Haffie Harffner, representing the CEO, on 26th March, 2021, at the just concluded National Telecommunication NATCOM’s Consumer Parliament, held at the Njala University, Bo Campus, Towama Highway, Bo, Southern District, congratulated NATCOM for a successful, well-planned and executed sixth consumer Parliament, which was described by the participants as timely and most organised ever
She stated that Orange SL welcomed the process, as same resonates with one of their most important values, which are to listen & respond.
She said that orange come with clean hands of its esteemed customers for assessment and evaluation of service delivery to them, which we remain humble to acknowledge all their accolades as well as criticisms in good faith and to respond to their needs for better customer experience.
She further that Orange has been in Sierra Leone for almost 5 years as a reliable, capable and willing investor with a strong ambition to increase mobile penetration and the democratization of internet in the country.
She however discloses that Sierra Leone has one of the lowest mobile penetration (64%), internet penetration (18%) and smartphone penetration (30%) compared to other Countries in the sub region. Africa and particularly Sierra Leone is on a catch-up trajectory for the U.S. and European economies.
‘‘We strongly believe that digital inclusion is a major accelerator for inclusive growth, economic and societal development, as well as a success factor in achieving Sustainable Development Goals. This is why digitalization has been a core pillar in Orange strategy and we have over the last 4 years played an integral role in the digital transformation of Sierra Leone. With an Investment in excess of 1.4 trillion Leones, we have been at the forefront of connecting the 7million plus people in Sierra Leone with 3G and 4G network services. Today, can boast of over 440 sites in the country. 100% of our sites are at least 3G compatible meaning that you can access internet from every Orange site around the country. We therefore have the widest network covering 74% of the population, meaning 4 out of every 5 Sierra Leonean is an Orange customer with access to voice and data services.
We have an enriched Product and services catalogue to ensure customer satisfaction. We are committed to the Expansion of Internet Penetration in SL and providing the best Quality of Service is a priority with our Data Portfolio and Network:
More than 140% reduction in Price with more volume for our customers in the last 4 years
With Speed and Quality as our driver we launched Di real 4G with sites in every region of SL
To complement the Educational sector and improve the capacity of our students we launched the most affordable data offer for Schools & Universities called SPAK
We remain the leader in Mobile financial services and continue to enrich its portfolio by being the first mover in international remittance and micro loan services.’’
Anni said orange is the first partner for energy, mobile for development in agriculture, education and health. Our Diversification strategy will strongly impact digital inclusion in Sierra Leone as we launch of our Orange business to include new opportunities the first ever
Orange Digital Center
Supporting youth and entrepreneurship
From training to start-up support, start-up acceleration, and investment.Which will consist of a coding school, Fab lab, Orange Fab and orange digital ventures. – there is a skills gap in the industry and the sector is in need of experts in critical areas as cyber security, artificial intelligence, IT automation, web/content developers etc. The sector will also benefit from competency in soft skills for improved administrative and managerial roles – (promotion of local content)
Micro Utilities for community health
Provide twenty-five rural health centers with equipment for the production, storage and distribution of electricity as well as equipment for data connectivity, and equipment and services for purifying and distributing water.
Will be done in partnership with USAID
M Health Services (Maternal health)
Support to raise awareness on healthy behaviours in respect of Maternal mortality and optimize maternal health care interventions in communities; she said.
She said orange is known for its Prominence in the area of CSR and digitalization remains one of the core of our CSR strategy. Orange believes strongly that technology, education and human capital development will be one of the strongest lever for growth in SL. She then gave a run down on what they have done as follows:
When the educational sector was badly hit by the pandemic; therefore Orange launched its FREE online education portal with MBSSE/MTHE in March 2020 in support of sustainable quality education in the middle of the crisis. We Zero Rated e-Learning Links for Pupils & Students to access learning materials online and offering 3 months of Top Up & Data Bundle for the Contents developers (Teachers)
Donated Android phones to EOC for security personnel to track e-Pass along the checkpoints
Provide free data to all front line staff at the 3 treatment centers inclusive of all EOC Staff
1Bn to NACOVERC for rural community awareness
Other CSR Actions
FQE- $1.5m in material assistance. Launched super coders launched in 10 schools and hygiene packs for school girls
3 ECD schools constructed in Kambia, Pujehun and Moyamba under FQE support
Launch of Women Digital School in partnership with NAYCOM to train uneducated women ICT & ICT related courses for more expertise even among the illiterate.
Orange Social Venture Prize –Create a platform for young entrepreneurs to showcase their talent both on national and international platforms.
We are aware that we are in the right direction for increased digital penetration in Sierra Leone. Despite all our effort in the area of increased coverage through additional sites & reduced prices for data we continue to encounter challenges in the area of usage mostly due to limited data compatible devices.
We believe that if we are to increase access to data and usage, then we must consider the following:
Mobile networks to continue the conversion of 2G technology to 3G & 4G to further increase the coverage especially in rural communities.
The government to ensure the regulations support the strategy to improve connectivity
Zoodlab to reduce cost for capacity and grant more access to fiber
Government to review the policy of taxes (Customs & GST) on devices.
Encourage investment with development partners like EU, World Bank, IMF etc., in donating smartphones to rural communities and empowering women to be digitally inclusive
Provision of the basic skills to provide citizens with the awareness and basic skills needed to value and use the internet
Create gender equality by empowering women and the girl child.
Content and Services:
Creation of local content relevant to the market.
The availability of secured online content and services
We remain committed to increase digital penetration in Sierra Leone and we will not relent until we attain an enviable data penetration rate like other countries in the sub region. We once again wish to acknowledge all our valued partners and stakeholders for your support. Lastly, to our customers, we value you and we appreciate your patronage” she concluded.