over 240 pages of vital information, is essential knowledge for telecom operators participate in the debate on net neutrality. • 12/13

TOP - Cover -

Alcatel-Lucent • Oct 2014

Alcatel-Lucent closes sale of Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise to China Huaxin

Asset divestment forms part of Alcatel-Lucent’s commitment within The Shift Plan to generate at least Eur 1 billion through selective asset sales.

 Alcatel-Lucent (http://www.alcatel-lucent.com) announced that it has closed the sale of its subsidiary Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise to China Huaxin Post & Telecommunication Economy Development Center. Cash proceeds to Alcatel-Lucent are Eur 202 million.

As previously announced, Alcatel-Lucent will retain a 15% minority stake in the divested business, as well as maintaining a commercial relationship with it in support of its growth ambitions under new ownership. 

The divestment of Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise forms part of Alcatel-Lucent’s commitments under The Shift Plan, launched in June 2013, to refocus itself as a specialist in IP, Cloud and Ultra-Broadband Access, while realigning its balance sheet, implementing cost savings of Euro 1 billion and generating at least Euro 1 billion through selective asset sales by the end of 2015. 

Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise is a world leader in communications and networking solutions for businesses of allsizes, serving more than 500,000 customers worldwide. 

China Huaxin Post & Telecommunication Economy Development Center (“China Huaxin” ) is an industrial investment company that seeks long-term commercial growth opportunities in the Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) sector. • 10-14

2013 Healthcare Award Innovation Winners
6 month update

Friends of Sick Children, Malawi: Awarded top prize of $400,000 for their life-saving technology for newborns

BRAC, Bangladesh: Awarded $300,000 for South-South collaboration, helping to improve women and children’s health from Bangladesh to the slums of Sierra Leone

MUSO, Mali: Awarded $100,000 for delivering care to the doorsteps of some of the world’s most impoverished communities

MicroClinic Technologies, Kenya: Awarded $100,000 to help Kenyan public sector healthcare go digital

Kangaroo Foundation (Fundacion Canguro), Colombia: Awarded $100,000 in special recognition of its work spreading the Kangaroo Mother Care Method (KMC), to improve the premature and low birth weight babies’ care, for a better quality of life

Criteria for entry - nominations must:

  1. Be from a country classified as ‘low’, ‘lower-middle’, or ‘upper-middle’ income by the World Bank, and not be from the European Union. Countries classified as ‘high income’ by the World Bank or that are in the European Union are not eligible
  2. Come from an organisation based in an eligible country, with an innovation used for the benefit of the people in an eligible country

GSK (http://www.gsk.com) – one of the world’s leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies – is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer. 

Save the Children - Save the Children works in more than 120 countries. We save children's lives. We fight for their rights. We help them fulfil their potential. http://www.savethechildren.org.uk  

Indigo Publications 2013 results

Strong profitability driven by digital development 

The Africa Intelligence portal hosts all the group’s publications on Africa• The Web accounted for 84% of the group’s growth last year across all publications • Since April 2013, Intelligence Online and all the group’s Africa publications have been 100% digital 

In 2013, Indigo Publications registered its 11th consecutive year of growth and profit. Its turnover increased 7.4% to €3.4 million and its operating result rose 25% to €535,000.

These good results confirm the group’s excellent health and the durability of its economic model, based on exclusive paid-for information for professional subscribers.

They also show the positive impact of the digital development strategy it has been pursuing since 1995. Since April 2013, Intelligence Online and all the group’s Africa publications, which are now grouped together on the Africa Intelligence website, have been 100% digital.

The digital development should continue to progress in 2014. In France, the VAT rate for online publications has at last been brought into line with that of the printed press, thus reducing it from 20% to 2.1% as of February this year. The legislation making this possible was passed unanimously by the French National Assembly and Senate. It is the culmination of a long struggle over several years by Indigo and its fellow French online publishers via their professional body, the Syndicat de la Presse Indépendante d’Information en Ligne (SPIIL). The law will enable the whole of the French press to make available the necessary resources for its digital development.

As a result, for Indigo Publications, 2014 will, even more than previous years, be a year of investment in digital technology:

Indigo Publications is pleased with its financial results and positive prospects, which enable it to guarantee its present and future editorial independence. An independent press group, it is not constrained by any dependence on advertising and is free of all political and commercial affiliation, with 100% of its revenues coming directly from its readers. • Source: APO (4/14)

Telecom • R&D initiatives

World Economic Forum selects Altobridge as Technology Pioneer

Altobridge Limited – leaders in technology that cuts the cost of delivering voice and mobile broadband services across wireless networks – has today announced that it has been selected by the World Economic Forum as a 2012 Technology Pioneer.

To be selected as a Technology Pioneer, a company must be involved in the development of a major technology and/or innovation and have the potential for long-term impact on business and society.

In addition, it must demonstrate visionary leadership, show all the signs of being a long-standing and sustainable market leader – and its technology must be proven. Previous Technology Pioneers include Google (2001) and Twitter (2010). Since its creation in 2002, Altobridge has focused on the enormous challenges involved in getting basic connectivity and mobile broadband to the world’s unconnected.

While the world’s service providers, governments and Universal Service Obligation funds have made strides in these endeavours, the operational costs associated with running these remote communications systems remains high.

Investment could, therefore, have a negative impact on overall network running costs. Service Providers must get a return on investment from these remote systems in order to continue to offer competitive prices to consumers and Altobridge has proven that this is achievable.

The Altobridge lite-site™ is the most transmission-efficient solution within the industry, requiring 0kbps in idle mode and only 4kbps of bandwidth per active call. Local Connectivity™ switches local calls at the remote base station, thereby completely eliminating backhaul requirement for local calls.

At 90-Watt average power consumption, the solar-powered solution is the most power-efficient solution for remote community connectivity and the Altobridge breakthrough, Data-at-the-Edge™, cuts mobile broadband costs while improving user experience.

To date, Altobridge lite-site™ deployments have brought first-time mobile connectivity to remote communities across Northern and South East Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

Commenting on the award, Mike Fitzgerald, Altobridge Chief Executive, said, “In the developed world, where mobile voice and mobile broadband access is near ubiquitous, we often forget that nearly a quarter of the world’s population do not have access to any form of telephony services. Through our R&D initiatives, we have removed the historical cost and technical barriers that have, to date, limited mobile network operators’ ability to deploy commercially-viable solutions for connecting unconnected communities. We welcome this recognition and look forward to building further partnerships and alliances within this very important forum.”

As a Technology Pioneer, Mike Fitzgerald will represent Altobridge at the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2011 in Dalian, People's Republic of China. • 1-9-11

See video interview with Mike Fitzgerald.

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