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Orange targets Africa's startups with 50m Euro investment initiative

Orange targets Africa's startups with 50m Euro investment initiative

French telecommunications firm Orange has launched a new 50m Euro investment initiative devoted to start-ups in Africa.

The company has announced a new Africa section to Orange Digital Ventures, its flagship programme for investment in startups.

Orange Digital Ventures Africa is introduced as the Group's investment vehicle for early-stage innovation projects in Africa in areas such as new connectivity, FinTech, the Internet of Things (IOT), energy and e-health.

According to research conducted by Disrupt Africa, Finnovating for Africa: Exploring the African Fintech Ecosystem Report 2017, there are over 300 active FinTech startups in Africa and since 2015 have secured US$92,679,000 in investment.

The research adds that while South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya remain at the forefront of startup activity within FinTech, there are other local ecosystems beginning to emerge.

Orange claims the objective with Orange Digital Ventures is to target start-ups offering responses to Africa's fundamental challenges while leveraging the operator's assets on the continent.

"This support will concern all innovative start-ups, whether they are based geographically in Africa or they address African issues from another continent," the company explains.

As part of this initiative, the Group is committing 50 million euros corresponding to half of the direct investments made via its new Orange Digital Ventures Africa programme; the other half is devoted to indirect investments through specialised funding for Africa.

The telco adds it will establish a dedicated team in Dakar in September next year to engage with startups.

Pierre Louette, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Orange and Chairman of Orange Digital Ventures, said, "Since the beginning of Orange Digital Ventures, the new services and business models in Africa have been one of the priority investment themes of our corporate venture business. With this announcement, we are engaging a bit further alongside the African digital ecosystem, which like everywhere else and maybe even more than elsewhere carries with it a development challenge."

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