Apart from Le1.4 trillion Leones investment in telecoms services, Sierra Leone’s leading mobile network company, Orange Sierra Leone is set to pour hundreds of millions of Leones in the construction of 45 sites to enhance communication and internet services throughout Sierra Leone.
The proposed construction will add to the company’s 440 sites across the country.
Currently, Orange Sierra Leone has the largest network coverage with 74 per cent of the country’s population enjoying its services. It means 4 out every Sierra Leoneans are Orange customers with instant access to voice and data services.
The company has a rich products and services to ensure customer’s satisfaction with an ever increasing population throughout Sierra Leone. The company provides for its ever-increasing population of customers, quality service which is a top priority for the company’s data portfolio and network.
The desire to have another 45 sites is a clear recognition of cherished values of listening and responding to the varied needs of customers. The move also strengthens consumer retention or loyalty.
Orange Sierra Leone has been the country for for almost five years as a reliable, capable and wiling investor with a strong ambition to increase mobile penetration. It also aims at democratising the internet.
The pronouncement for more investment was made by Orange Sierra Leone’s Head of Legal and Corporate Affairs, Haffie Haffner at a conference held in Bo town the previous week. She ably represented the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Aminata Kane N’diaye.
Haffner believes that Sierra Leone is still on a catch-up trajectory with other countries in Africa as well as advanced economies. The move to have more sites, she said, would enhance digital inclusion which Sierra Leone can harness for her development.
“We strongly believe that digital inclusion is a major accelerator for inclusive growth, economic and societal development as well as success factor in achieving Sustainable Development Goals,” she said.
Digitalisation, she went on, had been a core pillar in Orange Strategy adding that the company had been playing a significant role in the digital transformation of Sierra Leone. Through its ambition for digital inclusion, Orange Sierra Leone has been on the lead in the connection of Sierra Leone’s over seven million population with 3G and 4G networks.
100% of those sites at least are 3G compatible making it easy for Orange customers to access internet service from every Orange site in Sierra Leone. Orange Sierra Leone has also ensured that there is a 140% reduction in price with more volume for customers in the previous four years.
With speed and quality as the driving force, the 4GLte was launched in Orange sites in every region in Sierra Leone. The telecoms company also has been boosting Sierra Leone’s formal education system, a flagship project of the New Direction Government. The capacity of students was improved through the launching by Orange Sierra Leone of the most affordable data called SPAK for schools and universities.
In Mobile financial services, Orange Sierra Leone still leads as it continues to enrich its portfolio by being the first mover in international remittance and micro loan. Orange Sierra Leone is the first partner for energy, mobile for development in agriculture, education and health institutions, a move seen as a diversification strategy.
The strategy has strongly impacted digital inclusion in Sierra Leone as the company launch the Orange Business to introduce new opportunities. In its towards an enhanced digital inclusion, Orange Sierra Leone sets up a digital centre to support youth and entrepreneurship.
It also provides training and start-up support, acceleration and investment. The centre will consist of a coding school, Fab Lab, Orange Fab and Orange Digital ventures. The setting up of a digital centre is informed by the skills gap in the industry.
The sector is in need of experts in critical areas as cyber security, artificial intelligence, IT automation web/content developers. The sector will also benefit from competency in soft skills for improved administrative and managerial roles, a promotion of local content.
The company’s ambition to see a digitalised Sierra Leone has not swayed its attention from its corporate social responsibility and philanthropy. Under the micro-utilities for community health, Orange Sierra Leone has provided 25 rural health centres with equipment for the production, storage and distribution of electricity.
The company also offers equipment for data connectivity and for water purification and distribution. The project would be undertaken in close partnership with United States Agency for International Development.
The promotion of the community health services by Orange Sierra Leone goes side by side with its deep concentration to the maternal health services to save lives. Orange Sierra Leone supports awareness raising on good health habits in respect of maternal healthcare in the most vulnerable communities.
Almost a month ago, the company launched one of the biggest maternal health projects in the biggest slum community in Freetown to improve reproductive health there. It is a move to support the country’s Free Health Care (FHC) policy launched in April, 2010.
The FHC launching was a move to stem the tide of deaths of pregnant women, under-five children and lactating mothers’ health.
Important dignitaries including Minister of Health and Sanitation were in attendance to grace the occasion. The minister and senior health officials were particularly impressed with Orange Sierra Leone’s aid to the country’s health sector.
It is a move that makes Sierra Leone proud. Sierra Leone is a country known for its endemic problem of maternal and infant deaths. In early 2000, Sierra Leone had the worst statistics of reproductive health in Africa and the world.
The FHC initially significantly lift Sierra Leone from the bane of maternal deaths.
But, other challenges in the health sector reversed gains made over the years.
Consequently, waves of flare-ups in maternal and infant deaths showed up putting the country under pressure to meet the recommended benchmark of 70 deaths per 100, 000 live births. Thus, Orange Sierra Leone Maternal Health project comes at a time it is needed most.
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