Digital Declaration Leadership Series: Spotlight on Orange
The Digital Declaration report ‘Navigating the era of responsible business leadership in today’s world’ showcases how the Digital Declaration signatories are turning their aspirations into concrete actions and how technology can foster an inclusive, trusted and innovative digital society for all.
This series of interviews highlights individual leaders sharing their insights and perspectives around trust, inclusion and innovation in the digital age.
ORANGE DIGITAL CENTER: COMMITTED TO DIGITAL EQUALITY
In conversation with Asma Ennaifer, CSR and Communications Director Orange, MEA.
What are Orange Digital Centers (ODCs), and why did Orange decide to develop this initiative?
The ODCs are support and development centres for young people to gain vital digital and entrepreneurial skills. They bring together several strategic programmes, including coding schools, digital manufacturing spaces (FabLabs Solidaires of Orange Foundation) and start-up accelerators (Orange Fab). They benefit from the support of Orange investment fund: Orange Ventures Africa.
Youth unemployment is an important global issue. In support of innovative solutions for global challenges, as part of Orange’s new strategic plan “Engage 2025”, we’re focused on promoting digital equality by setting up an ODC in each of our regions to help excluded populations learn to use digital services.
In Europe and Africa, the problem of youth unemployment is very important, however, in Africa, the population is young and technophile. We will work not just with young people, but also with children and women. Addressing these three demographics, by helping them to do coding training during their holidays, afternoons or during their weekends. This will support their skills growth in digital, and new technologies. In the upcoming years those without this kind of training will find the job market more challenging, and even more so in the African countries.
How have you successfully worked with stakeholders on this initiative?
We developed strong partnerships with the Ministries of Education as well as other ministries depending on the local context. The public authorities are seeing real value in partnering with us. Firstly, because our ODCs complement traditional school and university curriculum. Secondly, all the projects in our centres must positively contribute to society. Those trained in our centres have to work on projects responding to a societal problem, and therefore participate in the development of their country through technology. Moreover, ODCs give us a great pool of talent, who could become future Orange employees or business partners. Businesses are more likely to work with corporations which adopt responsible leadership principles and contribute to the local ecosystem.
You recently organised the first edition of the AI Africa Week, including virtual conferences, use cases and practical workshops around artificial intelligence provided by experts from Orange and beyond. Why did you organise this event and what are your future plans?
We simply listened to the request of our beneficiaries and partners. Artificial intelligence is today an unavoidable technology for which we lack resources.
This kind of conference aims to share the expertise we have within the Orange Group, but also that of our partners and our network of ODCs, with our community of young people, women and entrepreneurs and to give them the latest innovation to increase their digital skills and thus facilitate their professional integration and meet the demands of the job market.
Of course, this conference is the first in a long series that will not only focus on artificial intelligence, but also on other topics related to digital innovation.
Find out more on the Digital Declaration homepage: www.digitaldeclaration.com